This week I welcome Guest Blogger Tabitha! She is a Wedding Coordinator from the Bradford Estate located in Hainesport, NJ. I have had the great pleasure of Photographing this STUNNING venue and working with Tabitha as well and knew she would be a perfect addition to this blog, offering a great amount of help for couples in need of finding the perfect venue. ENJOY!
– Marc Daniele
Venue searching is one of the first parts of wedding planning and can also be one of the most stressful. Your venue sets the tone for your wedding and requires the largest portion of your budget. Here are a few tips to help make venue searching a bit easier:
Before You Search
Sit down and workout budget, rough guest list, and if you will be having your ceremony there. This will help you to narrow down venues that are in your budget and will accommodate your guest size ahead of time. Factor that the venue/catering will take up roughly 48% of your total budget.
Decide on a time frame you are looking for (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter). Keep an open mind about the date and days of the week as it will make the process a lot less stressful. When you limit yourself to a specific date you may find it harder to find a venue you love with availability. Being flexible with the day of the week and month will give you more flexibility with dates and budget as well. Thursdays and Mondays are becoming more popular and great options if you are on a tighter budget.
Decide if you want a venue that provides in-house catering or if you will be going with a venue that works with outside caterers. Using a venue that has outside catering will be a bit more work, but nothing a wedding planner/coordinator couldn’t handle.
Think about if you want a venue that has accommodations on-site.
Decide what is most important to you when choosing a venue; is it, pricing, aesthetic, location, food, inclusive package, etc
Beginning The Search
Start by looking online of venues in the area that meet your criteria of must-haves
Read Reviews to see what other couple’s experiences were like
Ask about availability, guest minimums, capacity, ceremony location, accommodations, and packages
If previous answers lineup with your must-haves, ask about pricing. Get pricing before tours, it will save you time and disappointment. Remember pricing may vary depending on the month and day of the week.
If it is over your budget or doesn’t have your must-haves, please don’t ghost your contact, just let them know their venue is not for you.
Make a list of your Top 5 and start scheduling tours. Try to only do 1-2 in a day as you will have information overload.
Do tours with just your Fiancé first to narrow down your favorites, then bring parents, others who are helping pay, or those whose opinion matters most. Remember the more people with you, the more comments and opinions you will have. At the end of the day, it’s your wedding and you want to pick a place that you love.
Take pictures and videos so you can go back and look at the venue when discussing later.
Bring a notebook to take notes in case they do not provide you with a packet of information.
Have a list of questions prepared ahead of time to ask but listen to see if your tour guide answers them in the tour first. Here are some we recommend asking:
- What is the Rain plan if an outdoor ceremony/reception?
- What does the planning process look like? Is there a coordinator I will work with?
- Will there be someone assisting us/running the wedding day of? (This will help you decide if you need to hire a Planner or Day of Coordinator)
- Maître D, Wedding Coordinator, Bridal Attendant?
- What exactly do they take care of the day of?
- Décor setup, Cleanup, Vendor management, bridal party assistance, timeline, etc
- Do we have to book vendors off your list or are we free to book any vendors we would like?
- How long will our wedding be including ceremony time?
- How early can we arrive, and do we have access to a bridal/groom suite the entire night?
- How is dinner served? Do we have to take guests’ orders prior to the wedding? Do you accommodate food allergies and dietary concerns?
- Order of events? Do you do all formalities at the beginning of the reception or are they broken up throughoutthe evening?
- How long is the bar open for and does it close at any points?
- What all is included in the pricing? Are there any additional fees not mentioned (ceremony, cake cutting, chair, coat check, parking lot, etc)? What is pricing for children and are they provided kid meals? Are tax and gratuity included in that pricing (**Note that service fee and gratuity are not always the same thing)
- Do we have to book vendors off your list or are we free to book any vendors we would like? Is there an additional fee if we book someone not on your list? Do you provide a meal for the vendors and how much does it cost? (Your vendors will appreicate being fed as they are working 8+ hours)
The process may seem overwhelming but following these tips will help to make the process more enjoyable and less stressful. Remember that your wedding should fit your style and personality and that includes the venue. We wish you the best of luck with your search and congratulations on your engagement!
We would love to have you check out The Bradford Estate or one of our other Clark’s Landing Group Properties to see if we would be a good fit for you!
The Bradford Estate: https://www.thebradfordestate.com/
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-261-8778
Clark’s Landing Group Properties: https://bestofthebestweddings.com/