Nearly to Newlywed: Choosing Your Vendors – Pt. 1

Happy Day, all!  I hope you all are staying warm during this Polar Vortex or whatever they’re calling it.   Call it whatever, I’m just calling it effing cold and really annoying.  Yesterday was the first day I actually made it into work because Monday and Tuesday were spent with my car firmly parked in my driveway with a dead battery.  Hashtag F U Mother Nature.

Anywho… I’m not here to talk about new batteries and cold weather because right now; instead I’m bringing myself back to my wedding day that included 80 degree temps and family and friends that drove me around (ha).  Kidding aside, I’m thinking about all the amazing companies I worked with on our big day and the research and time it took to find those awesome people.

For those of you who have planned your wedding, you know the importance of good vendors.  And unfortunately, some of you may have some horror stories of vendors who were less than great and made your day somewhat of a nightmare.  So today’s post is kicking off the first part of a Choosing Your Vendors series.  I wanted to break it up into separate posts as to not overload you with too much information.  You’re welcome. 🙂

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As I mentioned above, choosing the right vendors takes a lot of time and a lot of research.  When you think of the amount of money you will be spending on some of these vendors, you will be thankful that you spent time researching the best vendors that fit you and your fiance’s vision.  I should note that “the best” doesn’t have to mean the most expensive – it simply means the best fit for you and your wedding day.

Today we are going to discuss how to choose your wedding venue.  Vendors to come in the next parts of this series include caterer, photographer, florists, DJ’s/musicians, wedding dress and hair/make-up artists.  There are a variety of other vendors that you will deal with throughout your planning process, but these half-dozen groups are pretty common amongst all types of weddings, so it’s easier to provide advice for.

I believe choosing your venue is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your planning process.  It kind of sets the tone for the type of wedding you want to have (i.e. black tie, formal, semi-formal, informal) and sets you up for planning the rest of your wedding.  In a lot of cases, booking your venue is one of the first contracts you sign because it solidifies a date and time for your upcoming nuptials.  So, how do you go about choosing the best venue for your wedding day?  Below are a few initial questions you should ask yourself when starting your research for your venue.

  • What kind of wedding do I want to have?
    • Do I want my ceremony at one location (such as a church or garden) and the reception to follow somewhere else?
      • If this is the case, you will need to work hand-in-hand with your ceremony location and reception location to ensure both have your ideal date available to book.
    • What season do I want to my wedding to take place in?
    • What will the style or theme of my wedding be?  (black tie, rustic, classic, destination)
    • What’s my budget?
    • What’s my guest list size?

Once you determine your answers to these questions above, it’s time to start researching which venues fit your wedding vision.  Below are some bullet points to think of when you are getting started.

  • Can this venue accommodate my guest list?
  • Does this venue fit within my budget?
  • What’s included in the rental costs?
    • Will they provided table, chairs, linens, china, flatware, etc.?
      • If not, do they have companies that we’re required to work with or that they can recommend?
    • Who is in charge of setting all of this up?
    • Is there an extra charge if we host both the ceremony and the reception there?
  • Do they cater the event?
    • If not, do they have a required list of caterers I need to work with or can I choose my own?
  • What’s the alcohol policy?
    • Do they have a liquor license?  Are they allowed to serve beer, wine and hard alcohol?
    • Do they have bartenders staffed for the event or is that extra?
  • What’s the payment schedule look like?
    • What’s needed for the deposit?
      • Does this deposit go toward the final bill or will it be returned pending nothing goes wrong/gets broken?
    • What kind of payments methods are taken (cash, check, credit card, cashier’s, check)
    • Can we make installments up until the wedding date?
    • When is the final payment due?
  • Is the venue near hotels or other types of lodging for out-of-town guests or those who don’t want to drive home?
  • What does parking look like?
    • Is there enough spaces for all my guests to park?
    • Are guests OK to leave their cars overnight if they’ve had too much to drink?
  • Do I care if the venue I choose hosts multiple events on the same day or do I want to be the only event?
  • What does the timing for the day-of look like?
    • When can we start setting up?
    • What time can other vendors show up?
    • What time do we need to be out of the facility?

These questions should give you a pretty good starting point when researching your vendors.  By answering the first set of questions, you’re prepping yourself to start your research of venues in your area.  If you need some inspiration on what sites to use during your research, you can reference this post I wrote in the fall about wedding resources.  During my research, I found it easiest to maintain an excel spreadsheet with all the venues I was interested in with the details I was able to obtain online or through contacting them.  This lets you compare the venue locations side-by-side to see how the stack-up.

Once you’ve done all your research and entered it into your excel spreadsheet, start contacting the vendors that you are really interested in.  Set up meetings to take a tour and meet the staff you will be working with (most notably the event coordinator/managers as they’ll be who you work with the closest).  Use some of the questions above and have a list of others that pertain to your wedding.  I would recommend looking at at least 3-5 different locations to ensure you really love the space and have exhausted your options.  However, you will want to be conscious of how fast dates can be snatched up by other brides.  This means you might want to schedule these tours close together so you can make your decision quickly but still feel confident with your choice.  There’s nothing worse than “buyers remorse” when you are planning your wedding.

I hope this information has helped you feel a little more prepared when starting your venue search.  As I mentioned, we’ll have posts like this for other vendors in the future so be sure to stop by and read that as well.

Xo,

Cammi

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One thought on “Nearly to Newlywed: Choosing Your Vendors – Pt. 1

  1. Pingback: Nearly to Newlywed: Choosing Your Wedding Vendors – Pt. 2 | From Nearly to Newly

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