Hi loves! There a few important items to keep in mind when you have your venue walk-through. These tips apply to any venue – whether your wedding will be indoors, outdoors, at a church, on the beach, or in a hotel. If you have a wedding planner it is important to have them tour with you. If you do not have a planner, it is key to bring your MOH, MOB, or another loved one along with you and your fiancée that will ask some of the questions you would have otherwise missed.
As you do your venue walk-throughs, it is key to to pay close attention to these things:
- Arrival view. Ask the typical route the guest will take from arrival to the ceremony and walk the route. It is important to know what the surroundings will look like on the way to the ceremony space – is it easy on the eyes, it is a far walk for older guests, are there only stairs as an access point, etc.
- Transportation logistics.Will guests arrive with ease if they drive? Can Uber drop off at the valet? How will guests arrive? If guests drive their own cards, is there ample parking or will you need a valet service? If valet service is required, is there a minimum? Do guests pay for their own valet or are you responsible to pre-pay?
- Ceremony space. When you tour the ceremony area, it is important to pay close attention to where the altar will be set up. Do you want guests to be seated in curved rows, traditional rows, etc.? Is there flexibility for a custom seating plan? Are there multiple spots for musicians to set up to run power through the space?
- Cocktail hour set up. Is there a seamless transition from the ceremony to the cocktail hour? Take a moment to think about how the cocktail hour will be set up – where to place the bar, hors devours stations, musicians, gift table, guest book, seating card table, escort mirrors, etc.
- Reception. It is important to discuss the logistics of your reception regarding a plated (seated) meal, or buffet style/stations. Be sure to know if your venue accommodates this, has the staff or kitchen equipment required, and can accommodate your guest count in a timely manner.
- The afterparty. If you’re planning to have an afterparty, which I suggest if you have a young crowd and the wedding ends before midnight, think about whether this will take place onsite or elsewhere. Afterparties are the most seamless if they happen onsite – if so, be sure to ask about options and details – is there a room available to have the afterparty in, can the DJ transition into that space, is there a certain noise level to stay under, etc. It is important to be clear on all restrictions.
- Set up/breakdown plan. This is so key for vendors – they will need to know! At the walkthrough ask when you/your vendors will have access to the site for load in and set up. Depending on the complexity of your décor – some vendors may ask to come 1-2 days before your wedding (this applies to huge build outs or elaborate installs) or early at 6am on the morning of the wedding. Often, vendors will give you a better delivery rate if you have flexibility with the arrival/strike window of time. Ask how quickly breakdown will need to happen. Some vendors often allow 2 hours which could be impossible for some major installs. Is additional setup/strike time available for a fee?
- The small details you don’t think about. Are the restrooms at a solid distance from the reception? Will you need to provide a coat check or if one provided? Do you have to rent a generator for the power or are there adequate outlets? Are there any major restrictions will ceiling installs, lighting, or drapery?
There is so much to remember and more! Your wedding, if you have hired one, will ask these questions and more. But, if you are planning your wedding solo, be sure to write a list of questions or print out this blog post as a reference. There is so much happening from engagement ‘til the big day – it is easy to forget some of these important details.
And whatever you do- please make sure you bring your phone or camera! Taking pictures of the space will be helpful to you and your vendors. Bring a notepad or jot down notes on your phone to make sure that you remember all the details. Happy planning!