Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Finding the Perfect Venue...

Finding the perfect venue can be one of the more challenging steps in the planning process. On average, a bride will spend anywhere from 10-20 hours working to secure the perfect venue. Maximize your time and that of the venues by keeping in mind a few key points as you short list options to visit.

You want to ensure you are choosing the right venue for your situation, expectations, and budget. You should have a reasonably good idea of what you need in a venue before starting on your search -- i.e. garden ceremony, tent reception, bringing in your own caterer, live music, guest capacity, etc. Sometimes a bride will have “too many” requirements making it impossible to short list a venue that can meet all her needs. In this case you will need to prioritize your wants and needs and go from there. Below is a list of various points of interest to review when considering venue options and attending site visits. Good luck with the search for the perfect venue!

Venue Check List...
  • Will there be other events occurring simultaneously? Before/After?
  • Are Outside Vendors Permitted; Caterers, Decorators, Rentals, DJ, etc.
  • Are their restrictions surrounding Live Music/Entertainment?
  • Is there a Ceremony Area?
  • What is the Ceremony Capacity?
  • What types of chairs are provided for the ceremony and/or reception?
  • Is there Bride’s Waiting/Prep Room - - If so, what is the access time?
  • Does the venue offer a contingency plan in case of rain if held outside?
  • What are the Room Capacities?
  • What are the Minimum Spending Requirements if any?
  • Are there any additional Rental Fees or other charges that might be incurred?
  • Does the venue provide the essentials like tables, chairs, linen, dishes, etc. or must these be arranged through an outside source?
  • Is there Parking available? Proximity? Cost? How late? Overnight? Valet?
  • Are there additional rooms available for various activities? i.e. Kids Room
  • Load-ins/Load-outs; Where? What times? Additional charges for special labour?
  • Who provides the Food and Drinks? Is off-site catering permitted? Can special food requests be accommodated? – i.e. kids meals, vegetarians, allergies…
  • Staffing Ratios; 1:20 for Plated, 1:25 for Buffet, & 1:30 for Cocktail Menus
  • What are the Official Start & End Times?
  • When do Vendors have access to the venue?
  • Does the venue impose a Dress Code? Does it apply to Vendors during set up?
  • Is the Washroom to Guest Ratio adequate? Suggested; Ladies: 1:30, Men: 1:50
  • Is there ample Power available on site? i.e. lighting, band, caterers, etc.
  • Is there Security provided? Needed?
  • Does the venue offer Audio Visual assistance? Cost?
  • Is there Wheelchair Access? Handicap Washrooms?
  • Who is responsible for the Garbage and removal of?
  • Can the Rehearsal be held on site? Cost? Restrictions?
  • Any other noise bylaws, fees, restrictions, requirements of the venue?

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