Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Wedding Venue

I recently wrote a blog post on how to find your wedding venue. I discussed a number of questions about the costs of the venue — which I think are important enough to reiterate! I also am adding questions to this list that you should keep in mind before actually signing any contract with a venue. If you’re looking to double check questions that you should ask, be sure and check out the Here Comes the Guide questions to ask when evaluating a wedding location.

Photo from The Wedding Lens

General questions on costs/facilities to ask

  • Seating/guests
    • How many people can they seat/fit?
    • How much is the deposit/down payment? Is it refundable?
    • Does the venue provide chairs? Do you need to rent chairs?
    • Do they charge for the chairs/setting up chairs?
  • Facilities
    • Is there a dressing area for the bride & groom?
    • Are there bathrooms accessible to guests?
    • Is it wheelchair accessible?
  • Food, drinks, & catering
    • Does the venue provide food, drinks, or other catering? Do they have preferred vendors?
    • If they have food & drinks for weddings, then find out a price range, you will select your final food/drink options later. Most venues give a per person rate. (Be sure to check whether each price option includes a buffet, a seated dinner, an open bar, limited drinks, etc.)
    • Can vendors use the kitchen facilities? (Are there kitchen facilities on site?)
    • Is there a per-person cake charge?
    • Is there an additional charge for linens and utensils?
    • Is there a service charge for serving the meals?
  • Music, Dancing, Flowers & Decorations
    • Does the venue have a dance floor? Does it cost extra?
    • Does the venue permit amplified music?
    • Is there a sound system? Can an outside DJ or band use it? Is there a cost
    • Do they permit decorations/flowers? Can you bring in decorations from outside or does it have to be done through the venue? What is the charge?
  • Miscellaneous
    • Do they charge for clean up
    • Does the venue require wedding insurance? (Check out the blog post on wedding insurance if you have no idea what this is!)
    • Are there restrictions on the site? (no confetti, etc)
    • Do they have any other costs and fees? (service charges, etc)

Specific Questions to ask yourself to make sure the venue is right — at the right time

  • Go to the venue at the time of day you want to get married to make sure the lighting is right and sufficient.
  • Is there sufficient lighting? Ask the venue if there is additional lighting available.
  • If it is outdoors, are there coverings or tents that can go up if it rains? Can you bring in umbrellas? (Are there charges for tents? What is the charge?
  • Do you like the people at the venue? Can you work with them?
  • If they require a certain vendor, is that okay with you? Do you like the vendors?

Questions to ask about the contract before you sign

  • What happens if one side or the other has to cancel? Do you still have to pay fees? Can you get reimbursed if it’s their fault?
  • Is there a contingency plan if it’s outdoors and it rains?
  • Are they requiring you to do something you do not want to do or incur costs that you dont want to incur?
  • READ it thoroughly! Make sure you understand it. Take your time, don’t feel strong-armed into signing it. If you can, have someone else who isn’t involved in the process read it too. They might see something you didn’t.

~ Natasha

Advertisements

What Goes inside a Wedding Invitation?

I just received a beautiful wedding invitation. But, of course, it doesn’t just include an invitation telling me where and when the wedding is. So what DOES go in a wedding invitation?

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

First, the envelope addressing: Make sure you address it to who you want to go. Seems simple, but if you want your friend John to take his girlfriend, Jane, make sure you address it to both John and Jane. If you want Julia to bring someone, but you’re not sure who she’d like to bring, you should be sure to address it to Julia and Guest. Otherwise they won’t know and shouldn’t bring someone! (Remember my tips on invitations and guests!)

Second, the invitation: Include an invitation to the ceremony — date, time, and location. If there’s a reception following, say “reception to follow.”

Third, the reception card: If the reception is at a different location, add in another card that tells your guests where the reception is and what time it starts.

Fourth, the response card: This is the little card that you get back that lets you know whether your guests will be able to come! If you want (or your venue requires it) you can also put the menu options on the response card so you can tell your venue in advance how many of which dish you will need. You can also be creative with your response cards by sending, for example, blank cards that let your guests say what they wish. Be sure to include a deadline!

Fifth, optionals: If you want, you can include a map and directions of the locations. You can also put in ideas for accomodations (especially if you have a room block at a local hotel). And, of course, your website! The website can keep everyone up to date on everything.

Be sure that you do NOT include registry information, though you can put it on your website — so take that for what it’s worth. (No pun intended)

Did you include anything else with your invitations?

~ Natasha

Wedding Question: A Reception That’s Weeks After the Ceremony?

We just received this question from a reader….

My husband’s nephew is getting married this October. Only 20 people are invited to the ceremony (we are NOT being invited). We were advised they will, however, be holding a large reception two weeks after the ceremony, to which we ARE invited. My husband feels that the only reason we are being invited to the reception is to give a gift, and does not want to either attend or send a gift. Since his nephew lives in another state, I am tending to agree with him about not going to the reception – it would cost us several hundred dollars in travel expenses. Are we obligated to either attend the reception and/or give a gift? Is it common practice to not be invited to the ceremony, but be expected to attend a later-date reception?

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

First, you are not obligated to attend and you are not obligated to give a gift if you do not attend — contrary to popular belief. It is common practice to give a gift if you do not attend to show the couple that you are supportive of them. It’s completely understandable that financial limitations might restrict your ability to attend the wedding.

Second, although it is not common to have a separate ceremony and reception, more people are doing that these days. People want to do a simple, personal ceremony and then they want to celebrate with their family and friends. While I don’t know your family dynamics. I’m guessing that you weren’t invited just for a gift — more likely you were invited because you’re family! In fact, if you were just wanted for a gift (and not to celebrate) they could have just invited you to the ceremony and not the reception since the reception generally costs a lot more than a ceremony. (Note to couples reading this: do NOT invite guests only to a ceremony and not to a reception)

Hope that helps!! Good luck!

~ Natasha

Need to give a wedding gift? How about an online wedding photo album so that the couple can collect all the photos from their guests?

How to Write Wedding Vows

A lot of couples want to personalize their wedding vows, but it’s hard to come up with things to write or what to say. So here’s some help.  Some couples want to write the vows for the officiant together and then they want to have vows that they say separately.

photo from The Wedding Lens
photo from The Wedding Lens

Find some time to sit down and work on your vows when it is quiet and there aren’t other things going on. One site suggests that you give a time limit and then write a letter that includes why you love your partner, a few of your favorite times together, and a few quotes. Take your time and be specific; dont make it short and sweet!

You should also come up with a list of words that you want to incorporate into your vows — either the ones said by the officiant or that you say. Examples? Love, Friendship… Etc.

If you’re having trouble, answer some simple questions about your relationship. Examples? What is the greatest thing you love about your partner? How/when did you know that your partner was “the one”?

Then exchange the letters, answers, and words. Read them, cry, hug, and then figure out what you might be able to incorporate into vows. Make sure you’re both on the same page about what you want and what you’re looking for!

Here is a sample wedding vow, from BrilliantWeddingPages:

“From this moment, I, Name, take you, Name, as my best friend for life. I pledge to honor, encourage, and support you through our walk together. When our way becomes difficult, I promise to stand by you and uplift you, so that through our union we can accomplish more than we could alone. I promise to work at our love and always make you a priority in my life. With every beat of my heart, I will love you. This is my solemn vow.”

If you’re looking for quotes or guidance for a religious ceremony, ForeverWed has a great guide to check out.

NOTE: If you do write your own wedding vows, some states require you to say (or not say) certain things. Make sure you check your county and state requirements before your wedding day!

Do you have other suggestions on writing wedding vows? Let us know!

~ Natasha

To Wedding Arch Or Not To Wedding Arch

Wedding Arch

Wedding planning is supposed to be an exciting time for the bride and groom-to-be. There are so many details that have to be covered in order to have a successful yet glamorous wedding.

 

Some of the details may not arise until you arrive to your wedding rehearsal.  As you are decorating your ceremony location like the church, outdoor setting etc., an opportunity may arise for you to add a wedding arch to your decor. Do you choose this addition or do you reject it? It all depends on what kind of appearance it brings to the wedding setup.  Does it make an elegant addition or does it just add clutter?

 

Of course the bride and groom-to-be have the final say if this is right for their wedding or not.  The wedding arch may work better in the outdoors than it would in a church setting.  If you are still uncertain take pictures at the rehearsal and ceremony location  after it has all been decorated. When you go home, and if time allows, download all the pictures on the computer and scan through the photos, if you don’t like what you see then forego the arch.  Making the right decision is so very important since you don’t want to regret it in the long run.

 

If  you are in need of some more decorating ideas for the ceremony or the reception, Almost A Bride  has ideas you may wish to consider and incorporate into your wedding planning.

 

~ Lindsey