The following post is a guest blog from our friends at Bridal Creations by Essex Florist and Greenhouses!
Getting engaged and planning your wedding is an exciting time in your life. But do not let the excitement get in the way of paying attention to the services that you are seeking. Not all venues are the same, and there are a lot of details that you need to consider before you sign anything or make a deposit of any kind. Remember, contracts are often binding, and deposits are often non-refundable!
- Selecting your date: This may be the most challenging aspect o planning your wedding, especially if you must have a certain date. If you are getting married in a church, you need to coordinate your wedding date and time with a reception location. Venues often are booked 12 months or more in advance, so the sooner you book the better chance you have of getting your date. If you are flexible on your date, you will have an easier time. You might ask if there are times when they offer special deals. Sometimes holiday weekends that are hard for the vendor to book might come with incentives.
- Services provided: Make sure you understand all the services that are provided at your venue! This is where things can get complicated, and a good wedding planner can be an excellent resource. Check out our article What Your Wedding Coordinator Does. If you are getting married at a rustic venue, often the venue only provides the location. In other words, if your dream is to get married in a barn, all that might be provided is the barn. You not only have to provide the caterer and the bar, but you also must rent the linens, chairs, tables, dishes, glasses, cutlery, AND YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOMEONE TO SET ALL OF TABLES, THE BAR, THE CEREMONY LOCATION UP! This is a very important aspect to understand. Rental companies just deliver the items, they do not set up. Caterers just cater, they often do not do set up either. Make sure before you sign any contract that you understand:Who is to provide the linens, dishes, cutlery, bar set up, etc;
Who is going to set up the ceremony and reception site;
Who is going to clean up after your wedding;
Who is responsible for returning all of the rented items.
- Does the Venue fit your wedding? Your dream might be a cathedral length gown, elaborate bouquets, huge florals, and gourmet food. If so, you want a venue suited for these items. The local VFW or American Legion Hall will not work with your ideas. You also do not want to book a high end venue, and serve hot dogs and hamburgers. If you want to do a cookout type reception, choose a venue that is suited for that type of reception.
- Cancellations and changes: Again, before you sign anything, make sure you understand what the venues terms are for cancellations or making changes-especially if you down size your wedding. Vendors might say that they will be happy to refund a portion of your money IF they book another wedding on that date. In that event, DO NOT rely on the vendor to call you when they happen to book an event. Call a few times and inquire about the date’s availability. Once you know it is booked, ask them for a refund. Check out 5 Things to Expect From Vendor Contracts.
- Restrictions: Make sure you understand any restrictions that the church and/or vendor have. For example, not everyone allows aisle runners anymore. If you want to have flower petals down the aisle, you need to ask first. A lot of places do not allow petals because they create a safety hazard and an environmental concern. Open flames are most often banned. Most vendors and venues provide a Do’S and Don’ts List. If one is not provided, ask if one is available and read it carefully before booking any of your services.
The bottom line is, be certain you understand all the services that are provided, make sure they are in writing, and contract nothing until you have a full understanding of what is and is not allowed.
Affairs Extraordinaire by Marta comes to you with over 30 years of experience in the planning and coordinating of weddings and parties. If you would like to schedule a consultation with Marta follow this link or call 410-812-7978.