I’m Engaged! Now What? A How To Wedding Planning Series – The Big Picture & Venue

I’m engaged! Now what?!

I have put together a wedding planning series of questions – a question guide – for brides to help your planning come along a lot easier! It covers questions from start to finish, from the venue to the bridal bouquet. Get my big picture and venue questions here from this post! By the end of the series you will have a complete guide that you’ll be able to print out!

Getting married is blissful, happy, fun and all about LOVE, but getting married is not the same as a wedding. A wedding is a party!!! A time to celebrate your marriage! Some like an intimate gathering while some like a large full blown party! After you get that ring on your finger there are so many components and things to ponder your brain is a jumbled mess – “where do I even start?”

Well, answer some basic “big picture” questions:

  • What is your dream/ vision?
    • Where? Home or destination?
    • When?
    • Big or small?
    • Simple or extravagant?
    • Budget?

Stress out just a little bit, or more likely a lot. It can be just a bit overwhelming, but calm down, you just have to put your ducks in a row and everything will fall into place! There is logic to planning, and people are more than willing to help. It does not have to be hair pulling stressful at all. It’s really a time to enjoy and let your dream wedding come to reality! Stay calm, go slow and think things through.

First dream – use your imagination. Maybe you’ve dreamed of this day for many years or for minutes, it’s now time to get down to business. Don’t rush into things though. Give yourselves time to just be engaged! Have fun with the planning. Don’t be afraid to browse Pinterest for ideas. Set up a board just for your wedding and slowly narrow it down to the pins you absolutely love. What are your thoughts and dreams of your wedding day – and don’t down play them. It’s an extremely important day that will signify the beginning of your lives as a couple.

It’s all about Details.

Every single detail of your wedding will fall under the “big 7” categories.

  • Venue
  • Photography
  • Officient
  • Music
  • Flowers
  • Miscellaneous – including wedding dress, tuxes, bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts, hair, makeup… etc.
  • Honeymoon

Well, we will get into the nitty gritty with each category in each post to come!

VENUE

Let’s start with venue! Location, location, location…This is probably the most important, the detail that will get the ball rolling for most other details to come. The choice of venue will really set the tone of the wedding. It will set you up for your theme per se. Your dress will thank you for it, your flowers and potentially music! A beach wedding is so vastly different than a mountain resort wedding – especially in winter!

Choosing a venue will open up a whole new bag of questions – that can only stem from choosing a venue, but don’t worry – it’s a good thing!

First, how do you go about choosing a venue? Do some research. Looking online is a great place to start whether it’s a wedding in your hometown or a destination wedding. Make a list of your top venues and compare. List what you like about each – the ones that pop out to you most, consider a site visit. This will show you the true colors of the venue and will allow you to see more clearly what you are picturing.

I have a list of questions to ask – things that are just good to know – before moving forward.

Venue Questions you need to be asking

  • What is your availability on (dates you are looking for)?
    • If you are open to dates and budget conscious – ask about off season rates and when they take effect.
  • We are looking at (number of guests) – what spaces/ rooms are available?
  • Can the space/ room that we like fit (number of guests)?
    • What does it look like for a sit down dinner versus a standing reception?
  • Are their multiple events/ weddings in one day?
  • What does the timing look like for our wedding?
    • When can we get there?
      • Is there a specific area set aside for the bride to get ready?
      • Any place for the groom to hang out prior to the wedding ceremony?
    • When can vendors start setting up?
    • When can the ceremony start?
    • When does the reception have to wrap up?
  • Do you have a list of recommended vendors?
    • Are we required to use them?
  • Do you provide any chairs for the ceremony?
  • Do you provide tables and chairs for the reception?
    • If so, how many to a table?
  • Do you provide any linen?
  • Do you provide any A/V equipment?
  • Do you provide any décor? Example: votives, mirrors, etc?
  • If you cater – do you offer a tasting?
    • Is there a charge for this?
  • Does your property offer a bar or can we bring our own alcohol?
    • If we can bring our own alcohol? What is the corkage fee?
  • If the space we like is outdoors is there a back-up space offered for inclement weather?
    • Is there a charge for the back-up space?
  • Are we able to host a rehearsal run through the night before the wedding?
    • Will my on-site contact be there?
  • We like what we see; can we get an estimate of charges?
    • Make sure to ask your contact to include all taxes and gratuity they charge.
  • If we want to move forward what does the deposit look like and is it refundable?
  • What is the cancellation policy if needed?
  • Who will be my point of contact at this property?
    • Is a wedding planner required?
  • Do you have any additional pictures I cannot find on the internet of weddings hosted at your property?
  • What do you see most that works well at your property/ do you have any recommendations for us?

Getting Personal

We are from Colorado and my sister, Catrina and bride-to-be, has chosen to get married in Florida. This is because her and her fiancee decided on a few musts that they’d really like to have. They wanted a beach wedding, a reception with a view of the water and wanted a big bonfire with s’mores on the beach during/post reception. With this in mind, we both searched for venues that might meet this criteria. She had been to a place or two before in the area, but we needed to expand a bit to a few more places. Searching online, we found a few more that were completely new to us. I called them and first requested an initial estimate and we went from there.

She then narrowed her list of venues and decided it was time to go see them in person! Hopefully, one would fit the bill! She and my mom went as I was unable to, but they brought these venue questions with them. She went with an open mind and was super flexible on dates. So, the venue she wanted would be the venue she gets because she wasn’t tied down to a specific date, but I do know this is not the case in all situations.

She went on a Sunday, toured two places Monday and two places Tuesday, and headed home with confidence Wednesday like she had just won a spot on American Idol. She found what she was looking for, but it actually does not match what she thought she wanted at all! This site tour made her completely change her mind on what she wanted.

Instead of a beach ceremony, she chose a formal ceremony on a lawn in front of a huge plantation style building with large pillars. For the reception, she chose a fun space on the beach, more so, a bay area, where guests are encouraged to take off their shoes, put their toes in the sand and relax! A little later in the evening, in which she is so over-the-top excited about, is the bon fire where s’mores can be made and baby hot dogs can be roasted under the stars. A great way to wind down from an awesome day I think!

When you find what you are looking for ask for a detailed estimate. Tell your contact everything you need and want. Don’t be shy in this area because you can always start high and cut things out as needed or want. Also, don’t forget to ask about timing of the event and what happens in inclement weather if your event is hosted outside.

If you like what you see, ask for a contract! Don’t forget to ask about the deposit to and what is required for your specific venue. Lock down your date!

There is still a lot of planning left, but I feel like, choosing a venues opens up a new world of… calmness, but offers more questions to answer. You can put a checkmark next to “venue” on your checklist! Yay!!

Until my next post!

Courtney

Together, tomorrow is a beautiful place to be

 

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