By Alexandria Proko
We’ve been highlighting some of our favorite Chester County wedding venues, so it seems natural to share advice to take with you on this journey.
As a planner, venue searching is a task that I am familiar with. Furthermore, I got my start in the event industry by working in venue sales.
There are basics that everyone asks – dates, rental fees, packages – but there are points that couples don’t ask, either because they’ve forgotten or because this process is new to them, so they don’t know to.
- Get clarification on the vendor sheet. Some venues are exclusive with vendors, while others use it as a resource.
- Ask for honesty about hidden fees. Ever buy a plane ticket at a steal, and then get charged for a bunch of essentials? Find out about cake cutting or corkage fees, amenities like a coat check, and if the decor or lights you see on your tour are included. Can you host your rehearsal there without an extra charge?
- Remember the rest of the day. Couples get hyper-focused on the reception, and we don’t blame them. But, don’t forget about earlier parts of the day, like when you’re getting ready. Can you both get ready on-site? Is food available, or do you bring it in? Can you access the suite all night? Trust me, you don’t want to squeeze into a bathroom stall in your dress.
- Weather happens. Talk to the venue about what happens in case of inclement weather and when those decisions need to be made.
- Ask about their role. Some venues have in-house staff to send you down the aisle, set up your centerpieces and get your bridal party to pictures. Many don’t. If this is the case, we recommend working with a coordinator to help tie up the logistics and take care of those tasks for you.
- Talk timing – loosely. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with and booking a venue, only to find out the week before your wedding that you can’t access the bridal suite until an hour prior to your ceremony. Make sure vendors can get in earlier too; otherwise, you might end up with last-minute charges from them if they need to hire more staff to accommodate a shorter set up window.
In general, educating yourself on the planning process can help you to feel more confident taking these exciting next steps and can save your budget down the road.
Alexandria Proko is the founder and creative director of Alexandria Catherine Events, a Chester County special events planning company. Her work is driven by a passion for ceremony, tradition and creating memories. She has been featured and has received accolades from Brides, the Philly A-List, The Big Fake Wedding, WeddingWire, etc. Allie can be reached via email at email@example.com