By Elizabeth Slagel
Owner, Weymouth hill
The conscientious consumer likes to research and browse his or her choices. Deciding on a wedding venue is no different. For some, it becomes a challenge of seeing them all and leaving no stone unturned, because after all—their wedding must be perfect and it has to be the perfect venue choice.
After the first and maybe second, third venue tour, the details start to run together. Which ones include tables and chairs, which ones provide getting ready spaces. Which one had heating and air and were they have handicap accessible? Next comes the pros and cons list and the choice still isn’t clear.
Let’s face it, most all venues are beautiful and can provide gorgeous photographic opportunities, but there is more to consider than just the aesthetic. Will your venue be private, accommodating, helpful, enjoyable?
It’s similar to the college tour process. There is all this research and touring to find your “perfect school.” Before long they may look different, but they basically offer the same things. My son visited eight schools and the last on his list was Vanderbilt University and he said he would NOT apply. Why? He had college tour fatigue.
Visiting venues can be much the same way. Too many choices, too many price lists can just muddle what you think should be an obvious choice.
Here are some tips to help bring clarity in your decision process:
- Is the venue in my budget? This is important, but not entirely a show-stopper. Ever notice the real estate shows where the realtor shows the couple something slightly out of their budget among two properties that are in budget? Determine if the value is there. Can you give up another aspect of your budget to cover it? Or easier, consider a Sunday or weekday wedding as many venues offer discounts on those days.
- Is your venue authentic or all that it appears? Who doesn’t get swept up in some great wedding photography? However, you want to see weddings for real. Perhaps, click on tagged photos of the venue’s social media pages for more authentic perusal. Of course, new venues like Weymouth Hill won’t have a lot of content yet.
- Does the venue fit the needs of many of your guests? Can Grandpa Tom handle those stairs? Will heat-sensitive family be able to handle sweltering heat if there is no HVAC? Are there too many hazards for your young nieces and nephews? Of course, you can’t think or satisfy every possible need, but safety and ease of your venue will definitely make your day smoother.
- Which venue did you see being helpful and not just a rented space? Most venues provide great spaces, but what else do they do? Well run venues will have staff on hand to help your day go smoothly and take care of any items before they become an issue. Think which venue would be more like a concierge service.
- Read the online reviews….with a grain of salt, of course. An established venue with a lot of reviews will definitely reveal some items you may not have seen on the tour. Forget those nasty reviews—there are the types who just can’t be satisfied and leave a one star with a list of complaints. Instead tune into the ones that speak truths. An example of this is when I was recently on a venue property and the bride’s father getting ready for his daughter’s big day rushed over to me and whispered, “What they won’t tell you on this tour, is there is train that rushes through here at random hours. It’s just terrible.”
- Lastly, and more importantly which venue do you see yourself getting married? If it wasn’t obvious the first time, ask for a second look.
To illustrate how real tour fatigue can be. Remember my son’s declaration he would NOT apply to Vanderbilt. He decided, what the heck, then applied, got accepted and went back for a second look. It was that second visit where he tuned out the noise and focused on what mattered. He observed a group of college students that looked like him, laughing and telling jokes. He knew at that moment, he saw himself there!
Ask your favorite venues, if they would allow you a second look. Don’t be shy. Venue owners are busy, but if they really want you to be comfortable with your choice, he or she will give you their time and answer your questions.