Finalising details with your wedding venue
Booking your reception venue may be one of the first tasks you will tackle when planning your wedding but there are still a whole bunch of little, last-minute details that you will to confirm and, perhaps even, re-confirm with your wedding reception venue in the weeks – and days - leading up to your big day.
You’ll be pressed for time, so a phone call will do, but the preference is that you front up at the venue in person to discuss the final details below in person. It’s likely you’ll have to drop off any seating charts, place cards and various bits and pieces anyway and, of course, it’ll be your last chance to see the wedding venue again and familiarise yourself with the place before your big day when it will look very different!
Here are seven key items you will need to confirm with your venue:
A detailed itinerary
Be sure to share a copy of your day’s running order. This will help the venue’s staff know what is supposed to happen and when, which will allow them to time their part, such as the serving of the dinner, organising the cake-cutting and, of course, when everything’s supposed to be over.
Make sure your venue’s wedding co-ordinator knows your wedding ceremony’s time and location, as well as the intended location of any photos and whether you plan to have a receiving line. You’ll also want to tell them when want any food or meals served and be sure to share with them your reception entertainment plans.
Also, check with your venue about any noise restrictions that they may have to adhere to as well as a when you and your guests must be out of the venue or you could be up for over-time charges if the party goes on and staff have to stay over their allocated shifts.
Be sure to find out where and when your suppliers will have access to your venue and how they and their gear will get into the venue. After all, they may be holding an event directly before your own and the room in which you’re holding your wedding reception may already have guests in it narrowing the amount of time your wedding suppliers will have for set-up.
What is the earliest your florist come in to decorate the reception rooms and tables When can the DJ or wedding band do a sound check and what is the best time for your cake maker to deliver your cake Don’t forget to let your suppliers know about these access arrangements, or they may turn up too early – or too late!
The final guest headcount
This is a crucial piece of information for your wedding venue as they will need to know how many people to cater for, how many places to set for any meals or catering and how many beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, to order.
Ensure you give them a final figure for all the adults attending and a separate figure for any children, if they’re invited as the prices per head will vary depending on the guest’s age. Don’t forget too, to include the headcount for extras such as your DJ or wedding band or photographer, if you’re paying for their meals as you’ll likely get those at a lesser price than your actual wedding guests who’ll be charged at the full per-head price.
Don’t forget any guests with special needs
Most wedding venues cater for guests that are physically disabled or have special needs, but others will need notice to ensure, for example, spaces are kept free for guests requiring a handicapped parking space or wheelchair access to the venue.
Also let your venue know if any younger guests will need high chairs or if parents need to be seated with enough space to house a pram.
Your seating plan
Your seating plan should be ready at this stage (fingers crossed), so try to take it with you along with place names/escort cards and table numbers, if you have them.
Handing these items to the wedding co-ordinator in person will give you more reassurance than putting them in the post and you’ll be able to explain to them exactly what you have in mind. Being there in person and standing where your guests will be seated will also give you a better idea of whether your planned seating arrangements will work or whether any last-minute alternations need to be made.
If you are staying at your venue either the night before the wedding or the night of it (or both), check that your room and any rooms for your guests and bridal party are still reserved.
You could also ask about arranging any special treats you want left in your room or your guests’ rooms at this time, items such as a champagne bottle in the bridal suite or a welcome hamper for guests who’ve travelled interstate.
If you have made arrangements to stay at a hotel away from your venue, check that transport to this hotel has been organised if that’s included in your package, as some wedding venues will arrange transport from the venue for the bridal couple, but not all will, so be sure to ask this specific question.
The final menu
This will, likely have been agreed upon long before the final weeks leading up to your wedding, but this will be the time to set it in stone, which will allow the wedding venue to order the correct amount of ingredients for all your dishes. Don’t forget to tell them about any particular dietary requirements your guests may have, be they vegetarian, vegan or gluten free. Let them know about any allergies any guest may have, if you know about them.
Discuss the finer details with your venue such as whether wine should be served or simply left on the tables for guests to pour on their own, and whether coffee should be served with dessert, or afterwards with the cake, or whether the cake is to be cut for the guests to take away with the.