Beyond the Bridal Zine: 10 Wedding Venue Tips you Won’t Find In Print

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Since most couples get married only once in their lives, many are new to the rules of wedding planning. But what you don’t know about your wedding venue may cost you.

Want to be in the know? Skip the subscription and go behind the scenes for a backstage look at your wedding venue. Here are ten tips no soon-to-be-bride (or groom) should be without.

  1. It’s ok to lie. Know that it’s ok to tell little (or large) white lies—even to your family. Especially if it pertains to start times. Whether you have a loved one who’s chronically late or simply want to remain ahead of schedule, best to give yourself a 30-minute buffer.
  2. Ask about off-season venue pricing. During slower months, venues may be inclined to offer discounted rates for winter wedding ceremonies and receptions. Inquire about the time slots available, too. That Saturday wedding may actually be within reach if you opt for an a.m. ceremony!
  3. Think beyond the sit-down dinner. The caterers may be in house, but that doesn’t mean you’re beholden to a set menu. Maybe instead of appetizers you want to serve a variety of tapas that can also double as a full meal. Perhaps you want give guests bespoke options like a build your own tartine or taco station. You can even serve a bubbly brunch depending on the time of your wedding.
  4. Only two things are certain: tips and taxes. Every time you request a change, add an element, or make party upgrades don’t forget to account for sales tax. Taking that bigger event space ‘at no extra charge’ may still come with a handout for Uncle Sam. Make sure you come prepared with gratuity for your vendors, too. Without them your big day would be a bust, so treat them well.
  5. Wedding photos don’t have to happen after the ceremony. Your engagement shoot taught you how to take professional couple photos. The wedding will teach you when to take them. You’re paying for every minute so use it wisely. If no one’s booked ahead of you, ask about renting the space at a discounted rate and taking all your photos ahead of the ceremony. This will leave you more time to celebrate with friends and family at the reception.
  6. Wedding planners aren’t therapists. They can, however, can neutralize intense emotions. Having a third party is extremely helpful, especially if you have a stressful family dynamic. Just make sure you stay within the confines of your contract and don’t take advantage.
  7. You may not be able to use an outside vendor. This is where a thorough read of the contract comes in. If you have your heart set on someone specific, make sure you clear it before you get hit with an unexpected extra charge.
  8. Try to BYO-bar. Agonizing over which wedding wine to choose? If you’re torn between disappointing guests with a cash bar or bankrupting yourself by offering top shelf, know there may be a third option. Some venues don’t advertise it, but it’s possible to bring your booze and simply pay a corkage fee instead.
  9. Package deals exist. Book your rehearsal dinner or engagement party with the same venue to see if you qualify for a possible multi-event discount
  10. It never hurts to ask. Getting what you want starts with asking for what you want. (Your partner said yes didn’t they?!) Even if your request it goes against the grain, the worst a venue can say is, “I’m sorry, but no”. If it’s never been done before, remember there’s a first time for everything.

When you’re wedding planning, operate under a need to know basis– i.e. you need to know a bit about everything. Learn the ropes and you’ll move from “I will” to “I do” with money and energy to spare.

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