by Sharon Auld
Tips to consider before booking your wedding venue in the Canadian Rocky Mountain areas of Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise, Jasper and beyond!
One of the most common complaints of wedding couples is that they aren’t happy with the wedding venue they booked or are having issues in communicationg with them. We offer 5 tips to Know before booking your wedding venue, but even if you’ve already booked, we hope you will benefit from this post.
So what do you need to know to avoid problems with your venue? First off, don’t expect there to never be any issues. Consider yourself extremely fortunate if everything runs smoothly from the start to finish of your wedding. With any service you contract for your wedding, there is always communication and with communication there is the potential for misunderstandings. Good communication is an ongoing process and takes work. However, you can potentially avoid headaches if you follow these
- Take your time choosing a venue. Take your time to go out and visit several venues. The perfect venue for your friend might not be perfect for you. If you can, take several weekends to go out and look at various venues. You definitely don’t want to be pressured into signing on with a venue when there might be other spots that are better suited to you, your budget and even to the style of wedding you are envisioning. Even if there are only limited booking spots left at a venue, you may want to ask if they could hold the date for you for one week so that you can review the contract and get back to them. This tactic doesn’t always work in your favor, but at least you won’t be pressured into signing a contract only to find that with “hidden costs” it far exceeds your budget.
- Know the “hidden costs” of a venue. Okay, hidden costs might be a bit misleading. Most venues are not out to deliberately deceive you, but it may feel like it when you only hear about ‘corkage fees’, ‘cake-cutting fees’ ‘gratuity charges’ after you’ve signed a contract. Many of these terms are fairly standard within the industry, but when it’s your first time planning a wedding you may not have heard about them. Other costs that may not be on your venue contract might include; AV equipment, dance floor set up, ceremony set-up fees, over-time fees, SOCAN fee, and the list goes on. Ask the venue what other costs you can expect to pay that are not on the written contract. If you don’t ask, you may not know until you get the final bill.
- Carefully review the venue contract. If you really want to avoid surprises, read your contract over thoroughly. Know exactly what services the venue is offering to deliver you and for how much. Know the “fee schedule” for when deposits and payments are due. Know the cancellation clause. Also, be sure you know what is not included. Hopefully by the time you receive a contract you’ve already asked the venue all sorts of good questions. If the answers to these questions are not addressed in the contract, ask for them to include it.
- Get it in Writing. Bottom line, if it doesn’t say it on your contract, don’t expect it. While it’s nice if someone’s offers you something verbally, it’s even nicer if it’s in writing. The truth is people make mistakes. Sometimes they don’t know the correct answer or weren’t in a position of authority. There’s also lots of turnover in the hospitality industry and you may be dealing with a different person on your wedding day. Without having something in writing, there may be no way to verify your claims.If necessary, ask them to “mark up” your contract to include items of concern to you.
- Keep copies of all communications with venues. Mistakes happen, staff turnovers… Keep copies of emails, keep telephone logs of conversations and be prepared to pull these out if you need to clarify any issues. You never know when you may need these documents.
6. Keep a Positive Attitude. Everyone prefers to deal with people who are positive and kind. Keeping a good attitude goes a long way!
At Naturally Chic we also offer a “Getting Started” Service where we will assist you from the start to find the venue best suited for you! There’s no obligation to do any other services once you’ve found your venue. However, Naturally Chic also offers consultation services. Even if you are not wanting to have a wedding coordinator present on your wedding day, you may benefit from hiring us for just an hour or two to discuss specific issues such as venues and contracts.
We know the area and the venues, hopefully we can save you lots of leg-work by recommending wedding venues that are suited to your wedding style, guest list and budget. We can review contracts with you (though we do not dispense legal advice) or give you the heads up on costs to expect . We may be able to offer suggestions to save money or to negotiate some costs with your venue. What is in the best interest of a venue or venue coordinator is not always what’s in your best interest. A wedding planner does have your best interests in mind.
The best of luck and Happy Planning!