Bridey, one of the most difficult parts of planning your wedding is choosing the right venue. I mean, there are so many factors to consider, and people to please that what used to be a fun experience has turned into more of a daunting task. Sorry, but true story! So, rather than let it get the best of you (and quickly), get your shit together before you start your journey so that you don't end up wasting a ton of your time, and that of those trying to help you. How? Well, let me help you get started before you lose your mind!
First of all, bridey, do your homework. I know that it's super exciting to start the process of searching for the right venue, but before you can even begin researching potential venue sites, you and your sig other need to sit down and determine a few important factors. Do your homework! Because, now is not the time to be impulsive. Outside of the down payment for your house, this is going to be the next biggest expense of your life. So, don't fuck it up by being impulsive and reckless. Determine your budget (give or take). Determine an approximate number of guests so that you know which venues will work, and which ones won't. Determine reasonable accommodations and concessions for your guests... Etc. Etc. Etc.
1. Budget: I know that this is difficult, but bridey, it's the most important factor when choosing your venue. At the very least, try to figure out what you have to spend overall (wedding venue, wedding dress, flowers, transportation, etc.), and what you have to spend on your venue (where you'll spend approximately 50-60% of your total budget). Have a 'worst case scenario', and a 'best case scenario' mapped out, and be honest. Better to overshoot than undershoot when it comes to your budget.
2. Number of Guests: While there is no way to know the exact number of guests this early in the game, at the very least try to figure out an approximate number. Why? Well, if you begin visiting sites without knowing how many people you're going to have at your wedding, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment. You'll fall in love with a place that will either be too cavernous or too small, and ultimately, you will need to start your search over. Why put yourself through that, bridey? So, chat with your sig other, poll your parents, and set some boundaries (based on budget)... Then go look!
3. Aesthetic + Reality: Really pretty basic, no? Are you an ocean side bride or a hotel bride? Are you a rustic bride or modern bride? What do you see when you daydream? Narrow it down. Start where you think you will end. Got something brewing? Great! Well, now compare what you know about your aestheic against your budget (aka, reality). For example, I know I like modern furniture, but I also know that it tends to cost a shitload more than "normal" furniture. Ohhhhh..... yeah......
Okay, it's your turn, bridey. Want an outdoor wedding at a your parent's house? Sounds lovely! But, stop and think for a sec... Think about renting every.single.item. from forks to bathrooms to power generators (for the DJ, caterer, lighting, etc.)... Yup! Your guests will need to pee,
"Your prices are outrageous!" Yeah, that's how the conversation began with this potential bride. (Told you I am losing faith in humanity.) Nice way to start, huh? She had called a day prior requesting information about wedding packages, etc., although without the willingness to share a bit about herself, her "dream" and most importantly, her budget. So, I got as much as I possibly could get out of her before she abruptly ended the call. I hesitated, but then said, "Fuck it", and emailed the wedding packages and pricing for her to review.
Which brings us back to the beginning... "Your prices are outrageous!" Yeah, this bitch called back the next fucking day to share her feelings with me. Know what? I totally should have sent her the PITA wedding packages (they're ones which incorporate the Pain In The Ass fee). No, I don't actually have those, but it sure is tempting! OMG... I can only imagine how outrageous she would have thought my pricing was if I emailed those! Again, not that I have them...
Anyway, here's the thing... Some of you may find certain wedding vendor pricing "outrageous", and that's perfectly fine. Don't use them. Choose somebody else. But, please, bridey, do us all a favor and keep your bullshit opinions to yourself! I mean... There's really no need to call back and preach your outrage. Just move on. But, keep this in mind... Most vendors who rank on the pricey side of the spectrum? Yeah, they got there because they're fucking worth it.
I want you to do me a favor, bridey. I dare you to walk into Louis Vuitton and tell the chick helping you select the "perfect" bag that LV's prices are outrageous.
"Are you fucking kidding me? REALLY?" she asked. This was the response from an overworked, underpaid and pissed off venue employee. "ALL of that for two fucking French macarons? Seriously, why do I even bother?" she asked and walked away in a huff. "Nice 'tip'."
Brideys, as we are heading into a busy spring wedding season, I cannot stress enough how important it is to tip the vendors who work their asses off for you. I'm not saying that you "owe" them (particularly if they did not perform well or if they just plain ol' sucked), but if you are going to make like 800 demands (all the way down to the light bulb brand used in function space), and expect that your demands are met, then you know what? You DO owe them, and you better show your appreciation... with CASH. Giving them a $4.00 favor that you are giving to all of your guests? Yeah, it doesn't cut it. Actually feels more like a "fuck you" than a nice little sweet treat. It's definitely not how you should show your appreciation to anybody who has gone out of their way for you (especially if they were the ones who helped you procure said macarons!).
Bridey, I have written about this a million fucking times, and so has The Tipping Fairy (a Vendor Vent), and even Martha Stewart has written about tipping your wedding vendors! If you pushed your vendors HARD, and they lived up to all of said demands (ahem... changing the brand of light bulbs for your wedding), then show them. Give them a nice fat envelop, write something nice, and build it into your wedding budget.
“I just feel like they weren’t honest with me from the get-go.” Said my very pissed off bride. To clarify, “they” are the venue where she is getting married, and she feels “lied to” because she is “light years” away from the agreed upon food and beverage minimum (determined before I came into the picture) in her contract. The reason I want to make it clear that I wasn’t there for the food and beverage minimum discussion is because had I been at the initial site appointment with the venue, I would have intervened and clearly stated that while the food and beverage minimum is $30,000 (for example), it’s quite likely that she will exceed said minimum. Not only do you have to consider an additional 25-30% for gratuity and tax, but let’s take a look at the word minimum [min-uh-muhm], shall we? According to dictionary.com, the word minimum is “the least quantity or amount possible, assignable, allowable, or the like.” As in… BRIDEY, YOU WILL SPEND MORE THAN THE MINIMUM.
Once she and I dissected the exact terms of the food and beverage minimum and then proceeded to trim her overall wedding budget, letting go of a few superfluous add-ons we had planned, she simmered down. But, then it dawned on me that perhaps she wasn’t the only bride who felt taken advantage of by the venue. And I understand it, bridey, I really do. Because I used to be the one selling the space!
Seriously bridey? Can you please wipe that stunned look off of your face? I mean, I can't.... I can't even get into this again with you. What is IT, you ask. Well, I am so fucking tired of talking in circles about something so simple, that I can hardly write about it. In a nutshell? READ, bridey, read! Read your contracts, read your Banquet Event Orders, read your emails... Seriously, I need you to read your brains out, bridey so that you aren't completely blindsided by the decisions you are making now. Yes, I know that reading can be somewhat of a tedious task, but it's critically important so that you're not shell shocked with the invoices start rolling in.
Bridey, even if you're working with a highly intelligent wedding planner (ahem); somebody who will steer you in the right direction with each of your wedding decisions, it's still important that YOU understand what's included (and what's not included) with every vendor you hire, and with every item purchased. I can only help you manage your expectations to a certain degree before I pass the baton and expect you to take a little bit of responsibility for your actions.
For example... I am working with a bride who is a bit of a flighty mess (which is why she hired me), and as we are closing in on her wedding day, she told me that she is "super disappointed with how it all worked out with the venue."
Brideys, I HAD to put this post FRONT AND FUCKING CENTER even though it's a Vendor Vent. Technically, this vent should go on another page of BB, but I had to do it because almost a year ago to the day, I wrote something quite similar, Trust is NOT a Four Letter Word (although perhaps a bit more venom packed), and seriously, I don't know how many wedding planners, or people in our industry need to tell you this, but TRUST YOUR VENDORS! Don't hire me if you're not going to trust me. PERIOD!
Now... read it and learn...
Written by "Another Hot Pink Planner"
Last year I met with an out of state bride referred to my team by one of my favorite clients. I knew going in that she was really excited to work with us, so I was looking forward to meeting her. Actually, she was so excited to work with us that she hired us on the spot! I have to admit, I was quite thrilled to work with her too because the gal who referred her to us was amazing, so I figured she would be as well. Boy was I wrong!
I can distinctly remember this bride at our consultation asking questions about ways we would be able to save her money, and how we would be able to make her wedding planning easier. I gave her several examples, and let her know that we would closely monitor her budget, making sure that she stuck it. Plus, we would be happy to provide her with vendors she would love.