Are you really too busy for your own wedding? Part I – The Venue

Here is the first in a series of articles on planning your own wedding and preventing yourself from falling into the trap of thinking you don’t have the time to do so.

I have a bone to pick with the so-called wedding planning companies that have sprung up both in cyber space and in office space. I make a very clear distinction between these wedding planning companies (let's call them wpcs) and wedding planners (I count myself as part of this latter group). Peeling back all the hype, wpcs provide lists of services and wedding planners provide real services.

I had a short and not very satisfying experience with two such companies: one in an office space and one in cyber space. Each was tasked with helping us find a venue for my son's wedding. Each asked basic questions but in the end both provided a list of choices. Nothing more.

When we visited the venue choices it was obvious that neither company:

1) investigated the sites: one site was too small for our small wedding of 200 guests. After visiting the venue, I called the company immediately and told them that the venue was too small. The answer I received was that that 200 people could indeed fit into this venue. When I retorted that 200 people could also fit into my living room, the company rep just laughed and reluctantly admitted he never actually saw the place himself.

2) in some cases the company never contacted the sites before I had ( to arrange a meeting/tour of the venue). This became evident when I called the venue to arrange the meeting or when I mentioned that we were supposed to get a 'special company price' and the venue knew anything about a special price. Again once I told the company about the discrepancy, they told me they would 'look into it'.

These companies also claimed that they knew all the venues that would be suited for us in a certain geographical area. Again this was false. Once again, when I told the companies that I found many other venues (not on their list); their answers were at best an attempt to say that they did not have connections with ALL the venues in our area (not what the company claimed at our first and only meeting).

No one has the luxury of 'not having the time to plan your own wedding'. Do not let a wedding planning company try to convince you that your wedding deserves less of your time and effort than would a dinner date.

Want to find a venue?

A. Use the following parameters to begin to narrow your search, without ever leaving your home or your slippers.

Parameters to help you narrow your search:

1) Time of year: Season/month(Some venues are summer only garden venues)

2) Geographical location: Area/city

3) Venue type: garden venue, garden+hall venue, hall venue

4) Number of guests: (Some venues are designed for very large or small weddings. Most venues have minimum guest attendance rules for certain seasons and certain days of the week)

5) Basic wedding style: (Religious, mixed, formal, informal and the like)

B. Now just key in venue names  in for your desired cities in your geographical area.

Now make sure your venue has a license to run a venue. Check out:

Most of your search response list will include links to the venue's sites. Check out the sites and make a list of the most likely venues.

C. With the information from your parameter list above, call each venue and discuss your needs. Begin to arrange meetings for your close wedding party. When arranging a meeting, get the name of the person you will meet, as well as a direct mobile number.

Try to visit each venue during an event, preferably a wedding. So you can see much more than just the physical layout of the venye, but also how responsive the venue is to the event and the guests.

I warmly recommend that the bride, groom and someone who has arranged a wedding in the past visit each venue.

If you can, try to visit two venues in an evening.

All venues look the same

After you have visited your third venue, all the venues begin to look and smell the same. With this in mind I attach a venue assessing form (in both English and Hebrew) to help you assess each venue as you visit it and then help you compare the venues at the end of the process.
Venue Comparison Form English

Venue Comparison Form Hebrew

Having problems downloading my forms?  Email me.

Use these forms as an inspection list of items to examine while you are in the venue and then complete the form as soon as you are in the parking lot. Once you have seen about as many venues as you can stand, you can review them with the help of these forms and come to an informed decision.

Stay tuned for other installments of "Are you really too busy for your own wedding?"

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