Last year, The Springs Events hosted 4,623 venue tours.
We have 13 locations and host tours seven days a week. Our managers are smiling, friendly ladies and we put together a list of do’s and don’t’s for how to make the most of your site visits.
The DO’s for your tour.
DO arrive on time. It’s advisable to make an appointment and allot for 45 minutes to an hour at each location. Also, communicate if you’re running ahead or behind on schedule. It’s just nicer that way.
DO make an appointment. You’ll want one-on-one time with the venue staff, so make sure they can meet with you when they don’t have other tour appointments, a photoshoot, or an actual wedding occurring at the same time.
DO bring a camera. Documenting the venue from your perspective will help you remember the things you liked and disliked about the venue. After 1 or 2 tours, the locations will start to blend into one another, so this will help you remember each place visited.
DO excuse yourself. Picking a venue is a personal decision between you & your significant other. There’s lots of emotions and opinions that you’re sure to feel along the tour, but may not feel comfortable discussing in front of the venue staff. Don’t be shy to ask for the space you need to talk privately.
DO check out the gossip. Make sure to read reviews and ask around. Google and Yelp will give you a good idea of guest experiences, but Wedding Wire and The Knot will give you the intimate details from past couples. Read the good, the bad, and ask questions about any of your concerns. Bonus tip: seeing how the venue talks about bad reviews can tell you a lot about the business ethics of a company.
DO bring a list of questions. Comparing apples to apples for venues is hard. If you ask the same questions at each venue, it’ll help you compare side by side from your own perspective. A checklist of your *musts* is helpful, too.
DO ask for a final price quote. If you’ve never heard of “plus-plus”, it’s pretty standard that venues have a price, plus tax, plus gratuity. This is a biggie in terms of your investment. Get a quote that includes all additional fees and an example of a payment plan so you know the bottom line. Check out common hidden venue fees to look for, too.
The DON’T’s for your tour.
DON’T crowd yourself. Limit your tour invite to the couple & those who have a wedding acronym (MOH, MOB, FOB, MOG, FOG)… Mother of the Bride, Maid of Honor, etc. It’s not that other opinions aren’t important, they are! But, 27% of our tours occurred on a Saturday morning last year, which is also when 43% of our weddings occurred. Showing an entourage through a venue on another person’s wedding day is logistically difficult, so if you do have a large group to bring, consider touring on a non-wedding day so you can see everything.
DON’T feel pressure. Yes, dates do reserve quickly. Yes, sometimes, there’s discounts to be earned if you book during a certain time. But you should never feel pressure from the venue to book. A deposit, retainer, or (insert that venue’s term for the first payment to reserve) is non-refundable. Move forward at your own pace. You’ll know when you’re ready.
DON’T leave without a copy of the contract. Weddings are fun! Contracts are serious. Read it without distractions or pressure in the comfort of your own home. Highlight anything you have questions about and follow up with the venue afterwards.
DON’T forget to check out the behind the scenes areas. Make sure you visit the restrooms, kitchen area, vendor parking area, dressing suites, and all the other logistics areas of the venue. You can read more about how those really affect your wedding in this post.
DON’T feel shy about asking to see their calendar. A venue should be transparent with you about their dates and availability. It’ll give you a good idea about how quickly the dates really are selling, what months are the most popular, and to see what dates you can consider if this is the place!
DON’T go on an empty stomach. It’s hard to focus when you’re hungry. Um, duh, I know this sounds obvious, but, I’ve seen couples line up tours back to back and not budget time for lunch in between. Weddings should be happy. Tours should be happy. But ain’t no one happy when she’s hungry.
DON’T bring a small child. Or dog. Or a ferret. I’ve had all three of these on a tour with couples. The ferret, surprisingly, was the least distracting. The venue is no doubt, one of the biggest investments you’ll make for your wedding and you’ll want to be able to focus.
So, there you have it. 7 do’s and 7 don’t’s and a picture of Mr. Clean with the TSE ladies.
PS- this post was inspired by Megan Hajduk. She’s the Wedding Events Manager at CRANWELL SPA & GOLF RESORT in Massachusetts. We’ve never met, but she looks nice in her picture and wrote an exceptional to-do and to-don’t list herself. You can read that, too here: http://www.cranwell.com/blog/dos-donts-visiting-potential-wedding-venues/
Ready to see your dream wedding come true? Book a tour with us today!