Part II of a series – Visiting Sites

You researched the possible sites in Part I
You found some great options.  You  might even have checked some references ahead of time.  The appointments are made, and you are on your way!   You would hate to arrive to find they are tied up with another client or a wedding.  What’s next-

Site selection visits – what to bring
Bring along your list of questions and a camera or video recorder to document the site. This will come in handy when it comes to decision time, especially if others participating in the decision are unable to accompany you.  Consider asking your family member to take notes so you can concentrate on what you are being shown.

Camera        Pen & Paper       Son't Forget Dad's Tape Measure
Camera Pen & Paper and Don't Forget Dad's Tape Measure

What is included/excluded
An important objective of the appointment is determining what is included in the price quote, e.g. tables and chairs. If a specific amount of time is allotted, are there possible overtime charges? Do they provide catering, require that you use an approved caterer, or can you bring in your own caterer? Moreover, if you want to have the ceremony on-site, verify that is possible and the added costs. Will yours be the only wedding that day or will other events go on simultaneously?

Will you need a Rental Service
For your Party Rental company to do a great job for you, they could need between 1 or 2 days to set up, depending on the number of tents, and their complexity.  It is always in your best interest if they can move up a day to avoid a soaking rain. Similarly, in a perfect world, tents should come down the next dry day, to increase the opportunity to keep your tent clean and dry. (Just like the setup when your tent was used at a previous wedding.)

Covering all the bases
Tour the site to look for adequate guest parking, bride and groom changing areas, restroom facilities and wheelchair accessibility. Inquire during the meeting about liability insurance, music restrictions, access for taking pictures and whether setup and cleanup times are included in the allotted time on the contract.

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Finishing Touch

Discount incentives and determining the total cost
If you want to consider a Sunday, mid-week or off-season wedding, ask if there are discounts at those periods. Be sure to understand the payment schedule, and if there are any hidden or extra charges that are not listed in any of the contracts. Before leaving, request an event packet that will include costs, contracts, rules and regulations.

This contract stuff is important
Signing a site contract means that you’ve agreed to all the rules and conditions stipulated by the site. Make sure all specific details for your reception are written into the contracts before you sign. If it isn’t specifically addressed in writing, you can’t expect it to be covered.  If there is a service that you requested  that is outside of their normal service/contract,  jot it down on a separate sheet of paper entitled “Addendum to our Agreement”,  and have all parties sign it.  Chances are the person signing the contract is passing all this on to someone else who was not party to your discussions.  Now you have a scope of work everyone agreed upon.
Arriving Guests Initial View of the Reception Site
Wedding Guests Initial View of the Property
Wedding Reception Tent on Back Patio
Eureka! - Wedding Reception Tent on Back Patio

Write down your impressions
The Site Staff are key people in your decision.  Did they impress you with their ideas, friendliness, the handling of your questions?    Were they interested in putting you first  to create special memories that will last your lifetime.  The event staff should be fun to do business with at a well run venue.

If something does not feel right about the people or the site, give your self time to think about it.  Don’t be rushed.  Wait till you have visited all the sites prior to making a final decision.

Finalizing your decision
After you have visited all the sites,  the best site may already be obvious.  If it is still up in the air, sit down soon and write a list of the Pros and Cons of each site.  Study the answers provided to your prepared questions, and compare one site with the other.  When you decision is made, review contracts carefully to be sure you understand the language before signing on the dotted line. Most deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.  Should you decide to move your wedding date, facilities generally will not transfer the deposit to that date, so pay close attention to disclaimers, deposit requirements and payment schedules.

Now won’t that be great to have crossed off your To-Do List!    On to the next thing. . . . . . .

Anchor Century Mate with Cathedrial Windows
Anchor Century Mate with Cathedral Windows
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Pin Striped Satin Cloths by JOMAR on 60 Inch Square Tables
Good Luck,
Scott Woodruff        If you found this post helpful, please leave a comment below!

One thought on “Selecting an Outdoor Wedding Reception Site – Part II”

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