#3) Booking a venue
Once you have viewed and picked your venue there comes the daunting step of confirming the booking and paying a deposit! :O
Venue conditions – boring but very important!
Whenever you book a venue they are likely to give you a list of conditions along with a contract, if you are very lucky they will give you this before you confirm your booking – READ THIS CAREFULLY!
I first experienced this when we held our engagement party in a local sports club; clubs especially will have quite specific rules and conditions of use of the venue. I was surprised by some of them really, things I hadn’t really considered like which areas of the venue could and could not be used and what decorations we could and couldn’t use and where. As we are having our wedding reception in a club too there are similarly specific conditions of use.
One condition many venues, including churches and registry offices, have now is about confetti – many places totally disallow it, which I think is quite sad! I remember seeing boxes of paper confetti in our local shop as a little girl and thinking about when I was grown up ad people throwing all those pastel coloured hearts, stars and horseshoes over me.
One of my favourite childhood memories is of my little sister and I taking turns to stand under the big old cherry blossom tree in my granny’s garden, spinning around while the other one shook the tree to make the ‘confetti petals’ fall.
But! Many venues will not allow confetti at all now; some will only allow eco-friendly or natural confetti, which is fine by me! (Guess what I want to have??) Make sure guests are aware of this and do not bring confetti or expect it to be there on the day.
Other common conditions include things like; late licences’, completion of payment, use of areas, decorations, the timing of arrival and departure for all guests, parking etc. Some venues even have rules about the kinds of flowers that can and cannot be used! (Lilies are poisonous to some animals and stain; sap on peonies is harmful etc!)
These may somewhat shatter the pretty little dream you’ve had in your head about how your day will be – don’t let them! Be prepared for rules, don’t expect everything to be just as you imagine, remember what is one of the biggest days of your life is just another working day for the staff at the venue, they need to run as a business and businesses have rules!
My advice on conditions of hire for wedding venues;
· When possible ask to see the conditions of hire before confirming your booking, if not possible, ask some specific questions regarding your plans; i.e. ‘Do you have regulations on the types of decorations allowed?’
· Make sure that you keep the conditions in mind when dreaming about your big day to avoid disappointment, one venue I looked at disallowed peonies – my favourite flower! I would have been heartbroken if I’d booked it without knowing.
· Don’t try to negotiate on conditions, but do politely ask what they advise and what there couples have done – this will give you an idea of flexibility and compromise on conditions. (E.g. lilies can be used sometimes if the stamen is removed.)
· If there are strict rules on guest conduct etc make sure you politely let your guests know – you don’t want to be spending your day running after guests making sure you don’t get in trouble!