Tuesday, November 29, 2011
In order to increase the odds of a perfect honeymoon, you should seek out a travel agent that is very familiar with the honeymoon destination the travel agent finds for you. To find the best travel agent, you need to ask the right questions.
Before you find a travel agent to help you find you a perfect honeymoon location, you need first to identify the type of honeymoon locations that each of you would surely enjoy. Basically there are six type of honeymoon locations. Each of you should share your thoughts to each other what type of honeymoon location is acceptable. The six types of honeymoon locations are as follows: 1) A tropical resort hotel, 2) A beach resort, 3) A land ho adventure (i.e., cabin in the woods, ski trip, an estate house, etc.), 4) A romantic city destination, 5) An American Adventure (i.e., Disney World, Las Vegas, New England, etc.) and 6) A Honeymoon Cruise. Once you have identified the type of honeymoon locations that are acceptable to the both of you, you should find travel agents that specialize in these type of honeymoon you are looking for.
It is a good idea to talk to a few different travel agents, before deciding on one to go with. You want to find an agent who you feel can find you the best deal with the budget you have. Ideally you want to find agent who is a full time service agent and be sure you find a certified agent (an agent who has been to the destination themselves and can answer any question you have about the resort and has special relationships with travel suppliers). A certified agent can tell you first hand of what activities are available at the destination, make recommendations of sights to see and good places to eat and the best way to get around.
A good agent has good communication skills, they listen to the couple with what type of atmosphere the couple would like for their honeymoon destination. They shop around for the best deal for their client, touch base to tell them what they have found, and go back and search some more for even a better deal and once they come up with the best deal the agent goes really overboard in order to prepare the wedding couple with a map full of places to go and an itinerary laid out in great detail along with all that is needed for the honeymoon including passport, visas, medical requirements and needs, marriage certificate, local customs and holidays, and other pertinent information.
There are a number of agencies out there that don't go the extra mile to plan a wedding couples honeymoon, it's a one and done deal for them, they get a couple's budget, calls a place once, makes a reservation, and then moves on to the next client. They don't spend the time looking for cost savings for the couple. If the wedding couple can be a little flexible with their travel arrangements, at certain times of the day such as early mornings, lunchtimes, and in the late hours prices to book flights are often less, also savings occur for departing and returning for certain days of the week, points for travel miles can also help and certain resorts have dates for better deals. A good agent also knows where the better rooms are located and can check if there are any cancellations to get a better room. They also can get the word out that you are a honeymoon couple to help you get preferential treatment or be left with a gift basket from the destination or resort.
Before meeting with a travel agent, the wedding couple should have an idea of the dates they would like their honeymoon to be, know what budget they have for their honeymoon, have an idea of what type of honeymoon they want and whether any other guests that would be traveling along with them.
Questions a Travel Agent Should be Asking a Wedding Couple
1-What are your names, addresses, phone numbers, and other contact numbers to reach you?
2-What is the budget you are prepared to spend on your honeymoon?
3-What type of destination or what destinations are you considering for your honeymoon?
4-What dates are you considering for your honeymoon?
5-Besides yourselves are any other people coming with you on your honeymoon? how many people?
6-How many days do you plan on being on your honeymoon?
7-Are you planning to stay in one location or do some traveling on your honeymoon?
8-What are the have and have nots you are looking for a honeymoon location? (e.g., ceremony site, no children, not too hot, etc.)
9-What amenities are you looking for in a honeymoon location? (e.g., fine dining, health spa, water sports, shopping, etc.)
10-Are your travel dates and times flexible or rigid? (i.e., flexible for greater cost savings)
11-Who is the wedding couple's emergency contact person and phone number?
Questions for a Wedding Couple to Ask a Travel Agent for their Honeymoon
12-Get a business card if available, what is the name, address, phone number and contact information of the travel agency?
13-What is the travel agent's name and phone number?
14-How many years has the travel agency been in business? travel agent been booking honeymoons?
15-How many honeymoons has the travel agent book?
16-Is the travel agent a full time and full service agent or part time?
17-What type of honeymoons does the travel agency specialize in?
18-Is the travel agent a certified travel agent? (i.e., agent has been to the location themselves)
19-Does the travel agent have special relationships with travel suppliers? (i.e., get better deals)
20-How would the travel agent handle the situation if something went wrong? (e.g., flight cancellation, hurricane at location, traffic jam on the way to the airport, etc.)
21-If we don't like the location or setup of our room, can you get us a better location or better setup?
22-Are we sure to get the best destination at the best price within our budget?
23-What is the travel agent's communication style?
24-How long might it take for the travel agent to find a honeymoon location for us?
25-We are looking for a specific type of honeymoon destination, can you tell us and describe what type of places we might consider?
26-Can you provide any discounts or tell us about any points programs we might consider?
27-What are the agent's and agency fees for booking our honeymoon?
28-Can the agent provide pictures or brochures of any honeymoon destinations we are interested in?
29-Will the travel agency confirm all the bookings are in order a week before the honeymoon?
30-What are the travel agency's cancellation, change, and other policy's we need to know about?
31-What is accepted to pay for the honeymoon? (e.g., credit cards, debit cards, certified check, cash, Paypal. etc.)
Questions for Travel Agent At Booking of Honeymoon
32-Can you tell us all about the honeymoon destination?
33-What dates and times have you scheduled for our honeymoon?
34-What is the final cost?
35-Does the cost include the travel agent's and travel agency fees?
36-Does the cost include any hidden fees? taxes? transportation? taxes?
37-What other costs may we be subject to at the honeymoon destination? how much extra money should we bring?
38-Do you have pictures or brochures of the honeymoon destination you have found for us?
39-When are payments due and how do deposits work?
40-When would our honeymoon itinerary be ready?
Questions for Travel Agent After Booking of Honeymoon
41-What is our airline and travel itinerary for our honeymoon?
42-What is our accommodation itinerary for our honeymoon?
43-What is our transportation itinerary for our honeymoon?
44-Have you been to our honeymoon destination before, yourself?
45-What amenities doe the honeymoon destination provide? (i.e., spa, pool, beach, etc.)
46-What activities are available at this honeymoon destination? (i.e., sight seeing, shopping, water sports, fine dining, etc.)
47-What is the money currency at this destination and where and how do we exchange the currency?
48-Do we need a passport or visa? how do we get a passport or visa?
49-Do we need any medical shots? physicals? any other papers?
50-Do we need our marriage license? anything other?
51-Are there any local customs do we need to be aware of? any local holidays during our honeymoon?
52-Do we need any form of insurance? how do we get insurance?
53-Is there a contact person at the honeymoon destination?
54-Is there a doctor's address and number at the honeymoon destination? is there a pharmacy near our location?
55-Is there a map of the honeymoon location showing points of interest?
56-Is there any additional discounts available? for fine dining? any discounts from other sources such as off of websites?
57-When would check-in at our honeymoon destination be available?
58-Where at the hotel would the concierge be located?
59-What do we do if we don't like our room?
60-Will our booking be double checked a week before our honeymoon?
61-When should we expect to pick up our final tickets?
Once you have your honeymoon destination booked, check to see if the destination also has a website, look for discounts for auto, spas, fine dining, and local places of interest. Remember to tell the travel agent you are flexible on date and time and to look for ways to save you money. Be sure to find a travel agent that is looking out for you and you are comfortable dealing with, this includes in finding spacious seats on your airplane flight. Also check out travel agencies bureaus to see how the travel agency and agent you are dealing have no complaints about them. When you get to your honeymoon destination, utilize the concierge and front desk for any issues that should arise. Remember, to keep cool and even if you get upset, ask or complain in a nice manner, being polite sometimes leads to a nice upgrade.
Use the questions as a guide to prepare your interview questions, add, edit, or subtract your questions as you see fit? If your travel agent does a nice job creating a perfect honeymoon, take a nice photo with the two of you, so the travel agent can display on their wall to show others your honeymoon destination. An inexpensive nice gift from your honeymoon location is a nice gesture to drop off to your travel agent.
Make your honeymoon the most special time of your life! See you on the other side!
Friday, November 18, 2011
When you start out to look for a caterer, you should have an idea of the amount of wedding guests you will want to invite, you also need your targeted wedding date, and what your budget is for catering and what your budget is for other wedding categories, such as your wedding cake, reception facility, and rental services. You also should have an idea of what types of food you would like to serve at your wedding, but if you have no idea, many caterers can offer suggestions.
When you start out looking for caterers, before you meet with them in person, be sure they are available for the date of your wedding, can service the amount of guests you plan to have, and no higher than 25% of your budget, negotiations or adjustments or transferring money from another category can bring the price in line. Before signing a contract you should find 3 or 4 caterers to interview. Make sure the caterer is one that will be approved by your reception facility.
You can find caterers through wedding related websites, through upscale restaurants and hotels, asking around to family members and friends, through other wedding vendors, through yellow pages, and some are elsewhere in this blog. Upscale caterers can also be found through "The International Caterers Association" www.internationalcaterers.org and through "The National Association of Catering Executives" www.nace.net .
When you set up an interview meeting it's always wise to bring a friend, either a wedding planner, your maid of honor, your mother or father, a sister or brother, or a bridesmaid or a best friend. Your caterer costs will be determined by a number of factors; the number of wedding guests (you might include wedding vendors in addition), the number of courses, the food choices you will offer, the cost of ingredients, are their any rental needs that will add to the costs, the way the food is served (seated, buffet, or tray passed), the caterer's level of expertise and the amount of staff the caterer uses.
When choosing entrees for your wedding, being the wedding is an extra special occasion, the foods and presentation of foods should be foods that your wedding guests would rarely experience in their home. At most weddings, wedding couples provide three (if a big wedding four) entrees. The entrees being provided should be from different parts of the menu, for example, beef, pork, poultry, seafood, special type of pasta, international style of food. Also the meats and seafood should be prepared differently such as baked, grilled, fried, barbecued or casseroled. You don't want the foods to be similar to one another in order to accommodate a large range of tastes people have, increasing the chances of your guests enjoying their meal.
It is also important at weddings to have a delectable meal presentation of food on the plate, the meal besides tasting good, also must be eye appealing. Also with the meal, if it's in your budget it's a good idea to offer vegetables, and a starch and offer rolls or breads, soups and salads, fruit cups and sherbets. But if the budget is tight, the important thing is the entree and you can cut down on the extras.
The same situation goes with hors d'oeuvres served during cocktail hour. The hors d'oeuvres or appetizers should be food that are rarely ones served and eaten in your home. You should serve enough variety of foods so that your wedding guests will find a few that they like. For a wedding, you should try to avoid serving a messy hors d'oeuvre, ones that don't splatter a sauce, dressing, or grease on one's nice wedding dress, gown, or tuxedo. If the wedding is not so upscale, such as a beach or an outdoor wedding, this rule can be relaxed. Also make sure hors d'oeuvres are served with the proper small dishes, fancy napkins, cocktail forks, silverware teaspoon, or decorated toothpick.
When meeting with the caterer, find out what their specials and specialties are, and working within your budget, listen to the entrees they recommend, let them know your budget limitations and see if they can help you find a way to reduce costs. Ask for 3 referrals and when you talk to people that have tasted their food ask about what food they really liked prepared by the caterer, how was their service, how were they groomed and dressed, how was their communication skills and how they liked the presentation of food on their plate.
If you can, see the caterer in action, how they are organized, what is their process of serving food at a wedding or other event, try to get pictures of foods they have prepared, if it's food off of a website, is it one they made and prepared or is it just a picture from a photo shop. Also ask if they have a food presentation and/or a taste testing and if there is a taste testing, ask who can you bring along and what dates they have it, (usually it's on a day that is slower for the business) make a fun day out of the food tasting with a couple of close family or friends. Don't forget to pick up a price listing of entrees and hors d'oeuvres for you and your family to review before making your final decision.
Interview Questions for your Wedding Caterer
1-Get the caterer's business card, and if they have one a brochure also, also ask for the name of the catering company, the company's address, phone number, and website information.
2-Ask for the caterer's name and if their phone number is it's different from company phone number? is the caterer the main contact for the wedding?
3-Is the caterer available for our wedding date? if not can we able to change the date of the wedding? if not the interview is over?
4-How long has the caterer been in business?
5-How many weddings does the caterer work in a year? a month? a week? our wedding day?
6-Can the caterer handle the amount of wedding guests we plan to have at our wedding?
7-Might the caterer be providing services to other weddings or functions the day of our wedding?
8-How does the caterer like to communicate? phone? email? text messaging? other?
9-What types of foods does the caterer offer?
10-What is the caterers specialty dishes? signature dishes?
11-Does the caterer offer entrees in a number of price ranges?
12-Does the caterer provide a menu list and a sample menu that we can review?
13-How does the caterer determine their price for our wedding? based on price per person? based on price per plate? is it a fixed price?
14-What entrees does the caterer recommend for our price? identify three choices? (large weddings four)
15-Can the caterer be flexible working within our budget and offer suggestions to reduce the price if need be?
16-How involved is the caterer in the wedding reception? is the caterer involved more with preparation and outflow of food? is the caterer work more like a wedding coordinator or reception manager? adjust the food schedule? helping out with the wedding toast? helping with the cutting of the cake?, acting as emcee?
17-What does the caterer provide? tables? chairs? buffet tables? table linen? fine china and other plates and dishes? glasses? flatware? salt and pepper shakers? anything other?
18-Can we inspect any items that the caterer has available for the wedding?
19-Does the caterer rent any equipment? will we have to rent any equipment?
20-Does the caterer able to provide hors d'oeuvres or appetizers for the wedding? if so what hors d'oevres and appetizers does the caterer recommend? are servants available to offer hors d'oeuvres?
21-What foods that go along with the entree does the caterer recommend? what vegetables can the caterer include? what starch can the caterer include? can a salad be included? can a soup be included? can a fruit cup be included? can a sherbet be included? can bread and rolls be included? something other be included? do we have the option of not including extra food besides the entrees? (maybe just the vegetable)
22-Does the caterer include an option of a wedding cake? if there is an option to include a wedding cake, does the caterer bake and decorate the cake themselves? does someone on the outside bake and decorate the cake? can we bring our own wedding cake? are desserts an option? if so what desserts can be provided? can we bring our own desserts? can the caterer provide a groomsman cake?
23-Does the caterer provide coffee to the wedding? can the caterer provide coffee urns, or cups and saucers? does the caterer provide creams, sugars, fabric napkins and stirrers for the coffee? is there an option for a coffee bar? can we set up our own coffee bar?
24-What options are there to present the food? is sit down delivery available? is buffet available? is pass the tray around available?
25-When an entree is decided does the caterer provide a food presentation on the plate? can we see the presentation of the entree? are there photographs of prior food presentations provided?
26-Does the caterer offer a food tasting before we decide on what entrees to choose? when would the food tasting be available? who can we bring along on the food tasting? is there anything we have to pay or invited guests have to pay for the food tasting? are hors d'oeuvres sampling also done at the food tasting? how does the caterers food tasting session work?
27-Does the caterer carry a food license, liquor license, liability insurance?
28-Does or can the caterer provide bartenders? do we have a chance to interview them? can we bring our own bartenders? does the caterer handle condiments for the bar? can we purchase condiments (oranges, lemons, limes, marachino cherrys, olives, ice, salt, celery, etc.)
29-Does the caterer provide beverage glasses to serve alcohol? might we need to rent beverage glasses?
30-Does or can the caterer provide alcohol? if so, can we review the alcohol available? can the caterer provide wine and if so can review a wine list? is the wine list flexible? is there a corkage fee? can we provide our own alcohol and wine? can there be a specialty drink list for the wedding? does or can beer be
provided? kegs of beer, bottles, or cans? does or can the caterer provide champagne? can the caterer provide the toasting glasses and pour the champagne? what is the pricing for the drinks?
31-If the caterer handles the bar, what type of bar arrangements should there be? open bar? open bar with tickets fot two drinks? open bar except while dinner is being served? wedding guests pay for their own drinks? (not recommended, is uncouth for a wedding unless you are totally broke)
32-How are tips handled for the bartenders and the wait staff? (Note tips should not be allowed for a wedding and signs should be placed around stating that "tipping is not allowed")
33-Does the caterer handle all table settings? can the caterer set the tables with charger plates or place settings, place cards, and wedding favors?
34-If our wedding has a wedding theme or color scheme can the caterer get their hands on tableware according to our needs? might we need to get supplies from a rental company? would the caterer order supplies? would we have to find supplies ourselves?
35-What staff is needed for the size of our wedding? how many wait staff can the caterer provide? how many bartenders, wait staff, and busboys the caterer would recommend? might we have to find additional wait staff?
36-Would the caterer handle clean-up or do we need to hire a clean-up crew? what cleanup can be done? food and dishes? dismantling the chairs and tables? removing gifts and decorations?
37-How long would it take for the caterer set up and dismantle the wedding reception?
38-Are there any other wedding vendors that the caterer provides? does the caterer have any wedding vendors they recommend? is there any restrictions on wedding vendors we might bring?
39-What options are there to serve food to our wedding caterers? (officiants, wedding planners, djs, wedding musicians, photographers, videographers) should wedding entrees be provided to them? special meals provided to them? or should family bring food in? can we provide two drinks to them?
40-Are there any special meals that can be made for children or young adults?
41-Can the caterer provide meals for wedding guests with dietary restrictions? any special meals for vegetarians? can they provide a snack for the bride and groom? can a special family recipe be included?
42-Where is food prepared for our wedding? at the reception? near the reception? at the caterer's place of business? if food is prepared elsewhere, how long before the wedding does the food arrive? are some foods prepared at the reception?
43-Is all the food the caterer prepares is all of it fresh? is some food frozen? what foods are frozen?
44-Can we see pictures of all the foods the caterer can prepare? can we see pictures of the foods that we have chosen for our wedding?
45-What happens to leftovers from the wedding? can leftovers be taken home with some of the wedding guests? can leftovers such as a cake be dropped off at a nursing home or soup kitchen?
46-What would be the final price for the catering? does the price include everything? is anything missing? are we sure there are no hidden costs?
47-In the pricing, are overheads included such as rental services? does the price include linens? does the price include bartenders or beverages? does the price include wait staff? does the price include other wedding vendors? does the price include vegetables or extras on the plate? does the price include hors d'oeuvres? does the price include taxes? does the price include gratuities? are there other things included that we are missing?
48-In order to reserve the caterer for our wedding date, how far in advance must we book the caterer?
49-How much of a deposit is needed to the caterer and what date would it be needed by?
50-When would the final balance be due to the caterer?
51-When would the menu with the caterer need to be finalized?
52-When would the caterer need a final headcount and meals need to be chosen by our wedding guests?
53-What is the caterers cancellation policy?
54-Can we see a sample contract?
55-Can we get a full breakdown of all costs itemized for our wedding? can we take the contract with us to review it? how much time do we have to make a decision?
56-What is the caterer's cancellation policy?
57-Can we get three referrals from the caterer, name and phone number?
58-Is there anything we have forgotten to cover?
Make sure you get your three interviews in before deciding on which caterer to go with. You have the upper hand until you book the caterer, make sure you review everything on the contract in detail before you sign, and have your companion that came along with you be your second pair of eyes, all that was talked about is in the contract. Don't let the caterer bully you, try to make the decision after your food tasting with them. Once you book a caterer, let the other caters know you have booked with another caterer, leave a positive message back with the other caterers, you never know, things may happen and don't burn your bridges. If there is something that the caterer needs to work on, though do let them know. Let the caterers cancel your slot so they can book another wedding, you don't want to be the cause for a wedding not to be booked.
Use the interview questions as a guide to create your own list of questions, add or take off questions as you deem necessary. Be thick skinned, be thorough, there is a lot to review, don't be too nice, you want the best for your wedding, do a good job and all your family will be proud of you.
See you on the other side!
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
When you set up a meeting with a wedding reception facility, bring along an eye witness with you, this could be your wedding planner, maid of honor, father or mother, sister or brother, or a bridesmaid or a close friend. You should try to meet with about 3 or 4 reception facilities before deciding on one. Also the wedding reception facility ideally is within fifteen minutes travel from your ceremony site, but no more than thirty minutes travel. The only exception to this rule if the reception facility place is really exceptional, like a resort and if it's a good drive you should consider some party buses or trolleys to get to it.
Before you meet with a wedding manager or wedding coordinator of a wedding reception facility, us should know what your ballpark budget is for the facility, you should know your target wedding date, and you should have a general idea of the amount of wedding guests you plan to have for your wedding. You also should have in the back of your head if you plan to have a wedding theme and/or color scheme for your wedding.
When you ask the question, how many people the space can hold, make sure you get an answer back that covers spaces for your wedding vendors, such as djs, wedding musicians, and a dance floor and also includes a space for a table for your wedding cake, gift tables, and other tables that you plan to have such as a coffee bar, candy buffet bar, etc.
You need to understand in detail of all the fees, administrative fees, setup fees, food and beverage fees, bartender fees, wait staff fees, valet fees, attendant fees, overtime fees, taxes, and gratuities. Make sure you understand all costs that you will and might incur and make sure there are no surprises. One thing you might really question with a wedding reception facility, can you bring your own bartender and alcohol for the wedding, if you can, very often you can save significant dollars, maybe half or more of what the wedding reception charges.
Check hotels and upscale restaurants or wedding vendors or wedding directories, or ask family or friends for a good bartender, wedding guests expect a top of the line bartender for a wedding and a top of the line bartender means one with a lot of experience. One that knows how to make alcoholic drinks to perfection. You can save a bundle on picking up liquor at a liquor store instead of letting a facility order the liquor. Also, much of the liquor can be returned if not opened or if partly used, make arrangements to provide left over liquor to a special relative. If the wedding reception facility has in house or orders alcoholic drinks for your wedding make sure you go through the list thoroughly to understand what drinks you are allowed to have for your wedding.
Some wedding reception facilities have in-house wedding vendors and require that you must use their "approved" vendors, because they have strict contracts with them. Using approved vendors is not all bad, for often for a vendor that's been approved, in order to get on a list that have shown superior service in the past. If you want a specific wedding vendor, ask the wedding reception facility if you can bring your own, if they aren't on the approved list, ask the venue, how your vendor can get on their list. You never know, you might help a vendor you want get their foot in the door of a valuable venue and help them to expand their business.
Some vendors that reception facilities might have a contract with being on an "approved" list include cake bakeries, florists, event decorators, entertainment companies, musicians, djs, photographers, and videographers. Some wedding venues also have permanent fixtures, such as nautical signs or business displays. You also may have to live with the color of their carpet, color of the wall and pictures on the wall. They may or may not allow special lighting, hanging fabrics, open flames, or other decorative choices.
It's a good idea to have a wedding manager or wedding coordinator that's a good communicator and that you are comfortable working with. You should fully understand exactly what you get for booking with the wedding reception facility, which spaces are under your control such as bathroom facilities, cocktail areas, patio spaces, and coatroom places. Be sure to fully review the contract and have your invited guest looks over the contract too and are a second set of eyes and is your eye witness. Review the reception's website and have the information with you when you are on your interview meeting.
Interview Questions for your Wedding Reception Facility
1-Get a brochure of the wedding reception facility, also get a business card, if not take the name, address, phone number, other contact information such as email or website address?
2-What is the name and phone number and email address of the contact person of the wedding reception facility? is this the same person you will coordinate the wedding with? if not get the contact information of that person as well?
3-Is the wedding reception facility available for your targeted wedding date? if not are you willing to change the wedding date that they can accommodate? if not the interview is over?
4-How many wedding guests can the wedding reception facility accommodate? (be sure to include the space needed for wedding vendors, wedding musicians, djs, dance floor, table for the wedding cake, table for wedding gifts, buffet tables for desserts, candy bar buffets, coffee bars, etc.)
5-How long has the wedding reception facility in business? how many wedding do they handle a year? a month? a week? on our targeted wedding day?
6-Does the wedding reception facility have all the necessary licenses, health permits and insurance?
7-Does the wedding reception offer their own catering? have an approved list of caterers? are we allowed to bring our own caterer?
8-If the wedding reception has their own catering, what type of food do they offer?
9-How is the wedding reception's kitchen setup, what equipment does it have? (stoves, refrigeration, storage, prep tables, sinks, preparation equipment, etc.)
10-Does the wedding reception facility include food consultations/food tastings? if so how do the food appointments work? who is allowed to come? are there fees for the tastings? (the dates and times)
11-How much staff does the wedding reception facility need for our wedding? do they need to hire additional staff for our wedding? what is their staff to wedding guest ratio? how much experience does each of them have?
12-What is the wedding reception facility dress code for the wedding? formal? casual? can we special order color schemed outfits for the staff for the wedding?
13-Do we have an option either a sit down dinner or buffet style seating? if buffet, are servers provided or will it be self served? is there an extra charge for buffet servers?
14-Does the wedding reception facility have a liquor license?
15-Are there any restrictions on liquor being served? what liquor can be served? what type of bar arrangements can there be? can specialty drinks be an option? is wine and beer only be an option? can non-alcohol be an option?
16-Does the wedding reception facility have their own bartender? do they used approved bartenders? can we hire our own bartender for the wedding?
17-Does the wedding reception facility supply their own alcohol? does the reception provide their own wine?beer? champagne? can we bring our own alcohol to the wedding? can we bring our own wine to the wedding? can we bring our own champagne to the wedding?
18-Who supports and prepares the bar with condiments? (ice, sliced fruits, olives, water, drink decorations, soda, bar glasses, drink toothpicks and straws, etc) working with the bartender, can we supply the condiments? does the bar have all the bar glasses needed? must bar glasses need to be rented?
19-How are tips handled at the wedding reception facility for bartenders and wait staff? (the rule at weddings, there should be no tipping allowed and a sign should state the fact in strategic places)
20-Does the wedding reception facility have a wedding cake table away from the wall? (for good picture taking purposes) is there a decorated cake knife available for cutting the cake? is there a cake cutting service provided? will it be part of a basic package? is there a champagne toasting service?
21-Is there a patio or veranda with views available at the wedding reception facility? are we allowed to use it?
22-Is there a ceremony site on premise would we like to use it?
23-What are the setup and breakdown arrangements at the wedding reception facility?
24-What total staffing is provided by the facility? (administrators, coordinators, managers, bartenders, wait staff, busboys, attendants, valets, other), what additional staff will be needed?
25-How long can a wedding reception be? is there a limitation on the hours? does it have to be finished at a certain time? is there a time the wedding reception must be closed? is there a noise restriction at the wedding facility? are there any restrictions?
26-Are there any other weddings happening the day of our wedding at the facility? during our wedding? before our wedding? after our wedding? are any other weddings causing restrictions?
27-How much parking is available for our wedding guests? how far must our wedding guests walk? is security needed? is there a fee for security? is valet services needed? is there a fee for valet? is there a bus stop, train depot, shuttle stop nearby? is there a charge for parking? is there an attendant needed? is there a fee for attendants? (wedding guests should not pay any fees what so ever, if there are fees the wedding couple should cover them beforehand, no tipping is allowed either, signs should be strategically placed stating no tipping allowed)
28-Is there a seating plan template available for the wedding reception facility, may we use it?
29-Does the wedding reception facility offer a wedding cake? if so what size (how many people)? can we see pictures of wedding cakes offered? can we design the wedding cake? can we bring our own wedding cake?
30-Does the wedding reception facility provide flowers or a decorator? can we decorate using a florist, event planner, or decorator? what are the restrictions on decorating? are there pictures of centerpieces that can be allowed? are open flames allowed? is Christmas lighting allowed? are flood light decorations allowed? are hanging fabrics allowed? are we allowed to design and bring in our own centerpieces?
31-How much setup time does the wedding reception facility allow? (night before, early in the morning. 2 hours before the reception)
32-What are the table and chair options for the facility? can we see them? might we need to rent more?
33-What linen options are there for the wedding reception? what colors are available? can we rent our own linens? might we need to rent more?
34-What are our china, dish, flatware, glassware options for the facility? can we see them? might we need to rent more?
35-What cups and saucers are available to serve coffee? what dessert dishes are available? what additional table needs are available (sugars, salt and pepper, butter plates, etc.
36-What additional buffet tables are needed? (coffee, dessert buffets, candy buffet bars, chocolate fountain, ice sculpture, etc.)
37-What are the options for a head (dais) table? will a special table or raised platform be needed?
38-What serving and preparation equipment is available? will we need more equipment, serving bowls, chafing dishes, serving utensils? (note: many of the serving equipment might not be known until after meeting with the caterer, it's a good idea to know though what the wedding reception facility has available if needed and what may need to be rented)
39-Does the wedding reception facility have and require you to use their own photographers? is there a pool of photographers to choose from? are the photographer from an "approved" list? can we bring our own?
40-Does the wedding reception facility have and require you to use their own videographers? is there a pool of videographers to choose from? are the videographers from an "approved" list? can we bring our own?
41-Does the wedding reception facility have and require you to use their own dj? are there djs to choose from? are djs from an "appoved" list? can we bring our own?
42-Does the wedding reception facility have and require you to use their own wedding musicians? are the wedding musicians from an "approved" list? can we bring our own?
43-Is there a good location for the dj to be setup? is there a good place for wedding musicians to be set up? how many musicians can the wedding reception facility handle? are dance bands and string quartets allowed at the facility? are there any types of wedding musicans allowed? is there a place for electrical outlets or additional ampage if wedding musicians need it? how many electrical outlets are available? is a sound engineer or an electrician available? how far in advance can djs and wedding musicians can start setting up before the wedding?
44-Where would the lighting controls be for the wedding reception facility? can we add flood lights or any special lighting? is there an electrician available?
45-Is there a dance floor available? how much square footage does it cover? can we bring our own dance floor?
46-Does the wedding reception facility have a list of recommended wedding vendors? may we use them still if we don't book with you?
47-Are there any other wedding vendors or services that have not been mentioned?
48-Is there a changing room for the bride? for other members of the bridal party?
49-How many restrooms are there? what are their condition?
50-Are there pictures of other weddings that we can take a look at?
51-Are there picturesque locations for photo ops? inside? outside?
52-Is there an outdoor location for wedding guests to talk with less noise? what about an inside location to talk with less noise?
53-Is smoking allowed at the wedding reception facility, if not is there a smoking area at the facility?
54-Is there a special location for a cocktail hour before the wedding? what hors d'oeuvres are allowed to be served? (may not know until meeting with caterer) what drinks are allowed in the cocktail area? what seating is allowed in the cocktail area? (high tables with stools? may need comfortable seating for seniors who may have a need to get off their feet)
55-Does the facility have a space for a receiving line? table and location for a wedding guest book sign-in? a place for a slideshow? a location for a photo booth and a prop table? a table to setup place cards? a table to place growing up pictures?
56-Is there, can there be a cloak room?
57-Does the wedding reception facility have heating? what type of heat? air conditioning? do we have control of the thermostat? are there fees for control?
58-Does the facility have/offer audio/visual equipment?
59-Can we get a walk-thru of the entire wedding reception facility that we have control during the wedding? (include kitchen, reception area, cocktail area, hall spaces, outdoor spaces, bathrooms, etc.) (take pictures if you are allowed to show family)
60-Can we stop by and see the facility right before it's used for another wedding to review spacing and for decoration ideas?
61-Is there a special plan to feed wedding guest children?
62-Is there a special plan to feed wedding vendors? (photographers, djs, musicians, officiants, etc)
63-Can the facility provide special meals for wedding guests on a restrictive diet?
64-Is the wedding reception facility setup to handle handicapped individuals?
65-If rentals are required does the wedding reception facility have a rental service company they recommend?
66-Any special things needed to be done for a dance band?
67-Are there wedding packages available? what are they? are they optional or required?
68-Can we get a breakdown of all fees? include food and liquor? every fee in detail? includes taxes? includes gratuities? includes potential overtime fees? includes cleanup? who cleans up? what time must the event be cleared? have we counted for all wedding vendors "approved" by the wedding reception facility?
69-Might there be hidden fees? what might they be?
70-How soon must we book to lock in our wedding date? how far in advance does the wedding facility book in advance for weddings?
71-If there is a bridal suite accommodation room, ask is a bridal suite included in the package?
72-If accommodations, are there discounts available to our wedding guests? how much are the rooms? what times are the rooms available to us and our guests?
73-When would the deposit be required to reserve the room? when would be the final deposit due? what name should the check be made out to? how much of a deposit is due? how much would the final deposit be? how would overtime be handled check wise?
74-Are we sure every expense has been covered? any additional charges not mentioned?
75-Can we review the contract and take it with us?
76-Do you have three referrals we can contact? (contact at least two, check communication, service, and timeliness)
Questions to ask yourselves?
77-Is the facility have a charming atmosphere, with lots of beauty, has great food and drinks available and can you create a romantic wedding atmosphere?
78-How were the communication skills of the wedding manager or wedding coordinator? is the person someone you feel would be comfortable dealing with?
79-How far from the bride's home?
80-How far from the wedding ceremony site?
81-How far from wedding guest's hotels?
82-Can the venue handle comfortably the amount of wedding guests? (You don't want the venue to be too crowded or too empty, the atmosphere needs to be perfect)
83-Can you decorate the facility in the way you would like?
84-Can the wedding facility handle the music you want?
85-Does the wedding reception facility within your budget (if the wedding reception offers a number of services such as wedding cake, catering, photographers, musicians, don't forget to bundle services in your budget)
86-Are there any restrictions that might cause a problem?
The questions are a starting point, use them to aid you, make adjustments to your interview questions list, add other questions if they aren't being covered or subtract ones that don't apply to your situation. If you have trouble deciding over a number of wedding reception facilities, you might want to score them, a post was written about scoring wedding venues a number of posts back. Don't let the wedding venue force your decision, review all wedding reception facilities you want to interview before making your final decision. A discount offered for today only, will likely still be there for about a week.
Review the contract thoroughly, make sure everything verbally agreed to is covered and don't forget to bring someone along to help you out and to serve as a witness. If there is food tasting, take advantage of the food tasting and make a party out of it and invite along close friends if allowed. Once you make a final decision on what wedding reception facility you are going to go with, after you book, contact the others to let them know of your decision. (you don't want to cause the venue to lose an opportunity to book another wedding slotted just for you).
Hope the questions are of help, have a wonderful wedding!
See you on the other side!
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Since the turn of the new century, weddings have exploded for "on-locations" outside a house of worship, as a matter of fact wedding ceremonies have increased almost tenfold at other locations than houses of worship. Many weddings that are mixed religion and culture marriages are often held at ceremony sites that are not churches. Many ceremony venues have erected elaborate gazebos and attractive arches to lure couples to have their wedding at their pretty venue.
26 Location Ideas for a Ceremony Site
1.Art Galleries and Unique Businesses (Untapped resource of architectural prowess).
2.Bed & Breakfast (Some b&b's are designed specifically for small weddings).
3.Botanical Garden (Warm breezes and fragrant aromas puts romance in the air).
4.Cathedral Style Churches (Impressive photographing for large weddings).
5.Churches/Mosques/Synagogues/Temples (Venue according to your place of worship).
6.Empty Office/Warehouse (Makes a unique location and in which you can really decorate).
7.Family Member's House or Yard (Personal touch and down home feel).
8.Golf Club/Country Club (Upscale venue offering beautiful greenery with fancy reception).
9.Government Buildings (Save on deco with venue offering architectural wonders).
10.Hotels & Resorts (Venue where ceremony, reception and accommodations all in one and offers you service bundling).
11.Museums (Provides distinctive backdrops for ceremonies).
12.National Monuments (Incorporate historical significance into the affair).
13.Natural Wonders (Say "I Do" from a waterfall, cliff, or mountain top).
14.Picturesque Parks (During temperate months and save on decor and less expensive than most venues).
15.Private Estate or Mansion (Have ceremony and reception in opulent elegance).
16.Retreats/Classroom Centers (Often empty on weekends and some are really beautiful).
17.Rivers/Lakes/Beaches (Hold ceremony on banks of the water).
18.Romantic Island (Consider a romantic destination wedding if you have the money).
19.Roof Deck or Roof Top (On one of the tallest buildings offers a stunning view).
20.Rustic Barns/Farms/Open Fields (Reduced cost with scenic beauty).
21.Upscale Restaurants/Banquet Halls (Some offer areas for wedding ceremonies).
22.Wedding Chapels (For small romantic weddings).
23.Wedding Tents (On a spacious lot with beautiful scenery)
24.Wineries (Usually are at beautiful scenic locations with plenty of space and offers a cheaper alcohol bill)
25.Yachts and Riverboats (How bout a romantic wedding on the water).
26.Zoos & Aquariums (A unique attraction becomes a memorable experience).
Some other things to note for a ceremony site, many of the elaborate wedding venues are booked far in advance so you must book early, could be one year in advance of the wedding, a really elaborate place you might have to book two years in advance, also book far in advance if you are booking for a holiday period. You want the ceremony size to fit to the size of your wedding party size, if your wedding party is smaller in size to fit the wedding site, you might think about finding someone who is getting married the same day, and have multiple weddings and use a partition to separate the different parties. Try to be a little open minded in search of an elaborate wedding venue, let them pick the days of available dates, and choose a date that suits you and that is not too harsh on your budget.
Your interview questions should cover your availability of the wedding date, the number of guests, cost, if there a reception place and how is catering handled, the atmosphere of the location, how much time is allowed, decoration possibilities and restrictions, what other restrictions are imposed such as for alcohol, walking and parking from and to the venue, picture taking restrictions, and other things you want such as candles and ice sculptures, and what type of music restrictions there are.
You also might consider having your wedding during the venue's off season and a different day of the week than a Saturday. If the wedding is on a weekend you might save money by having your wedding on a Friday or a Sunday. However, you do tend to get less RSVP cancellations if the wedding is on a Saturday. A Monday through Thursday wedding is great for a small wedding as prices are really discounted as you won't get as many wedding guests that will have to miss work.
One last thing to note, after you have gone through much of the interview, make sure you take a tour of the wedding ceremony and wedding reception facility, note the beauty factor, what amenities and equipment are provided by the venue, what color are the on-site spaces that decorations that you will have to match to, what would be the traffic patterns for a wedding. Also notice outdoor areas, are there areas where children may be attracted to such as a watering hole, and do the grounds have no holes where seniors can fall or ladies sink their high heels into and there are no branches ready to fall on a gusty windy day. Take videos and pictures of the place to show your family who is helping with your wedding expenses to gain their blessing. Check out the wedding venues website too.
Make sure you have a ballpark idea of your targeted wedding date, have an idea if the wedding date is flexible, also know about how many wedding guests you intend to invite, also you should have an idea of your wedding budget broken down into wedding categories. (some wedding ceremony venues can bundle some of your wedding services, allowing you more money to consider booking their site). Also you might bring along your color scheme or wedding theme to show, that's if you got to wedding ideas yet, it's not that important to have wedding decoration ideas early on, but keep in mind you may have to live with the carpet and wall colors of any venues you choose.
Interview Questions for a Ceremony Site
1-Get a business card or a brochure of the ceremony site if you can or ask for and take note of the ceremony site name, address, phone number, and website address?
2-Who would be the main contact person for the wedding site and what is the name of that person and their phone number and email address?
3-Is there a wedding coordinator for the ceremony site? is this person the same person as the main contact? can we bring our own wedding coordinator? can we bring a day of wedding coordinator? make sure you get the name and phone number and email address of any person involved in wedding planning.
4-Is the available for our targeted wedding day? if not what days are the ceremony site available?
5-When is the busy wedding season for the ceremony site? are there price differences during the busy season for other times when the ceremony site is out of season? what are the prices of the different seasons?
6-How many wedding guests can the wedding ceremony site hold?
7-What days of the week does the wedding site hold weddings and at what times? may we be having a wedding the same time as another, or if there is a wedding before or after, how much time is required between weddings?
8-What time do you generally have evening weddings? what time do you have brunch weddings? (please note - if you have a beach wedding, it is generally advised to have a sunrise or sunset wedding in hot locations - else wedding guests may be impacted by the heat of the day and not focused on the wedding ceremony).
9-Are any events going on at the ceremony site, during, before, or after our wedding?
10-Does the venue hold a license to carry out weddings?
11-Does the venue offer officiants that do weddings at the ceremony site? if yes, are we allowed to interview them? are we allowed to bring our own officiants?
12-Are their different wedding packages offered by the ceremony site? what are the different packages?
13-If there is one, what are all the services that the wedding coordinator or wedding planner provide? what services are not included?
14-What backup plans are there, should any wedding vendors assigned to us get sick, what about wedding venues? what would be the backup plans for inclement weather?
15-What is the best way to communicate with the venue and the wedding coordinator; phone, email, text messaging or something other? how long might it take for a message to be returned? how long will it take for a person to be reached? will they get back to us quickly if a situation should arise?
16-How far in advance of the wedding does the venue need to be reserved?
17-What color works best for the wedding ceremony site? is some decor provided? what is it? can we include our own decorations? are there any decoration restrictions?
18-Are there any restrictions on flowers, candles, fabric hangs, lighting, or Christmas lighting to be used at the venue? Can we bring flowers or other decorations?
19-Is the venue wheelchair accessible? if not, are there many stairs to climb? are there any elevators?
20-What are the parking arrangements for the ceremony site? is much walking required? are valets possibly needed? how far away is parking? are there any fees for parking? is there an accessible bus stop or train stop or shuttle nearby?
21-Is there a dressing room for the bride and groom to change and get ready and relax? a holding room for the bridal party? any special rooms for wedding vendors? how far is the dressing room to the ceremony?
22-Is there a space in the ceremony site where bands, wedding musicians, and djs can play wedding ceremonial music for processions, etc.
23-Are there power strips/supplies for the bands, wedding musicians, and dj's can use? is there a music engineer on premise? how are the acoustics for the ceremony locations? could stronger speakers and ampage be needed?
24-Does the ceremony site have their own photographer? are we required to use your photographer? can we bring our own photographer? are there any photography restrictions? where can they shoot photographs during the wedding ceremony? are there restrictions of flash photography?
25-Does the ceremony site have their own videographer? are we required to use your vidographer? can we bring our own videographer? are there any videography restrictions? where can they shoot videography during the wedding ceremony?
26-Does the venue have enough chairs for the amount of our wedding guests or might some be needed to be rented? how comfortable are the chairs? does the ceremony have decorative chair covers? can we rent some?
27-What is the maximum capacity of the wedding venue?
28-Can any tents be used at the venue? does the wedding venue have any tents of their own? can we see a picture of what they look like? can we bring a wedding tent if we should choose?
29-What supplies does the wedding ceremony site provide? chairs? tables? any decorations? aisle cloths or runners? huppahs? altars? gazebos? arches? pew bows or chair decorations? lighting for trees? planters? guest book tables? other?
30-Are there any supplies or decorations not permitted?
31-Are there any restrictions for the ceremony site? time to be vacated? noise restrictions? any places wedding guests or wedding party cannot go? are the grounds secure?
32-Are wedding confetti, rice, birdseed, wedding bubbles, flower petals, and wedding sparklers be allowed to be thrown or used at the wedding ceremony?
33-Is there a wedding reception facility at the ceremony site? (if no skip questions 34 - 53).
34-Does the wedding reception location include a caterer? if so do the caterers have to be on the wedding venues approved list of authorized caterers? if so can we interview them? are we allowed to bring our own caterer? if no, is there a process out caterer can go through to get on your approved list?
35-What wedding vendors does the wedding reception employ? caterers? wedding cake bakers and dessert bakers? florists? decorators? bartenders? wedding musicians, djs? emcees? wait staff? does the wedding reception include a bar area? any special buffet tables such as a candy buffet bar? coffee bar? chocolate fountain? coatroom attendant? other?
36-If the reception has a caterer, Does the caterer offer a food tasting session? what food choices in general are there? Is there a brochure to review for each caterer?
37-What supplies are provided by the wedding reception venue? tables? chairs? buffet tables? what type of dishes? what type of glasses? flatware? linens? choice of colors for linens? colored napkins that match the linens?chair covers? cup and coffee saucers? adornments for the tables? (i.e. salt and pepper shakers, butter plates, etc.) any other? any supplies not provided?
38-What does the wedding reception kitchen include? stove? how many? refrigerator? how many? what preparation equipment, how many preparation tables? how much square footage and counter space? what equipment is not provided? anything we might need to know?
39-Is there anything you can think of that will need to be rented?
40-Are there table centerpieces offered to decorate the reception tables? can we bring in a decorator? can we design a table centerpiece and review the design with the wedding reception facility?
41-Are fabrics or floodlights allowed to be used in the wedding reception area?
42-With the amount of wedding guests what wait staff, bartenders, and bus boys, and cleanup crews will be needed?
43-Does the wedding venue offer a seating plan template that can aid us in seating arrangements? is there a seating arrangement recommended for the amount of our wedding guests we are planning?
44-If we are allowed our own musicians, where would they be positioned? is there a dance floor? are there music restrictions? is there an onsite sound engineer?
45-Is a wedding cake table available away from a wall for picture taking? is there a table for the gathering of wedding gifts?
46-Is there a space for a receiving line? is there a space and a table for a guest book sign in?
47-Are photo booths and props associated be allowed?
48-Would a slide show setup be allowed?
49-Is there an area where we can have a cocktail hour and alcoholic drinks and hot hors d'oeuvres be served?
50-Are there pictures of other weddings that have occurred at the ceremony site and wedding reception site?
51-Can we get a walk through of the wedding ceremony site and wedding reception site as well as the kitchen and any areas that would be part of the booking contract?
52-Is the ceremony site and wedding reception site booked as one package or booked separately?
53-What would be the charge for each site or for them together?
54-Are any wedding packages available? do we have a choice of wedding packages?
55-Are there any hidden fees that we need to know about? what's included? are taxes included? are gratuities included? what's not included?
56-Are there any programs that could provide us with a further discount?
57-How far in advance must we book to get the wedding venue reserved?
58-When would a deposit be required after we book and would the deposit reserve both the ceremony site and wedding reception location?
59-When would additional payments be required and the final payment be due?
60-What forms of payments does the wedding venue accept? cash? check? personal check? money order? credit card and debit card? Paypal? other?
61-Can we get a copy of the contract and take it with us for review?
62-Are there wedding vendors that the wedding venue highly recommends that we may consider using?
63-Can we get three referrals of the wedding venues?
Use the interview questions to build a basis for your wedding personal interview questions to ask the wedding coordinator or manager of the ceremony site and if they have one their wedding reception location too. Make sure you have a good wedding coordinator to deal with too in your evaluation of the wedding venue? A beautiful venue with a bad coordinator can ruin your wedding. If you become unhappy with your wedding coordinator's service, nicely ask if the venue has another wedding coordinator you can work with, it's nothing personal you are looking for a wedding to be the best it can be. If you are deciding among a number of ceremony sites you might score them if you can't decide, a post about scoring a wedding venue is about four posts earlier.
Always bring a partner along with you to review the contract and have eyes and ears along with you whether it be a personal wedding planner or coordinator. It can also be your fiance, your maid of honor, your mother or father, brother or sister, a good friend or one of the bridesmaid. A contract for a ceremony complex can be very complex with a lot of things to go over, make sure the contract is reviewed thoroughly before signing on the dotted line. You should always check out a few different venues before deciding on one, don't get coerced into signing. If a special deal is offered, it is more than likely going to still be available a week later. Once you decide to book with a wedding venue, let the other wedding venues know you have decided on another venue so they can book that slot to another. If they ask you why you did not book with them, tell them you liked their venue but just got a better deal, leave them with positive feedback and a good rapport, in the event something happens with your other deal and you find yourself coming back to them. Only give them negative news if something in your interview was really amiss and the venue can improve upon a service.
See you on the other side!
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
You first must ask yourself, what size wedding do you want and what you can afford. Do you want your wedding ceremony to be small, medium, large, or cathedral type? You should focus on finding a church that will fit the size of your wedding guest congregation. You can search for churches of your faith in a number of places; wedding directories, recommendations from friends and family, ask questions to the church you belong, also yellow pages, and Google searches. If it's not a church you are really familiar with, you best interview 3 or 4 churches.
There are some things to look for as you perform your church interview. Is the church available, the date you want your wedding? Can the church handle the amount of wedding guests you would like to invite? Does the church hold a believe system similar to yours, what you consider normal and not weird? Also does the church hold the charm you are looking for and would your wedding guests be comfortable out? Does and will the church allow amenities that you are looking for? Also is the staff of the church approachable, honest, and helpful and do the churches congregation appear to be honest, trustworthy, and helpful?
Also to consider is the pricing and to be aware of other fees associated with weddings. The church you grow up in, the church may give you a break on the price of renting the church, the bigger the church, the more the rental fee cost. The large and very large churches often are over priced for what they ask for for weddings, history shows even some of your wedding guests end up joining the church that you got married in because they saw how beautiful the church was.
To find the church that is right for your wedding, review the questions below to help you prepare an interview questionaire to find the right church for you. If you have multiple churches and can't decide which church to choose you might score the church, a blog on how to score a venue is three posts back. Now for the questions to ask.
Interview Questions for a Church
1-Ask for a business card or brochure that has information about the church, if none are available, ask for the name of the church, the church denomination, the street address, an email address, and website address of the church?
2-Who would be the church administrator or wedding coordinator for the church, the person's name, phone number, and email address? if that person has a business card, get their card in addition.
3-Is the church available for our targeted wedding date and time?
4-How does the communication interaction work with this church?
5-How long do we have control of the church wedding ceremony?
6-How many people can this church accommodate?
7-Is the church allowed to perform religious, secular, and civil wedding ceremonies?
8-How many years has this church been in operation?
9-How many weddings does this church perform in a typical year?
10-What days and times is the church available for weddings?
11-Does the church insist on the wedding couple using one of their officiants or can the couple bring their own officiant?
12-What staff does the church employ and what staff is available for the wedding?
13-Is the church open to the proceedings of the wedding ceremony or is the church very restrictive?
14-Does the church provide a wedding ceremony format(s) to review?
15-Does the church offer any amenities that goes along with the wedding? candles and candle holders? candelabras? aisle runners? pew bows? anything other? are they included free or are there additional costs?
16-Are candles allowed in the church?
17-Are personal aisle clothes or runners allowed?
18-Are there any restrictions on decorating the church? can we decorate the church in which we like? if we are allowed to decorate the church, how much time do we have before the wedding to decorate?
19-Are flowers and floral arrangements allowed to decorate the church? if they are allowed can the wedding coordinator let us know if we can possibly split decorations with other weddings the church has for the day, if the church has multiple weddings?
20-Is rice, confetti, floral petals, wedding sparklers allowed for the wedding celebration?
21-Does the church allowing a receiving line after the wedding?
22-Does the church have a wedding guest table or are we allowed to bring one?
23-Are we allow to prepare a wedding program or must we use a program provided by the church?
24-Does the church employ a church organist and a choir and if there is do we have the option of using them or not?
25-Are we allowed to bring our own photographers and videographers and do they have full access to the wedding ceremony or are they restricted? is flash photography allowed at the wedding ceremony?
26-Are there any music restrictions? what type of wedding musicians allowed in this church? where would musicians be located in the ceremony? is there a holding room or location for them? is there a sound engineer to help them get set up?
27-What are the parking arrangements for the church? how many cars can park? is there a place to park if there is a parking overflow? would any police or security or valets be needed for parking purposes?
28-What church officials need to be talked to regarding our wedding and what would be their names, functions, and phone numbers?
29-Are interfaith weddings allowed and how might they be setup in this church?
30-Does the church have a reception hall that goes along with this church? if it does, what is provided with the reception hall? a caterer? a wedding cake and dessert baker? a florist and decorator? a bartender? a bar? a wait staff? a cleanup crew? handle special lighting? is music allowed? dancing allowed? a dj allowed? wedding musicians allowed? how many wedding guests can the wedding reception handle? can we control the wedding reception facility ourselves? decorate it the way we want? does it have all the chairs and tables and equipment needed or do we need to make arrangements to rent it? does it have all the linens, plates and glasses needed?
31-Does the reception hall have a kitchen and what is provided in it? stoves? refrigeration? storage areas? food preparation tables and equipment?
32-How much time is there between weddings?
33-Does the church have a bridal dressing room and is there a holding room for the bridal party?
34-How much time before the wedding must the bride, groom, and bridal party arrive?
35-Can the church be used for a wedding rehearsal? is it part of the fee of the wedding ceremony? is there a restrictive time for the wedding ceremony?
36-What fees are there to rent the church and what do the fees covered?
37-What other fees are there such as, a separate fee for the officiant? janitors? organist? choirs? wedding musicians? altar boys? ushers? housekeeper? church staff? other?
38-How far in advance of the wedding does the church need to be booked for the ceremony?
39-Is there a church package available?
40-When is final payment required for the church rental?
41-Is there a church form that needs to be filled out by the wedding couple? can we take a copy to look over?
42-Can we see pictures of the church for a wedding, can we see a video of a wedding ceremony? can we stop by to see another wedding live?
43-Can we clean out the wedding ourselves or must we use the church janitor or cleaning crew?
44-Can we get three referrals of prior wedding couples?
When searching for a wedding chapel here are some tips on what questions to ask a wedding chapel manager of wedding chapel coordinator and also questions to ask yourself. There are many wedding chapels around, some are very romantic and some are very vanilla, don't even have electricity. Many show beautiful weddings and scenery in the pictures. The thing that is important to having a chapel wedding is to check the chapel out in person first. Many wedding chapels treat you like a number, get you in and out of the wedding so you don't feel like you really got married, are very restrictive or very uncomfortable for your wedding guests, the seats are very hard, you have to go by the rules of some of the wedding chapels, some have limited parking, some won't allow you to linger and take pictures. Some offer a lot of amenities and are very romantic and charming.
Make sure the wedding chapel has the date of the wedding you want available, can handle the amount of wedding guests you would like to invite and are comfortable with the price at the wedding chapel. You also need to understand the requirements of getting a wedding license, almost all states have their own rules on wedding licenses, you should confer with the wedding chapel of where you could pick up a wedding license. Many wedding chapels have relationships with local wedding vendors and may offer you suggestions and provide discounts and coupons and deals.
Interview Questions for a Wedding Chapel
1-Ask for a business card or brochure from the wedding chapel or take down the name, address, phone number, email address, and website address.
2-Who would be the manager or wedding coordinator of the wedding chapel, get the name of the person, their phone number and ask them if they have a business card?
3-Is the wedding chapel available of the date of your targeted wedding, if not the interview is over or you must be willing to change the date of the wedding?
4-How many years has the wedding chapel been in operation?
5-How many weddings are performed at the wedding chapel in a year? a month? a day?
6-What days of the week and what times are available for a wedding at the wedding chapel?
7-How much time is there between weddings at the wedding chapel?
8-Does the wedding chapel handle all religious wedding ceremonies? secular ceremonies? civil ceremonies?
9-How long does the wedding chapel ceremony service take?
10-How many people can the wedding chapel accommodate?
11-How comfortable are the seats and the pews? if possible sit in a few to check them out.
12-Does the wedding chapel only allow their own officiants? are we allowed to interview them if we must use them? can we bring our own officiants?
13-How does the communication interchange work between the wedding chapel and wedding couple? phone? email? text messaging? other? how often and when is the interfacing?
14-Is there a marriage counseling session provided? required? with whom? optional?
15-Does the wedding chapel have an official religious affiliation?
16-Does the wedding chapel have a wedding ceremony that must be followed or do we have some say in the wedding ceremony?
17-Are readers and speakers allowed at the ceremony? can we provide our own?
18-Are wedding vows allowed as part of the wedding ceremony?
19-Does the wedding chapel provide a dressing room for the bride and a holding room for the wedding vendors and the bridal party?
20-How much parking is available at the wedding chapel? is there a place for overflow parking? is a policeman or security or valet required?
21-Are wedding guests allowed to mingle after the wedding ceremony?
22-What amenities are provided at the wedding chapel? are not provided?
23-Are wedding programs allowed to be handed out at the wedding chapel? must we use the chapel's program?
24-Is an aisle cloth/runner provided by the wedding chapel? allowed?
25-Are flowers, decorations provided by the wedding chapel? allowed?
26-Are pew bows or pew decorations provided by the wedding chapel? allowed?
27-Is rice, confetti, floral petals, wedding sparklers provided by the wedding chapel? allowed?
28-Is music provided by the wedding chapel? are we allowed to bring our own wedding musicians? are we allowed to bring our own wedding music system? booster speakers?
29-Is a dress code required at the wedding chapel?
30-Is there a photographer that comes with the wedding chapel? do they provide a photo album? are we allowed to bring our own photographer? is flash photography allowed in the wedding chapel?
31-Is there a wedding videographer that comes with the wedding chapel? are we allowed to bring our own wedding videographer?
32-Does the wedding chapel include a wedding rehearsal, if yes is it included or an additional price?
33-Is there a reception hall that belongs with the wedding chapel? if so, what services does the wedding chapel provide? what is not provided? does it include a caterer? florists and decorators? provide dishes and linens? does it include a bar? does it include a bartender? does it include a wait staff? doe it include a cake and dessert baker? a janitor? include anything else such as a sound engineer?
34-Are there any music, dj, dancing, or decorating restrictions at the reception hall?
35-Is there a kitchen and if so what equipment is in the kitchen? stove? refrigeration? storage for dishes and food? preparation tables and equipment? glasses and dishes?
36-Does the wedding chapel provide or have any connections with a limousine, transportation, or shuttle services?
37-Does the wedding chapel have any lodging agreements with local lodgings and can any of our wedding guests get discounts, or coupons?
38-Does the wedding chapel have lighting, heating, air conditioning, and if weather becomes a problem can we bring our own equipment to keep wedding guests comfortable?
39-Does the wedding chapel offer bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, ring bearer pillows, flower girl baskets, unity candles and holders, silk flower petals. crystal toasting glasses, and decorated cake cutting utensils?
40-Are there pictures, videos of a prior wedding of the wedding church and the reception hall or can we stop by live to see how it is decorated and the officiant in action?
41-What are the fees for the wedding chapel? any packages offered? what is not included? might there be hidden fees? what is not covered?
42-How far in advance of the wedding can the wedding be booked?
43-Is there a form we need to fill out?
44-When would a deposit be needed?
45-When would the final balance be due?
46-Have we covered everything?
47-Can we get a copy of the contract?
48-Does the church have a drawing of directions to the wedding chapel that can be used?
49-What is the cancellation policy? change of date policy? being late for the wedding policy?
50-Can the wedding chapel provide a list of local wedding vendors and their contacts?
51-Can we get referrals from three other wedding couples?
Questions to Ask Yourselves
52-Would all your wedding guests be comfortable at the wedding chapel?
53-Is it a beautiful church?
54-Does the church have architecture and charm?
55-Is the church in a beautiful location?
56-Are you comfortable with the church belief system?
57-Will the amenities suffice to meet the needs of the wedding ceremony?
58-Is the wedding chapel manager or wedding coordinator easy to work and communicate with?
59-Are the staff of the wedding chapel honest, helpful, and approachable?
60-Is the road paved to get to the wedding chapel and how easy is it for wedding guests to find?
Use the questions as a basis to develop your own questions for the church or wedding chapel, try to get back to the church within two weeks of your interview to let them know your plans to rent the venue. Don't leave the spot open so the venue loses a wedding chapel booking. Always be polite, in your interaction with all the church associates. Triple check all is taken care of the week of the wedding ceremony. Again score the different wedding chapels if you can't decide, a blog about scoring is three posts back!
See you on the other side?
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Often couples belong to a specific religious faith and need to find a clergy person in the faith in which they belong. However with many wedding couples, they may each belong to a different faith and need to some investigative work on which clergy can marry them.
The choices a wedding couple has of what person can marry them include a priest, a minister, a rabbi, an imam, a cantor, ethical culture leader, a judge, a court clerk, a sheriff, a notary, a justice of the peace, and a mayor. Also in some states, there are laws that permit a layman to apply for permission to become a Deputy Commissioner of Marriage for a specific day, thus allowing the officiant of your marriage could be a family member or a friend, but for your wedding day only.
If a wedding couple does not have a specific person in mind to marry them, in order to make their wedding special, after identifying the type of religious affiliation of clergy that can marry them, they are best to interview some wedding officiants and choose one they are most comfortable with. Someone they would love to stay friends with even after the wedding. The clergy they choose, should be one that both the groom and bride would be comfortable with and doesn't mind sharing their feelings with. They should choose a clergy that shares their sense of style for the wedding ceremony and the sermon and who uses the couple's thoughts and ideas as input to the wedding ceremony. The officiant's wedding ceremony should inspire the wedding couple, incorporate how they want to state their vows and the officiant's service should also have impact so all the wedding guests feel they are at an important event.
Attached are some ideas of questions a wedding couple might ask their officiant, add. alter or subtract questions depending on your wedding situation.
Interview Questions for your Wedding Officiant
1-Ask if the officiant has a business card and/or ask for the name of House of Worship for which they belong plus address, phone number and other contact information such as the website address?
2-Ask for the officiants name, phone number and contact information?
3-Let the officiant know any specifics you have for your wedding such as the targeted wedding date and if he/she is available for that date, and about the amount of the wedding guests you plan to have at the wedding and if you have any wedding ceremony or wedding reception places you have in mind?
4-How long has the officiant been performing weddings?
5-About how many weddings has the officiant performed? how many over the past year?
6-Must the officiant perform weddings at a specific place or can he perform a wedding at any wedding ceremony location such as a church, chapel, or beautiful location.
7-Is the officiant licensed to perform weddings in our state and in our city?
8-What type of background does the officiant have, how did he/she become an officiant?
9-How does the officiant prepare the wedding ceremony? speeches? sermons?
10-Does the officiant provide/insist on marriage counseling, is it optional or mandatory?
11-Does the officiant allow us to choose our own readings? provide our own readers? allow us to write our own wedding vows? any restrictions?
12-Is the wedding ceremony restrictive, follow special rules or can we participate in designing part of the wedding ceremony?
13-What is the officiant's spiritual beliefs? the bride and groom should share their spiritual beliefs, can the officiant honor your spiritual beliefs at the wedding?
14-Will the ceremony be religious, non-denominational, or secular?
15-Will the ceremony be traditional or non-traditional?
16-Can and will the ceremony include light-hearted humor?
17-If the couple has been living together, does the officiant have any problems performing the wedding ceremony?
18-What wedding attire does the officiant wear, is there specific wedding attire expected at the wedding of the bridal party?
19-How does the officiant work with other wedding vendors? photography restrictions? flash restrictions? videography restrictions? musician restrictions? decoration restrictions?
20-How does the officiant handle the playing of songs or music at the wedding, are we allowed to choose the music with the officiant's acceptance?
21-Are there different levels of service offered by the officiant?
22-On our wedding day, does the officiant read from a script or has the service memorized? do they only use the script or may they go ad hoc and say something extra?
23-Does the officiant use any special microphones during the ceremony?
24-How does the officiant plan to communicate with phone? email? text messaging? other?
25-Will the officiant handle the wedding rehearsal the day before the wedding? are there extra fees to work the wedding rehearsal or are they part of the overall fee?
26-How are fees handled with the officiant? is there a set price or is there a donation expected to the house of worship? when are the fees expected? are or might there be other hidden fees? are there travel fees? is there a security deposit needed? when is the security deposit required?
27-When should we expect the officiant to arrive at the wedding? when must the bridal party arrive before the time of the wedding?
28-Where and when should the marriage certificate or other papers to be signed?
29-The wedding couple should decide or not to invite the officiant and a spouse if there is one to the wedding reception, then ask, if there is room at the wedding ceremony can the officiant attend? if so, can the wedding give a prayer before the wedding?
30-If there are children involved in the wedding ceremony, does the officiant have creative ways to involve them?
31-What would be a backup plan if the officiant is unable to make the wedding ceremony from illness, death in their family, or something other? is there a refund or cancellation procedure?
32-How many meetings with the wedding couple are needed and how often would we meet to review the wedding ceremony?
33-Can we see the officiant perform live at another wedding? can we see the officiant give a sermon? can we see videos of the officiant on video?
34-Does the officiant use a specific contract? can we take the contract with us to look it over?
35-Can we get some referrals from other wedding couples in which you presided over their wedding?
36-Are there any wedding vendors you might recommend to us?
Officiants tend not to be as pushy as many other wedding vendors trying to get you to book with them, that is not to say there are a few pushy officiants out there. You should interview a few different officiants before deciding who to go with and get back them quickly, preferable within 10 days of your interview with them so they don't leave your wedding date open and unable to book another wedding for the date of your wedding. If you are happy with their performance, either leave them positive feedback on somewhere they would like such as their website, comments on a blog, or volunteer verbal feedback on "Youtube"
If you can't decide on which officiant to choose, you might refer to two posts back on how to score them to help you make a decision.
See you on the other side!
Thursday, November 3, 2011
If you should ask a dozen different wedding planners what you get for their services, you may find all the planners you interview, each one operates their wedding planning service in their own way which may be differently. Some wedding planners interviews you for what you want and designs the whole wedding for you, others work with and you both meet with wedding vendors and you decide which one to contract with, others are wedding coordinators who provide you with a wedding checklist to follow and gives you a list of contacts of wedding vendors they recommend, some are day of wedding coordinators and just handle your special day for you, and the final option is the do it yourself wedding planner, in which you plan your own wedding using wedding directories, yellow pages, Google searches, and recommendations from family and friends in planning your own wedding.
If you should decide to use a wedding planner for your wedding, there are the attributes you must look for in your questioning. First of all you want to find a wedding planner that nearly becomes a best friend to you, someone you communicate well with and understands your vision for the wedding. The best wedding vendors for a bride tends to be one with a similar personality type. You also want a wedding planner that can work within your budget and can find the best vendors available with which you can afford, the best florists, wedding photographers, caterers, musicians, djs, wedding cake bakers, calligraphers, etc. A person that knows which vendors are reputable and reads over the vendor contracts along with you and helps you avoid traps that occur with vendors.
A good wedding vendor also manages the wedding timeline, make sure wedding guests are informed and wedding party members stick to the wedding schedule and closely manages the day of wedding schedule closely coordinating the delivery arrival and setup times of all the wedding vendors and oversees the entire wedding event process, troubleshoots emergencies, smooths nerves, making sure everything comes off without a hitch and leave no worries with the wedding couple. Lastly, the wedding planner is your eyes, ears and nose for your wedding, they should know a lot about the wedding business, represents you, dresses well, has some personality, has confidence, shows warmth to your guests, and is always in control.
Before you meet with a wedding vendor you will want to do and bring these things with you. You will want to look over the wedding planner's website, you will want to bring someone involved with the wedding along with you, your fiance, your mother, your maid of honor, a bridesmaid, best friend, sister, or brother. You only want to bring along one guest to your meeting, as when questions do come up you may get differences of opinion. You also need a targeted wedding date, a ballpark wedding guest count, and an approximate idea of your wedding budget. Now to the questions.
Interview questions for your Wedding Planner
1-Ask for a business card, and what is the name of the business, address and phone number of the wedding planner's company?
2-What is the wedding planner's name, phone number, and how does he/she like to communicate and get those communication addresses, (e.g. email, cell phone, text, or something other).
3-Confirm if the wedding planner is available for your wedding date?
4-How long has the wedding company been in operation?
5-How many weddings has the wedding planner worked in total?, in the past year? in the past month? any idea the day of our wedding?
6-What credentials does the wedding planner have?, any training?, any certificates? any diplomas?
7-Can the wedding planner provide an overview of how they operate?
8-Does the wedding planner have a brochure or portfolio to share?
9-What services does the wedding planner provide?
10-What services does the wedding planner not provide?
11-How are meeting with wedding vendors handled? who is in attendance?
12-Can the wedding planner name some wedding vendors that they were happy with and what were their strongpoints?
13-Can the wedding planner describe problem situations that had arisen at weddings and how did they handle the situation?
14-Does the wedding planner have arrangements with any vendors and do they score discounts with vendors? (Consultants bring volume to favored vendors; often they will reciprocate by slashing prices or throwing in extras.)
15-Can or does the wedding planner read over the contract and review it with you? What are common traps to look for?
16-How many other clients does the wedding planner have currently?
17-How often will we meet? how long do meetings tend to last? how often do we talk? how accessible are you when things come up? how quickly do you tend to get back to your clients?
18-Does the wedding planner's services include day of wedding coordinating?
19-Does the wedding planner provide a wedding plan timeline and a seating plan for the wedding ceremony and reception?
20-Does the wedding planner handle the wedding invitation process?
21-How would the wedding planner rate their problem-solving skills?
22-How would the wedding planner rate their communication skills?
23-If the wedding were to be held outdoors, what contingency plans would the wedding planner set up in the event of bad weather?
24-What made the wedding planner to decide to become a wedding planner?
25-Does the wedding planner provide a honeymoon planning as part of their service?
26-Can the wedding planner work with our wedding theme or color scheme and what are the latest trends for weddings?
27-Can the wedding planner provide etiquette matters to the bridal party?
28-Will the wedding planner be in attendance at the wedding ceremony? reception? rehearsal dinner?
29-What sets the wedding planner apart from other wedding planners?
30-How will you and any other staff be dresses for out wedding ceremony and reception?
31-If the officiant can't make the rehearsal, can the wedding planner direct the rehearsal?
32-What is the wedding planner's backup plan should an emergency develop? (e.g., illness, death in the family, conflict of another wedding, etc.)
33-Does the wedding planner use a computer or any other state of the art equipment.
34-Our budget is X amount of dollars and we plan on having X amount of wedding guests, can the wedding planner work within our budget?
35-What are the fee arrangements for the wedding planners services? (percentage of total costs, flat fee, hourly).
36-Does the wedding planner work with only certain wedding vendors or can we choose any vendor, even ones you have never worked with the wedding planner before?
37-Does the wedding planner offer different wedding planning packages?
38-Does the wedding planner get commissions or discounts from any wedding vendors?
39-Are there charges for phone calls, email or other correspondence, or charges for meetings with wedding vendors?
40-Might there be hidden costs that we might need to know about?
41-Is it okay to have my fiance, mother, maid of honor, bridesmaid, best friend, sister or brother at our meetings?
42-Is the wedding planner open to my inspiration and visions of my wedding?
43-Can the wedding planner let us know which wedding vendors you have worked with before and ones they have not?
44-Does the wedding planner coordinate payments to vendors or do we?
45-What would be the arrangement for booking contracts?
46-How do deposits work and when are final payments due?
47-Can the wedding planner provide us with 3 different references?
48-Can we see an example contract and can we take the contract along with us before deciding to book with them?
After your meeting with the wedding planner, tell her/him our family is insistent that we interview at least 3 wedding planners before making a decision on who to book with and we will be in contact regardless on who we decide. Be forewarned, many wedding planners may offer extra discounts to sign a contract right then and there. You want the best wedding planner, so get your interviews in before making a decision on who to book with.
The questions listed above are just a guideline, you may add some more questions or take some away and some things may be explained by their website or brochures, but it doesn't hurt to ask questions to be sure there is no misunderstanding.
The contract with the wedding planner should include the following
1.What are the fee arrangements? (percentage of total costs, flat fee, hourly, or other)
2.How many meetings there will be?
3.Who arranges the appointments with the wedding vendors?
4.A list of wedding vendors the wedding planner is responsible for finding.
5.A description of services being offered.
6.What services are not being offered.
7.All contact information.
8.The targeted date of the wedding.
9.The couple's and wedding planner's signature.
10. The initial deposit and when final payment is due.
11.Cancellation policy and "no show" policies for wedding planners and/or wedding vendors.
Typical Day of Wedding Planners Responsibilities
1.Orchestrates who arrives when and where things go.
2.Who sets up the chairs and tables.
3.Who sets up the linens, table centerpieces, flowers, and decorations.
4.Who sets up the china, flatware, glasses, the wedding favors, the wedding cake table, the gift table, the wedding guest registry table, the bar, the beverage table, the seating chart, etc.
5.Who will run the buffet tables and keep it stocked.
6.Who is responsible for cleanup after the wedding ceremony, reception, kitchen, and rehearsal dinner.
7.Who will clean and package the bridal keepsakes at the end of the night.
8.Who will cut and serve the wedding cake and champagne.
9.Who will triple confirm arrival times and services with the wedding vendors.
10.Who will take care of an emergency situation? (a broken down truck, a late limousine, a sick florist, a wedding guest that needs to find medication from the nearest pharmacy, etc.)
11.Who will handle the arrival of an unexpected guest or for a no show.
12.Who will handle a problem with a wedding guests meal selection.
13.Who will be the eyes, ears, and smells to take care of the bride's and groom's needs in the event they need to get a message to someone.
Be headstrong and don't let a sales push or a sales upsell influence your decision, make sure you have somebody you are really comfortable to work with to plan your wedding. If you offered a deal for the interview only, don't be afraid to come back to the wedding planner and ask for the deal that was offered, the wedding planner will more than likely accept the deal. Always be friendly even if there are disagreements, handle a problem behind the scenes, always tip your wedding vendors if they give you up to D service. Be sure to arrive at your meetings on time and also pay your bills on time also.
If you are deciding amongst mutiple wedding planners or wedding vendors you might score a wedding planner to help in making your decision, how to score a vendor is in the prior post.
See you on the other side!