Sunday, November 13, 2011

Interview Questions for your Ceremony Site

Just a decade ago, it was rare for a wedding ceremony to be held outside a house of worship. Usually, when it did happen it was because a couple had tried to secure their church but found their wedding date was already booked by someone else, resulting in the need for the couple to find an alternative wedding ceremony location.

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!


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