Booking your destination wedding venue without having done an in-person site inspection is a little like playing Russian Roulette. Although you have a chance of winning big betting on what the pretty online pictures show, you also have some big odds against you, and those results, well…
Your destination wedding planner (not a site related venue wedding coordinator) can help you narrow down your must-haves, nice-to-haves, or doesn’t-matters to a few venues, but before signing any dotted lines, it’s always best to see the choices in person.
A quality destination wedding planner will plan the schedule, escort you to all sites you wish to see, and help with any language issues. Be sure you pre-consider all of the right questions.
1. IS MY TARGET DATE OPEN?
If you have chosen a precise date, you can’t veer from, this is a no-brainer first question, especially if you plan other events such as rehearsal dinners, brunches etc. If not, find out what alternate dates could work for you.
2. HOW MUCH SPACE & CAPACITY IS THERE?
Find out if the venue has the type of spaces you want for all of your events and number of guests, and can afford you the amount of time required for each one.
3. WHAT DO THE SPACES LOOK LIKE?
Take your time in each space and try to picture each event you are planning. Does it feel right? Can you imagine your unique style coming together there? Inspect the existing venue decor elements, if you don’t like them find out if they could be removed. If not, could you live with them?
4. HOW ABOUT MY GUESTS?
This is a multi-faceted question. Firstly, do your guests HAVE to stay at that particular venue? Some may not be able to afford the rate or would prefer a different property. Are there elevators for older guests? Perhaps a play or rest area for any children?
5. WHAT ABOUT CATERING?
Find out about the catering situation, is it all done in house or can you bring in, for example, the cake. If it’s in-house, be sure to sample the menu items you choose.
6. CAN I BRING IN VENDORS?
Many larger venues require you to use only their preferred vendors, and some will allow this but for a fee. If you wish to use their vendors, be sure you are comfortable with their work. This goes for photo & videographers, tech, music and other suppliers.
7. WHAT ABOUT DECOR?
Find out what the venue has available as part of your booking. Don’t assume tables, chairs, lighting, tablecloths, AV equipment etc. will not be had for an extra charge. If they do have items, be sure to see them. Some venues have restrictions on potentially hazardous items such as open flame candles, sparklers and fireworks. If your wedding planner is also part of a professional design and decor company, you will have a much greater array of choices and at a lower cost.
8. IS THERE A BAD WEATHER PLAN?
Many destination weddings are on one of the numerous, heavenly beaches or oasis’ here in Cabo and most times of year the weather is idyllic. But how sad if all your meticulously executed plans are ruined by bad weather. Be sure to book indoor space just in case!
9. ARE THERE MANDATORY CURFEW TIMES?
Some venues have a standard curfew, usually to shield other guests from noise. Be sure to find out what time that is in case you want to adjust your start times accordingly.
10. HOW MUCH WILL IT ALL COST?
Of course, you will get a pricing quote but ask your wedding planner to help you decipher what is and isn’t included. How many hours does the quote include for each event? Is there an overtime fee? Is there a fee for the decor, and if so, how much? How much is the deposit, when is it due? Is there a cancellation fee and deadline? What types of payment do you accept?
Hopefully, your destination wedding planner will have helped arrange site visits at several venues, and you will quickly see elements you like and those you don’t. Armed with these pivotal questions, you can compare the amenities that are important to you and choose the magical spot where you and your fiancee will begin to create your magical ever after!