How a Charleston SC wedding planner can help you – Venue selection
One of the first things a bride wants to do is select a venue and we agree that this is one of the most important decisions and should happen before any other vendors are booked, other than her Charleston SC wedding planner of course. So other than how the venue looks what are some of the important factors when looking at potential wedding venues?
- Can the venue accommodate ceremony and reception, if that is desired? If they cannot and you have to select separate venues for ceremony and reception you will want to look at them consecutively to ensure they work well together.
- Do they require that a bride have a Charleston SC wedding planner?
- What is the price of the venue? It is important to have a dollar amount allocated for the venue and stick to it. As it is one of your first selections if you go over budget on the venue you might spend the rest of your planning trying to make up that money. No bride wants a beautiful venue but no money to decorate it.
- What is included in the pricing? It is important to ensure that you and your Charleston SC wedding planner are making fair comparisons of the venues. Most hotels and resorts include tables and chairs for the reception, their own catering including staffing, set up of the tables and chairs and sometimes linens and décor. Some of Charleston’s popular historic sites only include the site itself with absolutely nothing else included. While some brides enjoy having a blank slate to work with it’s important to anticipate the additional rentals and staffing that must be brought in.
- Do they provide set up? There are some venues including Alhambra and Harborside East that provide tables and chairs but they don’t set them up. You will have to provide additional labor for these venues. Don’t assume that is is included in a Charleston SC wedding planner package.
- Availability! Of course you want the venue on the date you have selected, but I have had brides change dates in order to book the venue they really wanted. I’ve also had brides move a day earlier or later to receive a non-Saturday discount. Some of Charleston’s most popular venue’s book 18 to 24 months in advance!
- What time is the rental from and when is the room available for set up? Some Charleston SC venues including the SC Aquarium, The Veranda at Magnolia Plantation and the Gibbes Museum have extremely short set up times (imagine two hours for complete setup). In these venues you absolutely have to have a wedding planner and top notch vendors who will set up quickly.
- What is the required end time for the venue? This is particularly important for the venues with the short set up time to ensure you have enough hours for your reception.
- Do they provide staffing? This varies a great deal from having a lot of staff to having no one onsite during your wedding. For most venues the onsite person will not be the same person you dealt with in the office as no one wants to work both shifts every day.
- Do they have preferred vendors and do you have to select from that list? Some venues only exclusive agreements with very expensive vendors so if a venue has this sort of required vendors list you want to check out those vendors as well before signing a contract or putting down a payment with the venue.
- Is there a kitchen? You would think a wedding venue would have to have a kitchen, but some of Charleston’s very old historic sites do not. This means you will have to have a caterer with offsite abilities. Not all do and the ones who do have this ability often charge more to cover the cost of the equipment.
- What is the deposit/retainer for the venue? You can expect to pay 25% – 50% to ensure the date.
- Are there any decorating restrictions? Most venues have restrictions about taping to their walls. Many also have fire restrictions including no open flames and no sparklers.
- Is there parking available and is it free or is there a charge for guests? This particularly applies to venues in downtown Charleston.
- Destination brides you will want to consider proximity to accommodation when selecting a venue particularly if you don’t want your guests to have to drive very far.
- If the venue provides their own catering that will lead to another list of questions to ask which we will cover in another post.
- What is their cancellation policy?
SC Aquarium – one of Charleston’s most popular venues
Why you should consider hiring a Charleston SC wedding planner to help you with venue selection:
- We already know the answer to a lot of these questions.
- A professional Charleston SC wedding planner will keep a comprehensive venue list. with rates, capacity and discounts so we’ve already done a lot of the research for you.
- We know what is an appropriate monetary allocation for all budgets.
- We work in Charleston venues all the time so we know the pros, and especially the cons of venues and other information not posted on their websites.
- Charleston SC Wedding Planner Power – we have the potential to bring many brides to a venue and this gives us planner power or purchasing power. Sometimes venues will offer a planner discount or include some extras at no charge when you go to site visits and bring your planner.
Charleston SC Wedding Planner favorite – The Veranda at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
“Where modern ideas meet old-fashioned service”
Contact us today if you are looking for a Charleston SC Wedding Planner!