Whilst you might be super happy heading off into your wedding planning bubble, keeping regular communication going with your venue (and suppliers, don’t forget about them) is absolutely vital. Your venue has likely already got a few weddings under their belt, or if they’re an established venue they are probably absolute wedding pros. But, just because they do this all the time doesn’t mean that it’s ok to leave them out of a conversation or assume they will automatically know this and that. Every wedding is unique and as a previous venue manager myself I can honestly say, there’s no such thing as too much information. Even if you think it’s not relevant or you’re worried about bothering your coordinator unnecessarily, don’t be – tell them everything! You’d like access to the Honeymoon Suite an hour early? Just ask. You’ve got a big delivery landing on the Thursday? They’ll thank you for the heads-up! You’re bringing your dog? Who doesn’t love a dog at a wedding?!
Remember though, this year could be the busiest year your wedding team has ever experienced so they are going to be feeling the heat! If you can provide all the important information as early on as possible, it will be a huge help. It will also ensure everything goes perfectly to plan without any last-minute flapping – from them, or you! So, if you’re counting down to your big day whilst also ramping up your wedding planning efforts keep reading for some of the top things you need to share with your venue beforehand.
No matter what style or size of wedding you’re planning, keeping track of your guest numbers is hugely important for your caterer, your venue and general planning logistics. If your venue has guest accommodation and you want to utilise this as much as possible, find out how many of your guests require overnight accommodation ASAP. Of course you’ll want your best pals and family members close by but also consider guests that might be travelling a long distance, families with small children, and elderly guests who might appreciate a bit of time-out space nearby.
Closer to the date of your wedding your venue will need to know exactly how many people will be attending the day, which includes your ceremony (if happening on site) and reception meal. They need to know the literal number of bums on seats so children count here too. Don’t forget to provide them with details of any changes along the way, additional evening guests, and how many people to expect for breakfast / brunch the following morning if this is something you’re planning on providing too.
wedding Day Timings
This is a biggie because there are a LOT of timings to consider that will affect many moving parts of a wedding – on the day itself, and during set up and break down too. If you’re getting married offsite in a church or alternative ceremony setting and you don’t have a planner, ensure that someone in your wedding party is keeping track of the time. They also need to keep in close contact with your venue so that everyone knows exactly when to expect you back on site. This way they can arrange for refreshments and entertainment etc to be prepped and ready to go as soon as the first guest lands. There’s nothing worse than the fizz going flat and your first guests arriving to an awkward silence!
Your venue may have already provided you with some guidance around timings for your big day. Whilst they will predominantly be determined by the time of your ceremony and the start of your wedding breakfast, if you have any last-minute changes or wild card additions to the proceedings, don’t forget to let your venue know too.
Believe me venues are well accustomed to meeting and greeting suppliers, giving directions, signing for deliveries and storing parcels and packages for weddings but a heads-up is always much appreciated!
Simply provide your venue with a list of your suppliers, along with their contact details and when to expect them. That way they can skip the ‘what’s your name, and where do you come from?’ questioning and help your wedding team find their destination much more easily. This also applies to any mystery deliveries being directed to the venue’s address. If you’re making last minute purchases or you have hire items being delivered to the venue, make sure they’re aware and know what to expect when.
Wedding Guest Dietaries
Make sure you catch this information as soon as possible by including it within your wedding invitation and RSVP requests. From allergies to intolerances and lifestyle choices such as being vegan or vegetarian, there’s quite a lot to consider when managing your guests’ dietary requirements.
To cater to people’s tastes and lifestyle choices, the simplest solution is to provide a variety within your menu, including both meat and vegetarian choices. But should you have one or two guests report back to you with very specific requirements due to allergies or intolerances for instance, then your venue / caterer will need some time to provide a variation on your chosen menu that caters to their dietary needs.
Venue Décor / hire items
Please don’t assume that just because you’ve paid X amount of money for your venue that it gives you free rein to decorate as you like, or book entertainment such as fireworks, llamas etc without checking with your venue first. In some cases your wedding venue may also be someone’s family home so remember to treat it with respect and don’t start making arrangements without seeking permission first. In my previous life as a venue manager I lost count over how many plastic glitter confetti cannons I managed to confiscate in the nick of time!
If you or a member of your wedding party require access to the Honeymoon Suite or any of the guest accommodation before the allocated check in time, or you need a travel cot / camp bed etc, aim to let your venue know in advance. They will always do their best to accommodate such requests but as much notice as possible is always really helpful and much appreciated.
Plan A / Plan B
Maybe you booked your venue because you had your heart set on marrying in their spectacular gardens? Don’t get me wrong this is an absolutely valid reason but it’s always good practice to work out your Plan A and your Plan B (maybe even a Plan C too!) with your venue, just in case. If you require access to multiple spaces or need a wedding area to be turned around quickly, keep your venue in the loop so that they can plan it into their schedule and organise the logistics required to make this happen for you.
Children can often be overlooked when it comes to guest numbers. Especially when they’re so small (or not even born yet) when the wedding planning kicks off. If their bum is going on a seat and they need feeding you need to count them in! Plus if you’re planning on providing children’s entertainment, require high chairs or a dedicated break out area for exhausted kiddies (and parents!) your venue will need to be made aware so that they can help with the appropriate arrangements.
Pet friendly weddings
On your wedding day you understandably want all your loved ones around you, and for many couples that means inviting their pet too. If you’ve booked a dog-friendly wedding venue they might be totally cool with you bringing your dog along for the celebrations but in my experience a heads-up is always appreciated. Especially if your venue already has dogs on site, or livestock nearby, OR you’ve invited your guests to bring their dogs along too. Just let your venue know so they know what to expect!
As well as letting your venue know it’s also a good idea to make sure your guests know that your dog / other dogs will be present during the day. This allows parents, as well as those people who are perhaps scared of dogs, to prepare themselves and their children in advance.
In an ideal world your venue would be totally kitted out for disabled guests and guests with limited mobility or specialist requirements but it’s likely your venue will need advanced notice to put these provisions in place. If your venue is a rambling historic house for example, they might need the time and space to get temporary ramps etc in situ before your guests arrive. If you know you have guests attending who require this level of assistance, you must let your venue know so that they can plan this into their schedule or discuss the options with you first. This will eliminate any feelings of discrimination, awkwardness, and unnecessary fuss.
The morning after
I’m all for a multi-day, multi-event wedding celebration – let the festivities continue for as long as possible I say! If this is the case for you too, and you have other celebrations taking place around the wedding day itself just remember to give your venue a heads-up beforehand. It’s so easy to focus on the big day but if you’re planning other events such as a pre-wedding cocktail evening or a BBQ breakfast for the morning after and you need to use some of the venue spaces / furniture / kitchen facilities etc, don’t forget to communicate this with your venue and include this information within your wider wedding itinerary too.
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