Here is the third installment from Lindsay Thul at Hotel Blackhawk, this time advising brides specifically on details for booking the perfect venue. If you missed her previous two wedding planning tips, check out the first here and yesterday’s here.
Do your research
Choosing where your wedding ceremony and reception will take place is a difficult task, especially if you have a specific date in mind. The average booking window for weddings is about 8-14 months in advance.
Remember when you’re prioritizing that you may not get the venue that you’re wanting if your date is the first priority. Be open minded about the date. Most venues offer demand based pricing. For example, Friday & Sunday weddings or weddings that aren’t during the summer usually have discounted pricing. Think about holiday weekends like Labor Day and Memorial Day when your guests would probably have the following Monday off so you could snatch up your favorite venue with Sunday pricing if it’s available.
Choose at least 3 different venues to really research and compare. Ask questions. You’re not annoying the event planner TRUST ME! I’ve spent hours upon hours on the phone with couples who are just asking questions and haven’t even signed a contract, and I’m happy to do so. This will also help you to get a feel for the service that will be provided for your event. If you’re not getting quick responses from the venue or if you feel like the person you’re working with is irritated by the questions that you’re asking, then that place probably isn’t right for you. If they’re not eager and happy to assist you with anything that you need before you even sign a contract, chances are that’s how the planning experience will be the whole way through.
I would recommend doing your research BEFORE prioritizing. The worst thing that you can do is have your heart set on a venue and book it just because it’s pretty, then later find out that it’s not as wonderful as you thought. Also, many venues in the Quad Cities have extra fees. It sounds great when a venue offers no rental fee for the ballroom, but there’s a reason.
Hotel Blackhawk will charge anywhere from $1,200-$2,000 just to rent the Gold/Davenport Rooms, simply because there are a lot of items included in that price. All of the linens, table settings, tastings, and personal guidance are included in that cost. Our certified wedding planner, Kelsey Pence, is the person that would work with you directly on making sure that all of your needs are met. Her expertise and suggestions alone are well worth that rental fee. The peace of mind that someone has by hiring a wedding planner is included in the room rental.
SO just because something sounds expensive, dig deeper to find out WHY it is. Don’t be fooled by a venue that is offering free space because once you pay for your linens, vendors, and decorations, you’re going to spend well over the rental cost. What’s great about the Gold Room is that you barely need any decorations. You could do centerpieces on the tables ONLY and the room would look breathtaking. That venue with free rental will probably require several dollars and hours of preparation to look glamorous.
Hope these tips help you as you search for the perfect venue for your big day! Check back tomorrow to see our final post from Lindsay!
Faith, Hope & Love,