This is the second in a series I’m really excited about bringing to you, my lovely wedding venue readers. This blog feature is written by Eleanor Hopkins.
Eleanor is a former team member of both my wedding planning and consulting business and is currently a bride in the midst of planning her own beautiful wedding. Knowing Eleanor well, although she is absolutely unique, she very much typifies the thinking and lifestyle choices of a large proportion of modern brides (and couples) and is THE spot-on target market for a great number of my distinctive venue clients and their spaces. It felt like an obvious opportunity to ask Eleanor to share her experiences as a bride in the planning with you to help you in making your venue’s offering even more spot-on and appealing to her and many other brilliant potential wedding customers like her and her fiancé.
Eleanor is writing quarterly for the blog over the next year as she plans her wedding. This month she is sharing her tips on how you as modern venues can make a couple’s life easier once the venue is chosen and why you really should. Over to you Eleanor …
A couple have just booked your venue (great news!) and cannot wait to get married there. For most couples, the big things like the venue (and the caterer, maybe a marquee etc) are some of the more exciting and fun things to source and book. But hang on, there’s still some (less fun) tasks and things to do between booking and the big day. Those who have chosen to have an experienced planner will be guided through the rest of the process, ensuring all essential tasks are considered and completed in plenty of time. But what about those who have no idea what needs to be done before their wedding day?
To a certain extent they’ll learn along the way – finding out what they need to know as they get further into planning, perhaps realising there are details they had no idea would need to be considered! But there are things that you, as a venue, can do to make this journey easier and smoother for them – and generally an enjoyable one that they will be forever grateful for your help (and knowledge).
Here are some suggestions of things that my venue has helped me with AND I would love to see all venues offer:
Provide them with the information they need to know (and some they may just want to know)
Perhaps a concise electronic pack (personalised will make a big difference and really easy to do) that you can share within an email that includes things like:
- A personalised ‘thank you’ – Thanking the couple for choosing your venue for their special day. This will go a long way – trust me!
- Key dates tailored to the couple – not just ’12 weeks before’. Tell them the dates they need to know and if they are approaching deadline dates (maybe for payment). Drop them an email a few weeks before to gently remind – this is much nicer than an email after the date chasing late payment!
- FAQs – You may have these on your website but providing these answers directly may mean they are read sooner rather than later. I know some venues don’t allow fireworks, so it’s much better for everyone if a point like that is clear before the couple decide they’d love fireworks and (worst case!) book a display then find out they’re not permitted!
- Ideas for suppliers – If you can recommend some good local suppliers; this will save the couple a lot of time looking for some themselves (unless they want to do this).
- About the area – If the couple isn’t local (and it means a weekend, or longer at or near to the venue), why not suggest what there is to see and do nearby? Or good local accommodation. This can then be one less thing they have to research to share with their guests!
Same point of contact from booking to the wedding day
I think ensuring the same individual is the couple’s point of contact for the full wedding journey is really important – I wouldn’t (and luckily don’t have to) speak to multiple people when discussing my wedding with the venue. This isn’t particularly personal and can result in confusion if everyone involved isn’t fully up to speed with details.
Of course, some venues will have a ‘sales’ person/team who first meet the couple whilst they are deciding on whether to book and are then handed over to a more operational team who are their point of contact – which I think can work if that is the venue set-up (and as long as the sales team introduce and handover effectively to the next team).
The ideal situation is the point of contact the couple have been in communication with being there on the wedding day – after all, they’ve been on the journey with the couple and will have built a relationship; the couple will feel much more relaxed if the co-ordinator they know is there on the day and knows exactly what the couple wants.
Access to the venue before the day
If they were taken on a tour by themselves and booked without close family members seeing it, they may love the opportunity to ‘show’ the venue to them. So, if the diary allows, maybe offer to the couple if they’d like anyone else to see it before the big day and can pop in for half an hour or so – I know my parents are so excited to see my venue!
Introduce personal touches and details
- Personalised details such as putting the couple’s names on a sign for the door of the bridal suite (if you have one) will go a long way!
- Perhaps ask if there is anything they need in their rooms when getting ready – this will be appreciated but will also encourage them to think about what they may need to hand on the day.
Time to chat
If the couple doesn’t live nearby, offering a skype call (perhaps two complimentary 1-hour calls), especially if they haven’t met their point of contact (from booking until the big day) will give them an opportunity to discuss details and ask questions.
Schedule for the day
As someone who has helped planned weddings (when working with Kelly), I understand the value of having a schedule for the day. Creating a schedule (and again, personalised is important) can help ensure all details have been considered and the couple can relax knowing that the timings for the day are planned – otherwise there is no real structure. Though as a couple without a wedding planner to help or do this for you, where do you start? Providing a sample schedule with an idea of timings (perhaps that has worked well at your venue in the past) could be a really helpful tool for the couple – it doesn’t have to be detailed (just key events is sufficient) – but this will encourage them to start thinking about timings and structure for the day which is really important. I can assure you they’d be grateful for this!
There are probably lots more ideas than those I’ve suggested and some more specific to your venue. As a bride, I’d love to encourage you to have a think about how you can make your couples’ lives easier – getting married is so exciting but the planning can be quite overwhelming and time-consuming so anything you do will be of huge value. Your couples will love the experience with your venue as you’ve really gone the extra mile and are very likely to recommend you and write glowing reviews (which can be worth their weight in gold)!
Also by Eleanor – In this blog post she writes about a subject very close to her heart, that of sustainability and avoiding waste on their wedding day. She offers in this blog many practical and easy to implement tips for you on improving your venue’s environmental impact and how to promote your efforts effectively. Read HERE.
PHOTO CREDITS: Bride at the Wedding Breakfast: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash // Wedding planning: Photo by stil on Unsplash // Couple planning: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash // Bride checking emails: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash // Wedding cake: Photo by Tom The Photographer on Unsplash // Wedding flowers: Photo by Marc A. Sporys on Unsplash // Marquee: Photo by Sarah Jane Ethan Photography on Rock My Wedding // Couple’s feet: Photo by Gianni Scognamiglio on Unsplash // Wedding ceremony set up: Photo by Shardayy Photography on Unsplash // Champagne: Photo by Jeshoots.com on Unsplash // Mr & Mrs Sign: Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash // Notepad: Photo by Stil on Unsplash // Couple thank you: Photo by The SK Photo Company on Unsplash