Your wedding theme is the element that brings all the little details together and acts as a guiding light throughout the planning process. Before diving into a theme, decide on the venue. With many places booking as far in advance as two years, this is a great place to start so that you can secure your dream location.
You may want to have an overarching idea in mind such as a vintage affair or a garden oasis. Having this figured out will let you know if it’s worth seeing a venue or not. Once you secure your location, all of the details will come together and your theme will be brought to life.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, Devine Wedding Design is happy to help you think of a theme and show you ideas. Sometimes it’s as easy as walking around our showroom to find an element that strikes your fancy. Since we know just how difficult planning a wedding is, we wanted to include a list of details to ask your venue and to be aware of in general. All of these could impact the nitty-gritty of your theme so it’s important to ask it all. If you forget to ask something, we may already know the answer so feel free to give us a shout!
Restrictions concerning décor
All hanging fabrics on the ceiling or walls must be up to fire code and be FR rated. Professional decorators should have these codes ready to supply to the facility managers. If the materials aren’t fire rated, you run the risk of being shut down by the fire preventions officer.
Stance on candles
See if the venue has a rule regarding flame or no flame. A ban on open flames does not mean that you can’t have a candle but rather it means that all flames must be contained in a holder with the flame being a minimum of 2” under the top of the container.
Time available for setup and takedown
It is important to know if takedown is required immediately after the function or if extra fees apply. Some decorating professionals will charge more for same-day setup if time restrictions hinder their service as they will require more staff to get the job done properly. Same-night 1 am takedowns may also carry a fee with some décor professionals. You should ask your venue this question so that you are aware when sourcing a decorator.
Can décor be attached to the ceiling or walls?
Most professional decorators have the proper equipment and insurance to handle these tasks. Ask your decorator for insurance to ensure you’re getting a qualified artist who will be able to cover damage claims should they occur.
Best location for the bar, buffet station and dance floor
If the bar, buffet and dance floor locations are portable, be sure to ask what a popular choice is. These locations are details your decorator will also help you with for optimal flow of the room. Depending on your needs, there may be better locations than others so it’s best to learn options from both your venue and decorator.
Best spot for the bride and groom table
Get a copy of the most popular floor plan for the amount of guests you are inviting. It’s a great idea to bring a copy of this floor plan to your decorating professional to ensure ideas are consistent. If there isn’t an already drafted floor plan, try taking pictures or drawing a quick sketch while asking your venue this question.
A typical location for the DJ or band to setup
Be sure to coordinate with your DJ and venue to learn which outlet has the proper amps required for equipment. Some DJ’s may have a certain location in mind that will be best for sound depending on the type of speakers they use.
Ask if it’s okay to cover fixtures if necessary
Some halls have more exits than necessary for your amount of guests, asking to use this space for another purpose may open the amount of room options. This could help with planning picture corners, mini backdrops for cake displays among many other details.
See if there is a space that is off-limits for quests and/or decorations. If there is such a space, make sure all of these spaces are locked and not accessible to any of your guests at anytime during the event.
See what the room’s lighting is like
Ask your venue if there are there dimmers, or wall sconces to help with the ambiance. If you aren’t getting the vibe you’d like with the lighting available, there are rental options to help.
Ask if they have linens and napkins available
If they have these available, see what color options, textures and sizes are available. If the venue doesn’t have the option you’d like, ask if there are any credits if you bring in your own linens that do match your style.
Are chairs and tables available?
If chairs and tables are provided with the venue, inquire about type of chairs and tables they have. Ask if there are options and if there is a cost involved with these options. If your venue doesn’t have the style you’d like, see if there is a credit available. Each venue will have their own set of rules for these situations.
Take note of other locations you may want to inquire about:
If they are simple you may want to add signage, bows or pictures.
Cocktail hour space
If you are having a cocktail hour, you may want a specific sign to guide guests after the ceremony. You may also want to have a sign explaining the signature drinks if you’re having any.
Lobby and/or entrance
Find out if your venue will have multiple weddings during your big day as you may want a specific welcome sign. If your venue is all yours, images are a great way to welcome guests to your celebration.
Your guests may be the type who will spend a fair amount of time outside, or maybe your venue has a patio off of the main reception area. In this case, consider having lanterns and/or flowers.
Other venue details you should consider are: whether or not your venue has easels available for signage, if they have a bride and groom suite, a cake cutting set, and table numbers. Since every venue is different, we suggest taking a notebook to your walk-through to help you remember any ideas that pop into your head as well as questions that you didn’t consider asking prior.