Noun: an event executed by wedding venues, which allows couples to experience the venue’s food and services, helping them to develop their wedding vision, and easing the stress of wedding planning.
As your guide to stress-free wedding planning, I suggest you limit the number of “Bridal Shows” you attend and focus on attending sampling events hosted by the specific venues you are considering for your celebration. The purpose of these events is to introduce couples to the services offered by the venue, to have them taste some of the chef’s signature entrée selections; to offer them a preview of each of their event facilities, floral and décor capabilities and salon services. Many will feature recommended vendors who understand the policies of the venue and have considerable knowledge of the venue’s infrastructure and staff.
Objectives when attending a Wedding Sampling:
- Gather as much information as possible.
- Observe other guests attending the event and learn about their experiences with the venue – some couples attending may be at a different stage in wedding planning than you are.
- Use the event to enhance your planning experience, by making lists of questions about each element of the wedding – i.e. rehearsal, ceremony, day-of preparation, reception food and beverage, after-party and post-reception breakfast/brunch – the possibilities should be limitless if the sampling is of good quality.
- Use the information you gather to expedite your decision-making process.
Take-aways from a Sampling Event:
- Event Catering vs. Event Production – is the venue strictly catering space or can they actually produce your event by offering the services that you need to create your wedding vision. Ask and be sure the event planner answers the following questions about the venue:
- Can the venue produce an event to suit your style, personalities and financial requirements, assisting with every element of the celebration?
- Can you move seamlessly through ceremony and reception planning, wedding stationary production, guest lodging, floral/decor design, obtaining the license and selecting celebrant, specialty lighting, entertainment for ceremony and reception, photography, and more all under the guidance of the venue’s event planning staff?
- Does the venue offer an innovative approach to creating the total wedding experience – or is it a “business as usual”?
- One-Stop-Shopping – is “Everything Under One Roof” or will you be required to find your own way through a myriad of wedding services and professionals? (Some good and some very BAD!)
- Are Wedding Celebrations the venue’s primary business or just event space filler – Is 90% of the venue’s facilities and services dedicated to creating wedding celebrations, or are they more about the next golf tournament or corporate retreat?
- The Experience – is the venue staff, particularly the event planner, here today and gone tomorrow (with all your planning dreams)?
- Be sure the staff has years (even decades) of experience in the execution of wedding celebrations. Ask yourselves, “Would you visit a doctor who performs 9 surgeries a year or one who performs them every day of the week?”
- Take advantage of their experience to minimize the impact wedding planning will have on your personal, social and work schedules.
- Price Comparison – My best advice is, DON’T trust your wedding day to the lowest bidder! Expect only the highest quality products and services – within reasonable prices – from your venue. Remember to compare “apples to apples” and understand that there will never be a second chance to create a wedding day memory.
- Dedicated Event Venues – insist on NO back-to-back booking.
- Each venue you consider should be dedicated to one couple on their wedding day.
- Each should have its own ceremony site, cocktail area, holding lounge, dining area, dancefloor, service equipment, linen offerings, execution staff, chef, parking area, on and on and etc.
- Each must afford total privacy for the couple on their wedding day.
Having said all this, I must say that there are many other ways to research a wedding venue, but none more eye-opening and enjoyable than a sampling event. I suggest you attend your first Wedding Sampling at Stroudsmoor Country Inn on November 12, 2017. Tell them the Wedding Warrior sent you and two free tickets will be yours.