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Don't Be Tricked by These Wedding Venue Trends

South Coast Winery Resort and Spa

Few things matter more in wedding planning than deciding on the location. Choosing your venue will likely be one of the first things you do after posting engagement announcements all over social media. Locking down a venue that you’ve fallen in love with can be quite stressful though since the good ones get booked up FAST. In order to pick the best venue for you and your fiancé you will have to know what questions to ask venue representatives. Andrew Vasquez, catering manager of South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and Carter Estate Winery and Resort gave us amazing tips on picking the perfect wedding venue:

All-Inclusive Venues

Many venues now are leaning towards the all–inclusive route. They feel that by bundling their services together with flowers, cake, DJ, coordinator, photographer, décor, etc. you will be more inclined to book the venue for ease of planning. At times, “all-inclusive” venues have the potential to short-change the couple. They have already negotiated a standard price with these chosen vendors to build that price into their packages. This means you end up getting a very cookie-cutter cake, very basic florals, etc. Vendors pre-chosen by the venue rarely provide more than what they have pre-arranged.

My advice when couples are looking at an all-inclusive venue is to ask a million and one questions. Find out how much they include and what is going to be a-la-carte or extra. Sometimes it’s worth going with a venue that allows you to bring any vendor you like on their property. It allows the couples to negotiate with vendors on their own to ensure they get what they are looking for rather than be told what they will get.

“In-house Coordinators”

Beware of the “we take care of everything” venue manager. It saddens me to hear so many stories of venues that over-promise and under-deliver in terms of coordination and planning. They bait and hook you in booking with them by saying “no need for a planner, we will help take care of it all” and later fall flat on their promises. Venue managers are just that: managers of the venue itself, not professional coordinators/planners (a theme also echoed in The Coordinator Blog).

Many venues, including South Coast Winery Resort, require a wedding planner or at least a day-of coordinator that is licensed and insured. Why? Because it matters. There are so many moving parts to a wedding and many loose ends needing to be tied up the day of the wedding which the bride and groom should not have to worry about. The venue manager’s goal is to make sure that the venue itself is doing everything we need to do to make the couple’s day perfect. We leave the rest to the pros.

Hotel Room Blocks

I totally understand the desire to help your out-of-town guests find accommodations while they are in town celebrating your wedding. Stay away from this. Why? It is more stress than you need to deal with. Often a couple’s first intuition is to find a nice hotel right away and book a large room block for their guests. They end up getting locked into a contract and are responsible for those rooms should they not get picked up by their guests. Weddings are typically on weekends and hotel rates are usually higher on weekends. I have seen it time and time again where the couple sends out the info to their family and friends to book a room under their block, the guests think it’s too expensive and they end up finding cheaper accommodations leaving the rooms empty and the couple responsible for them. My advice: let your guests worry about their own accommodations!

Wedding Contracts

It’s a given. You are never going to get away with having your wedding at a reputable venue without signing your life away on the dotted line. BUT, if you don’t feel comfortable with the legal wording that is sometimes involved in contracts then consult with your venue manager and ask questions! Know what you are signing. If there is something missing in the contract that was promised to you, included champagne toast as an example, then make them add it to the contract! If it’s not in writing, then it never happened.

With the right questions you can ensure that you will secure not just a beautiful location but a venue team that will treat you right. Do you have further questions about wedding venues and contracts? We are in the business of helping couples make good vendor decisions whether they are our clients or not. Ask away!

Andrew Vasquez

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

Carter Estate Winery and Resort

Phone: 951-587-9463 x7211


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