How Can I Help: Venue Search

Almost every wedding that takes place at French’s Point is a family affair for our clients. Often times parents and other family and friends participate in the wedding planning at various points in the process. Many hands make light work, right? With such a momentous occasion to look forward to, it is very common for family to offer their assistance as wedding plans are being made. We find that many mothers of the bride and mothers of the groom, in particular, really want to help. However, they don’t know exactly what they can do to help the happy couple with their plans, without overstepping the bounds of “helpful.” In this How Can I Help blog series, we will offer some ideas about how you can help your son or daughter and their partner with the planning.

How Can I Help: Venue Search

If it’s the case that the parents of either the bride or the groom live closer to Maine than the couple getting married, it may be far simpler for them to talk with and tour the wedding venues in that region than it would be for the couple getting married. In many cases, we find that the couple are busy, working professionals who cannot always get time away from work for a long trip. In some instances, their parents are in a better position to travel or have less distance to travel, making them the ideal helper for this often-daunting job. Is this the case for your son or daughter’s wedding? If so, you can help!

Criteria and Priorities

To start this process, my recommendation is for you to have a conversation with the happy couple about their vision for their event and ask the following key questions:

  1. What geographical region are you interested in?
  2. What dates are you considering?
  3. What do you envision as the setting for your celebration (e.g., farm, bar, resort, oceanfront estate, restaurant, hotel, tent?)
  4. What are your priorities (e.g. food, beverage, setting, design, flowers, photography)
  5. How many guests do you envision?
  6. Where are guests traveling from?
  7. What is the wedding budget and who is contributing?

Once you have had this initial conversation, you can begin your research. Start by searching online and reading reviews for venues that meet these criteria. A good Google search for venues in Maine would be: “Maine wedding venues” or “waterfront wedding venues in Maine” or “wedding venues in Maine that can accommodate 300 people.” If you know people in the area, ask friends for personal recommendations. Now that you’ve narrowed your search down to possible venues that meet their criteria, start reaching out to each one asking about available dates, policies, and pricing information.

Once you have compiled this information, have another conversation with the wedding couple, and ask them to make a short list of venues for you to tour in person.

The Tour

Rather than picking a venue for them, you may instead want to give them an objective review of each venue. Consider creating a list of things that you want to see or experience at each venue. Here are just a few ideas we have for what could be on your venue tour checklist:

  • How kind/friendly/helpful was the staff?
  • How responsive was the staff to my questions?
  • How clean was the venue?
  • How many different options are there for ceremony site and reception?
  • Do they have indoor options in case of inclement weather?
  • Is the venue wheelchair accessible?
  • How far away is the nearest lodging?
  • Do they host more than one celebration in a day/weekend?
  • How much customization is allowed? Or, do you have to use their Preferred Vendors?

The idea is that you want to be reviewing each venue based on an objective list of criteria rather than which one you think is the best. It’s fine to offer that information, but remember, you’re on a fact-finding mission and it’s your job to bring those facts back to the wedding couple. Once the short list of favorites has been defined by the couple, determine if the couple would like to tour themselves or if they are ready to proceed with a reservation.

This venue scouting process can take weeks or even months, particularly for couples that do not live near the region in which they are planning to wed. If you are able to pitch in to help with the venue search, this can be very beneficial to the couple because expediting this process can allow them the benefit of having more dates to choose from at their top choice venue. Helping with the venue search will also allow you the opportunity to really understand what lies ahead at the venue they select and to have established a rapport with the venue staff.

Featured image by Haven Photography.