12 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Destination Wedding Venue

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Location Lock Down
special series by guest expert Larissa Banting 

Now that you've chosen your agent, have them make recommendations on locations that fit the bride's vision. Ask them to provide photos of the ground, rooms and, if possible, of other weddings or events that have occurred on the property. Menus and pricing as well as any site fees will need to be given to you upfront as well.

A few things to keep in mind before committing to spot:

1. What time of year is the wedding?

Rooms may be a bargain in the Caribbean during the fall - but that's due to hurricane season. The tropics enjoy two seasons, Dry (December - April) and Rainy (May - November) so be sure you know up front what conditions your bride may encounter. It's also important that she realizes what the weather situation my be before she makes any final decisions.

2. Is the location 'clothing optional'?

There is a photo circulating around the internet of a couple, mid vows, with a very overweight couple passing right behind them - without any clothes. Not one for the wedding album . . . and a situation you want to be sure to avoid.

3. If it's a resort, how many other weddings are there that date?

Some large hotels have numerous weddings a day.

4. Is there a certain location the wedding can take place?
At some resorts, there are designated wedding pavillions or gazebos. Make sure that the bride's vision fits what is available to her.

5. If the wedding is to be on the beach, is the beach public or private?
Here is Costa Rica, for example, all beaches are public by law. I make a point of letting my clients know upfront so there are no misconceptions about there not being another soul on the beach during the ceremony.

6. If it's a beach wedding, when is high tide?
Some beaches literally disappear at high tide, leaving no space for a wedding.

7. What time is sunset?
The closer to the equator you are, the earlier the sun rises and sets. Here at 9 degrees Latitude, it's dark by 6 PM year round.

8. What noise restrictions are there?
The Four Seasons Costa Rica doesn't allow any amplification on its beach while all hotels here have a music cut-off time of 10 PM, unless you're in an enclosed ballroom.

9. Can you have alcohol on the beach?
Some places have no restrictions, others do.

10. Whatever your location, what facilities are available?
Things like bathrooms, kitchens, bar may not be close by, therefore restricting some wedding activities. Also be sure to find out what kind of access there is for vendors.

11. If it's a location not on the hotel grounds, how will guests get there?
Some places may have very limited access by car. If the location isn't walking distance, can transport be arranged?

And finally, one of the most important questions:

12. Will the location work with outside wedding planners?
Some hotels and resorts are very strict about couples only working with their own in-house planners and there is no sense in you putting in any amount of time only to find out you're not welcome.

Tomorrow, we look at working with a planner and other considerations.

© 2008 Larissa Banting for The Smart Planner™

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