Our Favorite Local Wedding Vendors
The next post in our series of shout-outs to our favorite local vendors is an awesome Greensboro venue: The McAlister-Leftwich House. The following post was written by Kaitlin Holland of the McAlister-Leftwich House, a boutique wedding and event venue in historic downtown Greensboro, NC. The McAlister-Leftwich House specializes in helping their clients and couples create an experience of refined Southern hospitality for all who enter through their doors.
4 Things to Consider Before Touring Your Wedding Venue
Beginning the process of touring wedding venues is exciting but it can also feel overwhelming. It’s probably the first big step you are taking in your wedding planning process and oftentimes couples are eager to get started right away, but sometimes they don’t know what information they need to gather as they begin their venue hunt. We frequently meet with couples that have been engaged for a matter of days and while they are early in the process, it’s important to think through a few key factors before choosing your venue. (You could tour without knowing this information, but it’s definitely necessary to know it before you book!):
1. Ballpark your guest count. All venues have a max capacity (ours is 150!) so it will save you time to have a rough estimate before touring. You don’t want to tour a venue with a max capacity of 100 when you’re expecting 200 guests. Notice the word I used there – expecting. Remember, the number you invite will not be the number you expect! In fact, most weddings will have about 65% (maximum 70%) of their invitees show up on the big day. I know this can be crazy to think about, but your friends and family may have prior commitments, they might not be able to get off work, they might not be able to travel in. To give some perspective, we find if our couples are inviting 200 or less guests they will meet our 150 cap.
2. Have an idea of your budget. I get it, chances are this is the first time dealing with the wedding industry and it’s hard to know what things cost! And the venue is normally the first big number you receive. Sticker shock can set in, but remember that oftentimes a venue includes much more than just a rental so you’ll be able to mark other items off of your list! (For example, the McAlister-Leftwich Experience includes tables, chairs, a Bridal & Groom’s Suite, a custom bar, and more!) Also, getting the best monetary deal on your venue will very rarely yield the best experience for you and your guests. We treat our clients relationally, not transactionally. It’s important to us that our clients feel the same way about their time working with us!
3. Decide on your date and if it’s flexible. If you really love the venue you may be subject to their availability. If that’s the case, have a general idea of the month or season you’re hoping to get married in but go in with an open mind. Many venues, McAlister-Leftwich House included, offer different rates for Friday/Sunday weddings versus Saturday weddings, as well as seasonal rates. And, if you’re looking to get hitched in a hurry, oftentimes venues will give special rates for open dates in the near future (we are running a promotion for Spring 2020 dates right now).
4. Come up with your non-negotiables. Do you definitely want an outdoor ceremony and/or dining? Do you want to get ready on site? Do you want to be close to hotels/trains/airports? Decide on what your non-negotiables are and tour venues that fit those parameters. But don’t have too many or you’ll make your search like a needle in a haystack! Analysis paralysis is real and could definitely kick in if you have too many boxes you are trying to check off in the very beginning. Think through what’s most important to you and your guests and make other items a nice bonus if the venue can fit that criteria. Also keep in mind, some venues have limitations depending on the season (ie, an outdoor venue that can’t accommodate indoor events during the winter months), so be sure you think through the type of experience you want before booking your date. For example, at the McAlister-Leftwich House we can do an entire wedding indoors without the requirement of renting a tent as a rain or inclement weather plan. That isn’t the case everywhere, so make a note of additional costs you might rack up if you do have to implement your “Plan B.”
Remember, you don’t need to have it all figured out right away. Just as the venue can help direct your design decisions, it can also help you direct your guest count, budget, and date (if you’re willing to be flexible). However, taking these aspects of your wedding into consideration will help you choose the right venues to tour and it will help those venues serve you better as you dream up your wedding day together!
See more about events at The McAlister-Leftwich House on their blog.