The sooner you have a "guess-timate" of the guest count established, the least likely it will be that you waste money on deposits on venues that won't be large enough or even a waste of space. Your choices are limited finding a venue that will hold more than 200 people. Most brides and grooms tell me they are expecting 150 people. You might think you know how many people will show up until you talk to your parents and they start spreading the word!
In some cultures, there really is no way to know how many people are going to show up, so let your caterer know about this. So by all means have a lot of space in this situation. There's nothing worse than having your event shut down due to exceeding capacity!
This is important!!
Speaking of capacity and those numbers that they put on the walls telling you how many people can be in that room, in industry terms, it means reception style. Reception style is when EVERYONE is standing and there are no tables and chairs. I know, it sounds like the opposite just like having to obtain a banquet permit which is actually for serving alcohol that you have bought. The human form takes 2-3 times as much space seated as it does standing. There's your first visual on that difference. The human form also needs a minimum of 18 inches to navigate between items of furniture. You'll be happier with much more than this at a reception.
Horror stories that I've actually seen and heard about:
1. A bride sent out her invitations before she put down her deposit on the venue. They fell in love with the venue and got stars in their eyes. A wedding coordinator who is hired to do a full-planning would have never let that happen or stand back and think, "What?!"
2. Don't just think that it will be okay! Be realistic. Everyone wants to enjoy the festivities and not be craning their necks to see what is going on.
3. See if your venue has supporting beams that will block your guests' vision. Those among other things cannot be changed!
4. Please have all your guests in one reception room! This is such a downer! Your guests will feel like 2nd class citizens in a smaller room. Again a Wedding Coordinator who would be in on the full-planning process from the start, would never suggest this.
It is because of these and many other situations that many wedding coordinators, truth be told, dread some day-of-coodinations. We're stuck with decisions that have already been made unadvisedly by a client and there's no turning back. Wedding Coordinators in some respects have a crystal ball. Most of the time we know what might be a problem. It's not always a problem with a bride's decision. On the other hand, there are some venues, plain and simple think they can just open their doors for weddings like any other event. Weddings are different. I'll say this again Weddings are different! If a vendor or venue does not live, eat and breathe weddings, perhaps they should reconsider weather or not they should provide services for weddings.
One of my next posts will be about choosing a venue. Warning! It's going to be a long one!
Wishing you the greatest of days!!
Greatest of Days
Event and Wedding Planning, Design and Officiating
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