A site visit may seem like an unassuming event, but it’s a critical one you should not skip.
These venue walk-throughs will give you insight and clarity on a number of different matters that have a tendency to cause issues if not thought out thoroughly. Sometimes the smallest little detail could make the event a living nightmare. A site visit allows you to getter a better idea of the space you’re working with and helps you visualize the flow of the event. This is also your opportunity to meet the venue coordinator. You will get a feel for how involved or not so involved they will be on the day of the event. This is also the time to ask them about their rules and policies and double-check to make sure you are both on the same page.
Essential Site Visit Documents
Venue coordinators like to know their schedule well in advance, so when you schedule this appointment try to give them a buffer of at least 30 days before the wedding. So, this means I contact my venue coordinator 60 days before the wedding. This appointment will take about an hour, and you should have a few key documents with you when you do this walk-through. Today I’m going to share with you what they are, but first, let’s discuss just a few of the basics.
What Is a Site Visit?
A site visit is a brief walk-through of the venue, usually with a representative or salesperson associated with that venue. The site visit allows you to see the space itself, ask more detailed questions, and to make sure what your client is telling you about the venue adds up.
Why We Do Site Visits
We do site visits because we want to get a feeling for the space we’re going to be working in. We look at the wedding day flow as a whole to make sure the space will accommodate all the moving pieces of the wedding.
Document #1: Your Timeline
Make sure you bring the wedding day timeline with you to this meeting. Go over the timeline event by event. Actually walk the timeline at the venue to make sure all the event times are as accurate as can be. Be sure to put yourself in the shoes of a guest and make sure the timing works for them too. Take a careful look at the time between the ceremony and the cocktail hour. There can be a funky transition if the ceremony is at a different location, so account for that awkward time in your schedule. Review vendor times as well and make sure their space won’t be impeded.
Document #2: Your Client Inventory Worksheet
I have all my clients fill out a very detailed inventory worksheet. This way, I know what the expectations are way before the wedding day. For example, they might be wanting to bring in a barn door for the outdoor ceremony. We should look at the space to see if it can accommodate such a piece. If it can, then I would ask, “Who’s setting it up (groom, friend, vendor)?” and determine the logistics for the piece. I want to know the plan well in advance. This worksheet also allows me to see if I need to hire an another assistant to help with décor.
Document #3: Your Layout Diagram
For you to visualize the space properly, you need to understand the specs. My go-to layout designing software is Allseated. Now, I have also heard good things about Merri, but I have never personally used this program. I suggest trying them both out to see which one best suits your taste. Having a layout at the time of the site visit will help you determine if the client’s vision is truly possible in the space provided. Things like table placement, guest flow, dance floor position, and personal inventory are all examined and compared against this layout. You might need to make adjustments to the layout after seeing the space.
Document #4: Your Site Visit Checklist
I created my own site visit checklist so that I wouldn’t have to remember to ask certain questions with both client and venue coordinator. I’m all about learning from past experiences and so when something unexpected happened at a wedding, I would write it down and put it on my site visit checklist. Things like asking about electricity and trash made it there pretty quickly, but the more weddings I did, the more I relied on this checklist so I’d always have the information right on hand. You can find my site visit checklist here so you don’t forget anything major.
Site Visit Documents Last Words
All right, yes, site visits are important, but how you utilize your time at the venue will determine a successful wedding. When you go on a site visit, you should have these four documents with you and be ready to use your Timeline, Inventory Worksheet, Layout, and Site Visit Checklist. If you’re feeling lost as to where to start, check out our Wedding Management Wedding Planner Kit. You’ll find all of these site visit documents in this kit. Last piece of advice: know the parking situation at the venue. Is it going to be difficult for guests? Talk with the venue coordinator to discuss some solutions.