Tightly working with a wedding venue can change the course of your wedding planner career. But as a new wedding planner, it can be hard to break into the industry. Venues are often the linchpin to a planner’s success. That is why it is super important to make the best impression when you’re on their turf. Today we have a special guest blogger, Melanie of Carolina Country Weddings, sharing her wisdom as a venue coordinator.
Working with a Wedding Venue
Building and maintaining a positive working relationship with venues is vital to your long-term success as a wedding planner. Here are some tips for successfully working with a wedding venue.
Here are some concrete ways to create mutually beneficial relationships with a venue:
- Request a site visit. Even if you don’t have a client booked at the venue yet, many venue owners/managers will appreciate getting to know you as a person. You may learn of collaborative opportunities just by visiting the venue and expressing interest.
- Communicate the timeline for each event you are executing at the venue. Not all venues require this, but most will be so appreciative of the additional information. At my venue we want to make you successful. Communicating details with us in writing helps us help you. Be clear, concise, and considerate of the venue manager’s time. We will love you for it.
- To get your foot in the door, plan, execute, and publish a styled shoot. We have a hard rule about not recommending vendors who have not previously worked an event at the venue. A styled shoot is a great way for the venue to get to know your work. Once published, the styled shoot gets you in front of the venue’s clients.
- Be appreciative of the ways the venue worked well to support you and your event. Let them know you enjoyed working at the venue and would like to work at the venue again.
- You have to earn your spot on a venue’s preferred vendor list. Don’t ask to be placed on the list in a cold call or email. Just don’t. There is no substitute for consistent, solid execution of events.
As in all relationships, being gracious and kind costs nothing but adds tremendous value in promoting goodwill. Being professional in attitude and action will get you the notice you deserve.
Respect the property, venue policies, and the clients’ contract with the venue. As the planner/coordinator, it is your responsibility to know the venue’s policies as well as the specifics of your clients’ contract with the venue. Don’t just take the clients’ word on essential details such as time of venue opening, closing, length of reception, and permissibility of candles or sparklers. Most venues have strict policies concerning décor installation. Familiarize yourself with these policies and then abide by them. Damaging the property by adhering décor using unapproved methods or allowing your event to run past the agreed upon time frame will result in you not being recommended by the venue to their clients. Know their policies!
If you disagree with a venue policy or don’t understand the need for it, please discuss in advance with the venue manager. Venue owners don’t wake up one morning and decide to make a list of onerous policies just to make your life difficult. Often behind the restrictions are valid reasons that may not have occurred to you. When I was just getting started, I amended my venue contract and policies after every difficult event to thwart repeat experiences.
It is never in good taste to throw another vendor under the bus venting to your client. Be the professional. Treat the venue, policies, and staff with respect and respect will be shown to you.
Leave 5-star reviews and credit the venue location on all social media posts. Little annoys venue owners/managers more than to see a post without the venue tagged or location cited. Showing the venue some love online will make you stand out and is always appreciated. Glowing reviews and social media posts have the added bonus of improving your relationship with the venue.
If there was a problem related to the venue, please calmly discuss with the venue owner or manager a few days after the event. It is possible that the owner will greatly appreciate your candor. As event professionals, we all have the same goal: that our events run smoothly with happy, satisfied clients and guests. Personally, I welcome honest feedback because it helps me improve my business. I want to know about issues that arise at the venue. While that may not be the case with every venue, don’t assume the worst when dealing with a venue manager who isn’t receptive to feedback. Venues commonly are “blamed” for issues over which the venue has no responsibility or control. Take the high road. Be reflective and open to the possibility that you actually contributed to the problem. Ultimately, it is your choice whether to bring your clients to the venue in the future.
Posting a negative or lackluster review should only be used as a last resort reserved for the absolute worst experiences. Anyone can have a bad day, venues included. The venue is more than physical property. There are real people who have invested of themselves in the success of the venue. You will achieve success in your own business more quickly by staying positive.
Want to be loved by a venue and on their short list? Stay top of mind by actively cultivating relationships with your favorite venues. Be respectful of the property, venue policies, and management and staff. And leave a kind word about the venue for others to see online.
Wishing you success as you build your wedding planning business!
We are a family owned business, Carolina Country Weddings, and we love helping our brides customize their wedding day to be exactly what they’ve dreamed. We would love to discuss your wedding day with you, and invite you to set up a private appointment to come visit the property.