Image by Daniel K Cheung via Emma and Justin’s Sydney Library Wedding

When you book your fabulous wedding reception venue, you took a walk-through with the site manager, catching your breath over the gorgeous gardens, checking out the bridal suite where you can just see yourself getting ready and posing for photos, and generally checking the place out. But that’s not the only walk-through on your To-Do list.

Consider it essential to schedule tours of your wedding site with your top wedding vendors, so that you can do some real brainstorming about decor ideas and so that your experts can show you exactly what they’ll do to transform your wedding spot into the vision you desire. Yes, even if the vendor says he or she has done weddings there before. They may know the layout of your venue, they may have done a hundred weddings there before. But they’ve never done your wedding. So if a vendor initially says, “We don’t need to do that,” answer with, “Yes, we very much need to walk through the reception site together.” A quality professional won’t mind. Discerning brides ask for this personalized site scouting all the time, and many vendors take the lead in scheduling them.

Here’s who you need to schedule a walk-through with, and what you can accomplish during your tour:

Your Entertainers: You thought I was going to start with your wedding coordinator, didn’t you? I’m starting with your DJ or band leader, because this is the vendor category that most brides and grooms don’t think about. But I have it from top wedding entertainers that they want to tour the site with you, talk about where you’d like them to set up if there’s no stage present. They want to assess the ballroom for its current design — an important factor since some venues change their flooring, their wall colors, their chandeliers and wall lighting on a frequent basis. During a wedding I attended, I was a bit taken aback when recessed lighting all around the ballro0m blinked purple and pink during the dancing hours of the reception… a somewhat gaudy lightshow that clashed with the couple’s wintry blue and white lighting effects on the dancefloor. An excellent wedding entertainer will know to check for these kinds of things first, then show you the areas of the room that would best be enhanced by their specialty lighting effects. They can also spot the ‘blank spaces’ in the room that would remain dark and shadowy — and effect-wrecking — without a little touch of color via uplights the entertainment pros would design and install. With your entertainer by your side, you’ll discuss speaker placement, too, so that grandma isn’t seated right next to the mega-speakers pounding their bass rhythms all night.


Image by photogroup via Melina and Manuel’s Summer Italian Wedding

Your Caterer: If you’re bringing in your own caterer to a unique location, like a museum or gallery or estate home, the caterer absolutely has to check out the kitchen for counter space and especially for the width of the refrigerators and ovens. Caterers use extra-wide trays to prepare those thousands of appetizers and hundreds of entrees. If your site doesn’t have caterer-quality refrigerators or ovens, your pro will have to make some adjustments. If the kitchen isn’t suitable, your caterer may require you to book a tent outside where the food prep will take place. And at an outdoor wedding, or your at-home wedding, your caterer will advise you about tent locations, power needs and more. You’ve booked a sensational chef whose work is delectable…but only if he or she can cook it, and chill it, and have room for her staff to plate and finish it.

Your Photographer and Videographer: These pros may have worked your site before, but a quick walk-through lets you design your must-get shots, choose your backdrops, save time on your wedding day by nixing any stereotypical running d0wn a hill holding hands shots. Some couples set their engagement portrait sessions at their reception sites, if available, so that they can save time and money by planning this session with a design-eye walk-through afterward.

Image via Form Over Function. You can find out more about this table scape on the Form Over Function Facebook page!

Your Floral Designer: Never mind the full portfolio of his wedding designs at your chosen locale. Your floral decor dreams come to life when you tour the spot with your floral expert, pointing out where garlands should be, which trees will be the spot for your outdoor ceremony and how you’d like them decorated. Your pro will likely delight you with additional inspirations, making this meeting a springboard for your fabulous wedding style.

And of course, your wedding coordinator, who will oversee your design wishes, talk with you prior to any rushed rehearsal about where your ceremony will be, or how you’ll make your grand entrance into the room. Your coordinator also has an eagle-eye for details at the site, pointing out to the site manager that the fireplace needs to be swept of ashes prior to your wedding day, or that a barrier needs to be set up at a dangerous spot near a walking bridge so that your child guests aren’t in any peril. Top-notch pros see these sorts of needs, and what you see will be handled courtesy of your wedding coordinator’s authority.

Taking these tours gives you priceless peace of mind and an even greater decor style than you originally envisioned, smoothing the way to a perfect wedding day. So book your walk-throughs as soon as you can.

Ms Gingham says: Great advice. The best way to make our event run as smoothly as possible is contact and communication with your vendors!

About Sharon: Sharon Naylor is the author of over 35 wedding books, including her newest: “Bridesmaid on a Budget”, “Smart Guide to Wedding Weekends”, and “1001 Ways to Save Money and Still have a Dazzling Wedding”. Her two books for the mothers of the bride and groom are bestsellers, and she has appeared on such top shows as Good Morning America, ABC News, Lifetime, Inside Edition and more – sharing tips and insider secrets to help you plan your dream wedding on a budget, personalized to your love story. Visit her site Sharon Naylor for more on her books, free worksheets and appearances. She lives in Morristown, NJ with her husband Joe and is at work on her next two wedding books.

Read more by Sharon here.