You’ve said “yes” to the one and now wedding planning begins! It’s time to start looking for a photographer, a caterer, and videographer. But, before you start checking off the to-do list, you have to find the perfect venue for your wedding day! Today, on the Wedding Secrets Unveiled! podcast, we’re interviewing Tiffany Fontes from Kirkbrae Country Club about how to find the perfect venue! Our team has known Tiffany (and her family) for 14 years now, and we’re SO happy she’s here to talk about venue hunting with us today.
I have been working with Kirkbrae Country Club since 2009. Before that, I completed her degree in Hospitality & Event Leadership and worked in Boston on weddings and events. I’m currently the director of weddings and special events at Kirkbrae. My job is to take inquiries and book sales, as well as help plan the events. Typically, I’m onsite for the day of the wedding to make sure everything goes as planned!
How do you handle your role as a wedding and event coordinator for Kirkbrae Country Club?
Unlike a lot of wedding venues, I work with a couple from the beginning of the process through the end. That means I meet them on the initial site tour, help them through the planning process and am onsite on the day of the wedding. I enjoy getting to know the couples and build a relationship with them. And, I like to work with them to help them choose vendors and décor and menu and timeline. My favorite part is bringing a couple into the ballroom before the guests enter the room and having then see their vision come to life. There’s nothing like that!
I totally agree! Okay… onto actually picking a venue. Should couples come into a venue with a specific date already in mind?
I honestly recommend that they don’t. Couples should try to be flexible when considering a wedding day because they could fall in love with a venue only to find out it’s booked on the day they wanted.
Tell us about a preferred vendor list! What’s the deal with them? And are they important?
It’s something we give out to couples after they book with us. But, it’s a list of vendors that a venue recommends. They’re recommended because they are familiar with the venue and people that work there, too. It’s one more way to help make sure your wedding runs smoothly! There are many great vendors in many different categories on the list, so a coordinator can help couples decide who might fit their budget and personalities.
Does pricing for a venue ever change based on the day or season? What else impacts pricing for a venue?
Often times, yes, venues will adjust pricing whether or not it’s off season, the winter months, or a weekday. Usually, those times are cheaper than peak season on a Saturday! But keep in mind that the package you pick, the number of guests, and the menu you pick can all impact your venue’s cost, too. Steak is more expensive than chicken, you know?
What are some pros about an indoor ceremony and celebration?
One of the things I love about working at a venue that’s indoors is that we don’t have to worry about the weather nearly as much! So, its’ definitely something to consider when you’re looking at properties. Ask about the venues both indoors and outdoors, and what the plans or options are for bad weather. Do you also like those spots on the property?
Should couples ask about photo locations on the property?
Absolutely! And if you like them, that’s even better! If you don’t, we recommend working with your photographer to come up with some other options nearby for your portraits. Additionally, if you’re on the fence about a first look, we totally recommend you consider it! It can help keep your wedding day timeline on time.
Can you tell us a little bit about staff turnovers at venues? Should our couples be concerned by that?
Many venues have a high turnover rate because this job is a lot of nights and weekends, which means time away from your family and friends. At Kirkbrae, we have been fortunate to not have a high turnover of management. Many people have worked at Kirkbrae for over 10 years, which is amazing. At Kirkbrae we are more than just a team, we are family and we care about each person’s wedding like it was our own. It’s important to ask on your site tour how long the chef has been there and how long the coordinator has been there and if you can expect them to also be there the day of your wedding. There’s nothing wrong if the turnover rate is higher – but just be aware of it!
You’ve been in the industry for 14 years! Can you give us some tips for wedding planning?
I’ve seen some really fun things on wedding days over the last 14 years. Some of my favorite things have been fun surprise dances with your spouse or parent. Or you can include a special dance from your culture/heritage during the reception. I also love when couples do something super unique – like a brooch bouquet instead of flowers, or a keychain with a photo of someone who’s passed away. Whatever makes your day unique and yours is always a good idea!!
Wrap Up Question!
What are some key points that couples should be asking Venues when they are inquiring to make sure they are choosing the right venue to ensure that their wedding day is a perfect event?
-Who is going to help with planning? And who is going to be there the night of your event?
-Ask venues about indoor and outdoor options along with capacity limits/floorplans.
-How does choosing the menu work?
And remember… Don’t come in trying to plan your whole wedding on the site tour. Focus on picking the venue first, then picking out colors/dresses then focus on table decor centerpieces and so on!
Links Mentioned in the Episode
You can find Tiffany: Instagram
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