A Critical Puzzle Piece
There are many milestones and puzzle pieces that complete the wedding experience, resulting in your most cherished and memorable day ever. One critical piece we want to talk about is the “Final Venue Walk Through.” This key event occurs between 30 and 60 days prior to your wedding and involves a very in depth meeting with you, the couple, and us, your coordinator. It often does and should include family/parents and the venue coordinator. There are many decisions made, and much time and money spent throughout the planning process leading up to the walk through. But as coordinators, this is our opportunity to meet with the couple, in their location, and really visualize and immerse ourselves in their vision and decision making for the big day. To ensure everyone gets the most out of the final walk through here are our top 5 tips below!
Everyone should be on the same page: It’s important that the right people be at the walk through and the couple and coordinators come prepared. Most walk throughs consist of the coordinator and couple however depending on complexity of day, it could be beneficial to have your other vendors there as well. This can be discussed and planned with your coordinator leading up to the walk through day. Whether using a planning software tool, or paper forms provided by the venue or coordinator, there is often pre-work required before the walk through. These lists will include things like ceremony and reception music, known décor items, draft timeline, seating charts, floor plans and more. It is important that whatever walk through pre-work is requested by your coordinator and venue coordinator be complete beforehand to ensure you get the most out of this time.
Visualize the day from start to finish: This is essential to wedding day success. As mentioned above, this is your coordinators opportunity to immerse themselves in your vision. The only way to do that is to visualize and talk through you entire day, discussing details, wants, and expectations in your event space from start to finish. The goal by walk through date is to have 80% of the planning complete. You have made major decisions on décor, floor plan, linens, dinner style, and timing. Your wedding coordinator will be with you from the start of your day till the end so it’s critical they know the large and small details – where will you get ready, where will you arrive, where will the welcome sign be placed, where will the bus drop your guests off, and so much more. Walk through should start in getting ready space wedding morning or depending on your contract, ceremony space and progress through each step of your day. To set major expectations, the final walk through will take an average of 2-2.5 hours to ensure all info is shared.
Uncover what is still unknown: Another result to visualizing the day from start to finish is uncovering what is still unknown. Often when we do a walk through, we ask a question about the welcome sign, card box, option to repurpose flowers, and we get the answer, “That’s a great question, I don’t know.” As professionals, we are prepared and armed with a thorough list of questions to ask during the walk through to ensure we know all your expectations and details and even help set expectations as needed. These questions will highlight the small details the couple may not have thought about before the walk through. We don’t expect all couples to know it all. You don’t know what you don’t know so a major role of your coordinator is to uncover what is unknown – another benefit of hiring a professional!
Ask Questions: Asking questions is necessary to ensure everyone is on the same page. We always suggest our couple bring a list of questions to the walk through, chunked by event activity (ceremony, cocktail hour, reception). This is their chance to ask their venue and wedding coordinator the lingering questions to finalize decisions or ensure they are staying within venue guidelines. Take advantage of their professional experience, don’t think you have to make the final decision alone if you have questions, and no question is silly! Consider what information your guests might need, what information your parents might need, or what information would help make final decisions. Coming prepared with questions gives you peace of mind you won’t forget to talk about something, and makes it possible to get the most out of your time with all the right people in the room.
Finalize decisions: The last tip is possible as a result of 1-4. After everyone has visualized the day, uncovered the unknown, and asked questions, it opens up the possibility of making final decisions while in the venue space. Your coordinator should make a list of all the open items to review at the end of the walk through. There should be a balance of follow up items and items to close before leaving the walk through. While in the space things like centerpiece design, table placement, ceremony entrance, things that visually are easier to decide, should be discussed before leaving the space. The final walk through should not be rushed and every couple should have the attention and time allocated to discuss and decide those large and small details that give the couple the wedding of their dreams!
The final walk through is something we really look forward to with our couples. It’s a great glimpse of what wedding day will be like, we learn even more about our couples, and we gain confidence in understanding what they really envision on wedding day. This is also a great opportunity for the couple to confidently finalize decisions and feel comfort seeing their decision come to life at the venue. If you get on the same page as your coordinator, talk through the day from start to finish, uncover the unknown, come armed with questions, and make some final decisions your walk through will be a wonderful experience and you will be one step closer to ensuring a stress free wedding day knowing you have done the necessary planning ahead of time and you will be able to leave the actual execution to your vendors so you can enjoy your big day!!