Wedding planning can be fun and exciting, but the decision making can be overwhelming.
Perhaps the biggest decision is choosing the right venue. Viewing the venue is a must, but there is also other key information you should gather before making your decision.
The first step is setting up a site tour. On the site tour you should not only visualize your big day, but also take note of all the venue has to offer to see if it can meet your needs and fit your budget.
This guide will take you step by step and help you to book a wedding venue that checks all the boxes.
Booking a Tour: How to get started
Scheduling a wedding site tour is quick and easy. Most venues are listed on major wedding websites, or they can be contacted using their business website.
Once you contact Bear Creek to schedule a tour, the staff will respond within 24 hours and electronically send you a wedding package. This provides you with a general overview of the banquet space and costs.
Preparing for the tour
If the venue does give you any information prior to your tour, it is vital to look it over thoroughly; preparing any vital questions you may have.
The main purpose of the tour is to take in the aesthetics, so you want to make sure you have all key questions and concerns already thought out and written down.
Tip: Book a weekend tour if possible. This allows you to see other setups live. Bear Creek operates year-round and ski lodges convert into elegant ballrooms. See the beautiful transformation for your own eyes.
Taking a Tour: What to note while viewing the venue
Most venues are allowing in-person site tours now. Virtual site tours are just as valuable but physically putting yourself in the space will help you be able to visualize your big day.
At Bear Creek tours are about 1.5 hours where you will see each space as well as meet your coordinator, who will be assisting you all the way up to your special day.
Viewing Reception Rooms
Taking note of ballroom capacity ensures there is enough room for not only your guest count, but additional items you may want to add such as a candy bar, dessert station, or photo booth.
Bear Creek has three ballrooms that can accommodate various size functions. Even if you are still in the planning stages, it’s worth mentioning to the coordinator any extra space that might be needed; they have worked with enough room layouts to provide you with valuable feedback.
Most venues also keep photo books on hand from previous weddings. Ask your coordinator to look through them. They may help refine an existing idea, or even spark a new one.
Tip: Take note of the venue’s natural décor. Many venues already have a certain aesthetic and feel to them. Keeping your wedding décor aligned with the style can make a little go a long way if you’re on a tight budget.
Viewing Ceremony Sites
If you are interested in having your ceremony on-site, there are two important questions that nobody wants to address but are an absolute must.
After falling in love with the outdoor site, be sure to ask if there is an inside option. Wedding venues are beautifully designed, so having a ceremony indoors can be just as breathtaking in the event there is inclement weather.
Even if you do book an outdoor space for your ceremony, ask what the backup plan is. Storms roll in at the last minute, so asking how the venue would respond to this type of situation can give you peace of mind.
Tip: Know what to wear to a wedding venue tour. Taking a walk-through of venues like Bear Creek that have multiple banquet spaces spread out across the resort premise can take up to an hour. It’s ok to keep it casual and save the heels for the aisle.
Understanding Pricing: What to look for in a wedding package
To help you pick a wedding venue that’s right for your budget, look at Food and Beverage costs.
Although you have to budget for photographers, DJs and wardrobe items, the catering attributes to the majority of your wedding cost.
Check with the venue to see if the wedding package is priced per person or if there are minimums. Depending on how large or small your wedding is plays a big factor in how the pricing module will ultimately impact your budget.
Tip: Take advantage of tasting invites. Some venues host tastings so the bride and groom can have a first-hand taste at food options for their wedding day. Bear Creek hosts a tasting for all couples who book with them. The resort allows the Mr. and Mrs. to invite up to 4 additional guests at no cost.
Discussing Coordinating Services: What will make your special day stress-free
Setup and Breakdown
Ask if the venue provides setup and breakdown services. If they do, that’s one less thing you have to worry about.
If you don’t have a wedding planner to do all the work, a lot of the responsibility falls onto the bridal party and family members. The wedding day is busy from start to finish, so finding a venue like Bear Creek that provides setup and breakdown services takes that stress away.
If your venue does not provide those services, make sure to ask how much time is allotted for setup. You want to make sure your wedding is set perfectly, but you also want everyone to have enough time for hair and make-up.
Tip: Most couples have plenty of help prior to the wedding, but don’t forget about packing up at the end of the night. Make sure to enlist people to help you pack up. Leaving this tiny piece of the puzzle to chance can cause a lot of extra work for the bride and groom on their special day.
Bridal Party Suites
Find out if the venue provides a private room for the bridal party to get ready. Let your coordinator know how big the wedding party is to ensure you will have enough space.
Bear Creek provides private rooms for both bridesmaids and groomsmen on the day of the wedding.
After the ceremony is over, these private rooms stay open for bridal party access only. Servers keep them filled with hors d'oeuvres and drinks, and they are a secure place to keep personal belongings throughout the night.
Tip: Bear Creek has an on-site spa which offers bridal services. It also makes the perfect spot for the bridesmaids to relax all day before the party begins!
Lodging and Dining Options
If you have family traveling from afar, check to see if the venue provides lodging. Bear Creek has a 116-room on-site hotel and offers special rates to those in the wedding group block.
It’s also convenient if the venue can accommodate rehearsal dinners and breakfast gatherings. Depending on how far your guests have to travel, having everything in one spot makes the entire weekend a lot less stressful.
Tip: Many weddings at Bear Creek book the loft suite, which sleeps up to 12 guests. It allows the bridal party to spend some time together, while also giving ample space to store all necessary wardrobe items and accessories.
Sometimes the night is just too good to end. Many venues provide late night options or have an on-site bar to keep the fun going.
Bear Creek has two late-night bar options. Let the celebration continue!
Tip: Venues that provide transportation services can also be a huge benefit in case there are any nearby bars.
Setting the Date: When to book a wedding venue
There is no rule of thumb when it comes to booking a date, but there are a few things to consider.
Most couples book 1-2 years out to allow enough time to appropriately plan and give guests notice.
However, if you do have a specific date that you are set on, let the coordinator know to see what can be worked out.
After a Bear Creek site tour, the coordinators will write up a proposal with the estimated cost. If you are interested, send the signed contract over within two weeks and your special day will be booked! There is no need to bring a check book on the day of your site tour or feel pressured to decide that day.
Tip: Most venues will not hold dates. Although you should take time to decide which venue is right for your wedding, keep in mind that prime days go quickly.
Viewing venues can be time consuming, so you want to make sure you gather all necessary information and receive answers to important questions while you’re on premise. Now that you are fully prepared, it’s time to say “I do” to a venue.
Ready for a site tour? Contact us to schedule a tour and see the beautiful mountain views and rustic décor that could make your wedding day unforgettable.
Print out the Wedding Venue Checklist and bring it with you to your site tour. It will keep you organized and ensure you take note of all important details.