Check out some great event-planning tips from our ISU Alumni Center team. This piece was written by Bry Cain, ISU Alumni Center Program Assistant. For more tips and assistance planning your wedding or event at the ISU Alumni Center, call Brooke, Bry, or Angela at (515) 294-4625 or visit www.isualumnicenter.org.
After saying “Yes!” and answering the easiest question of your life, a newly engaged couple is faced with one of the hardest questions: “Where?”
Picking a wedding venue is arguably one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the planning process, as the environment and the staff can really make or break the experience of the wedding for both the newlyweds and the guests. To guarantee the best experience we’ve created a handy PDF guide for you to take with you when you visit prospective venues. Download a free copy here!
We’ll start with the obvious here: availability.
It’s best to go into the venue with a date range or a season in mind. Going in with a specific date often leads to disappointment. You’ll have better success, and maybe even score a discount, if you’re willing to host your wedding on a Friday evening or the Sunday of a holiday weekend.
Next, what does the rental include?
Is this a reception-only venue or can you host both the ceremony and the reception in the same location? Is it an option for them to be outside? If so, is there a back-up plan? Will there be any other events booked on your day? If so, will they provide signage to direct your guests? What time are you allowed to get in to decorate and what time do you have to be out? Will you have to do any setup? Is there a bridal suite or groom suite you can utilize?
Okay, let’s talk money.
When is a deposit due? When is the final payment due? Do they charge tax? Is there a cleaning fee or other service fee? Are there additional fees or add-ons? Is there a fee if you need to change your date or cancel the wedding?
Lastly, vendors and logistics.
Are there approved vendors you must use? Do they have recommended vendors that can give you a discount? Is there an in-house catering service and is there a minimum? Is there a kitchen that a caterer can utilize? What’s the capacity of the venue? Do they offer any on-site coordination? Who will be your point person the day of the wedding? Are you able to meet with them? Is there parking on-site? Will guests be charged for parking? Do they offer any décor services and are there any décor restrictions?
Check out the whole venue – the bathrooms, the dressing rooms, the lobby, and even the kitchen! Take photos and save them in a folder named after the venue to help keep them all straight. Venues can start to blend together after three or four. Once you decide on a venue, make sure to get everything in writing! The date is not yours until you have a signed contract and most likely a deposit sent in as well.
Of course we want Cyclones everywhere to choose the wedding venues right for them, but we’re a little biased toward one in particular that we’d love you to consider.
How does the ISU Alumni Center stack up when it comes to the categories above? Here are some highlights:
- The Alumni Center has both indoor and outdoor ceremony & reception areas for your use! We also won’t book any other events on your wedding day. This allows us to always have a weather backup location if needed.
- We have an approved list of caterers, and they are all fantastic! We do this because we want to guarantee you have the best experience possible.
- We have a huge parking lot on site! Where else on a university campus can they say that?
- We have event staff that will do all the set-up and tear-down of tables and chairs, empty trashes, coordinate with vendors, and more. You get to simply enjoy the day!
- As a non-profit, we are tax exempt. If we don’t pay tax, you don’t pay tax! We also don’t have any service charges or additional fees. The price you see is the exact price you pay.
Contact us today at (515) 294-1710 for more detail and to schedule a venue tour!
We look forward to seeing you soon,