Choosing your wedding venue is as personal as choosing your spouse
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi! I am Colleen McGrail, the Social Sales Manager at the Diamond Center at the Suburban Collection Showplace. I have worked in the hospitality industry since 2010. As a graduate from Purdue University with a Hospitality and Tourism Management degree, I have known from the start that I loved events, especially weddings. Starting my hospitality career many years ago as an intern, I have experience in all Front-of-House positions and catering positions at wedding venues, golf courses, and country clubs. I have an outgoing personality and a passion for meeting happy couples! I cannot wait to meet you and your significant other and jump into planning your special day.
How did you start?
My favorite part of this position is hearing all the new and creative ideas that brides and grooms come up with. It is fun to problem solve and figure out creative ways to make events spectacular.
I started in the wedding industry in 2010 when I was an intern with a golf course/banquet hall in Indiana. My primary responsibilities were initially in the clubhouse, however after assisting in the banquet area, I was hooked. From that point on I learned all I could about the events world. That is when I discovered my true passion for putting on stunning events, working with wonderful people of all types, and creating special and memorable days for clients. My favorite part of this position is hearing all the new and creative ideas that brides and grooms come up with. It is a to problem solve and figure out creative ways to make events spectacular.
What are the most common questions that couples ask you at the first introductory appointment?
The question I hear most often is, ”Am I forgetting anything?” For most people, this is the first or only wedding they are planning and so it is all new territory for them. I try to be as helpful as possible and take the time to explain all the aspects of planning an event. You never know how much event planning knowledge a client has, so I always try to walk through all the details and clarify as much as I can for the client. I want my clients leaving any meeting with me feeling confident in their event.
What is a wedding venue?
A wedding venue is the location of where the wedding ceremony and reception will be taking place; however, the wedding venue is so much more than that. The wedding venue sets the tone for the style of the wedding. It speaks volumes about the couple and their relationship. We make every wedding as unique as the couple themselves.
How should engaged couples choose a wedding venue among so many options?
I think before viewing any options, the couple should have a conversation about what they want from their venue. Make a list of MUST HAVES and a list of WOULD LIKE TO HAVE. Using these lists will define right off the bat what you need from a venue and what is an added bonus. It also is a great tool when you are making your decision and picking between your top contenders.
How long does it take couples, on average, to find their wedding venue?
This varies depending on the couple. Some couples walk in, see it and know. Other couples like to take more time to weigh the pros and cons. There is no RIGHT or WRONG way of searching for a venue. I would say most couples know after one, or sometimes two, site visits over the course of about a month. If you know that you are an indecisive person, give yourself more time to search and find what is right. Also, I would say your gut is going to be a strong indicator if you have found the right location. You should feel good when you walk into the venue that you want to book.
Are wedding fees generally negotiable?
If so, how should one negotiate the fee for a wedding venue? That depends on the venue.
We do not have room for negotiation with pricing, however, we do have a variety of packages at different price points to accommodate all groups.
With that being said, it never hurts to ask!
What are the things that in your opinion a wedding venue MUST have?
The staff must be wonderful. A wedding is a big deal and no one should ever feel lost or confused. We make sure that you always have a point of contact to be at your side from your initial time seeing the venue, to planning your wedding, to the execution on the day. You also want to be sure that the staff are friendly and happy to be serving your guests on your big day. A warm smile and happy staff go a long way in creating a positive atmosphere for your wedding.
What is your advice for planning a wedding?
ENJOY IT! Planning a wedding is about you and your fiancé. Don’t let the outside pressures and expectations bog you down with stress. This process should be enjoyed.
ENJOY IT! Planning a wedding is about you and your fiancé. Don’t let the outside pressures and expectations bog you down with stress. This process should be enjoyed. Of course, there is planning and decisions to be made, but at the end of the day, this whole process is so that you can celebrate the love that you have for your significant other with your closest friends and family. No one will remember that small detail that sticks out to you, instead, they will remember how beautiful the bride looked or how glowing the groom’s smile was, how they danced until they thought they would drop. Take a breath and enjoy your day!
What was the most memorable wedding you had at the venue?
We had a large wedding with beautiful décor in 2017. Their theme was to bring the outdoors inside! They had a faux garden and ivy wall and created a garden entrance, complete with winding golden gateway. The most memorable part of the wedding was when it came time to cut the cake. They had their cake suspended from the ceiling on a floral table and lowered onto the dancefloor for the couple to cut. It was definitely a wow moment!