Friday, November 7, 2014

Engagement Season Has Arrived! Now What?

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GUEST POST BY REBECCA STERN, HYATT REGENCY CHICAGO

Photo by Liller Photo

He asked (or maybe you asked, we live in a modern world!) and you said yes! Who do you call first, your mom, your sister, your cousin who will be insanely jealous to find out you got engaged before she did? And who do you call second??? Every wedding venue you can find, of course! Once the reality of the ring has set in and the champagne buzz has worn off, the planning process starts. 

Generally the first item a couple likes to tick off the list is the venue. In a mad dash to get the venue you want and the date you want, a flurry of phone calls start to every venue in a 50 mile radius. Lists are broken down and given to the maid of honor, the mothers and last but not least, the groom. Each of these important folks is making call after call in hopes of finding the ultimate location to host the night of your dreams.

Beginning in late December, we start receiving upwards of 30 calls per week that will start just like this… “I (my daughter, my sister, my best friend, insert general relationship here) got engaged!” But before you have your loyal army of wedding planners call, it’s important to have some key pieces of information to provide the venues with to help us get you the most accurate information. The more information you have, the better equipped we are to provide you with available dates, ballroom options, budget options and general advice to make your wedding dreams come true. You don’t need to have all of your ducks in a row before making these calls… just these three little ducks to help the vision begin to form…

1. Guest Count
This is an extremely important bit of information to have, as it will determine whether or not your wedding reception will fit in our ballrooms. Ranges are perfectly acceptable; just try to keep them within 25-50 or so guests. Additionally, make sure you are considering the number of guests you EXPECT to come to the wedding. Not the number of guests you are INVITING to the wedding. These numbers often vary by 75 – 100 people.

2. Date Ranges
The more date flexibility you have, the better chance you have of actually booking the venue you love.  It can also help in securing lower room rates for your guests. It can be hard finding the perfect storm of availability at the ceremony location (if off-site) and the reception site. If you do have a set date, please be upfront that you are not flexible. Honesty is the best policy, even in wedding planning.

3. Budget
Ahhh, everyone’s favorite topic… money. This is usually one of the first topics to be discussed among families. The budget is a living, breathing, unpopular species that will ebb and flow for your entire engagement. The final budget does not need to be settled, but some sort of ballpark figure is always nice to discuss. Once you fall in love with a venue, it’s hard to find something else if your budget does not fall in line with the venue pricing. 

Once you have these three pieces, you'll be more prepared to talk with (and book) venues and other vendors. And, you can cross a couple big steps off your checklist!


Engagement Fun Fact:
39% percent of couples get engaged between November and February. December is the most popular month to pop the question.



Thank you so much to Rebecca and our friends over at the Hyatt Regency Chicago for all their sage advice!


What was the first think you did after becoming engaged? 

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