In the current 2021 climate, with venues closed and unessential travel not being allowed, virtual Wedding tours are becoming the new thing to do on a Saturday afternoon! But for us, they are actually a thing of the norm! Many of our couples live in a different location to their Wedding, whether it be abroad or in a different county/city and cannot always travel to find their venue. I often set up virtual calls, whether I am at the venue or on the call with the venue and couple. So today I have 10 top tips for you - what I feel would help you get the most out of the virtual tour, so they flow just as well as any I have held in the past.
1. Get yourself set up for your virtual Wedding tour
If you are using a phone, do you have a stand to use? Don’t do a Gemma Collins and use parcel tape to stick it to a shelf, this doesn’t work. Set up a tripod or something to hold your phone in position. Even better, set up your laptop if you have a webcam built in. The idea is that you don’t want to be holding your phone, because your arm will ACHE! This style of viewing can take up to an hour and that will not be comfortable for you and you will zone out!
2. Choose a time you are both available for your viewing
However much you may feel like you are the one taking on the Wedding planning and your partner is happy to leave it to you, deciding on your venue is a big task and you will want your partner to love it as much as you do! Taking the time to attend the virtual viewing yourself AND THEN describing it to your partner can just waste time, and it is difficult to explain a venue without them actually seeing it. Get a time when you can both see the venues, even if they are a busy person, shortlist a couple that you really love that you want them to be at.
3. Have questions ready for the Wedding venue
Think through what you want to ask, viewings aren’t just about seeing a beautiful venue, talk:
· What their processes are
· What you can and can’t do
· If you have to have a certain caterer or menu
· What time the venue closes
You can keep questions about terms and conditions till you have shortlisted your top 2 for example, but questions such as the examples about the catering could potentially put you off or make you love it even more!
4. Don’t use a Google question sheet
Back to point 3, have your questions ready but don’t just download a sheet from google, it’s a good idea to research what are the best questions to ask your venue at a viewing, but don’t use a generic one from America which is completely not relevant to the venue you are looking at!
5. Website/Social Media for Wedding venues
Make sure you are following the venue on social media; this will give you an idea of who they are and what they do and may spark a few more questions to ask during the virtual viewing. Equally, make sure you have had a look through their website, this may be where you have found them in the first place but if not, it is good to always have a look, again, you may think of further questions for them. It may even be that they have a 3D virtual tour online you can view first.
6. Invite your Wedding planner
If you already have a planner booked and confirmed, they most likely would have booked this virtual viewing for you, but if you already had a viewing booked before confirming your planner, ask them to come along as they may think of questions you haven’t asked or may already know the venue and the contact. It also saves you reiterating your ideas and thoughts to your planner once you have seen a venue.
7. Be prepared for technology issues
Technology is an amazing thing and has been an absolute life saver, but don’t forget that it can still go wrong! Make sure you are in a spot with good wifi or signal. The venue should advise which is the best platform to use, ie. Zoom, Skype, Facetime, but if they don’t, ask which works best for them at their venue.
8. Parents/Family/Friends attending viewings
In normal circumstances, you may want to take along your maid of honour or your parents to viewings. I always recommend viewing the venues just the two of you first and then arranging a second viewing once you have shortlisted. If you are planning to wait until you can actually see the venue in person, then I would suggest to wait until this in person viewing to take anyone along with you. If you want to get the venue booked on the back of your virtual tour, arrange a second viewing but I would advise to not have too many people on the call as it can become complicated with people trying to speak etc.
9. Record the virtual calls
If you are using a platform such as Zoom, you can actually record the call (always ask permission from the venue first!) This is a good idea if you are viewing a few venues, you may forget certain elements or answers to questions you asked. Also, this will help with point 8, when you want to ask the opinion of your friends or family, you can send the video across to them.
To reiterate: always ask permission from the venue before recording your tour!
10. Make sure you meet your main contact
It is difficult for venues at the moment with staff on furlough etc, it may be that somebody else has picked up the tour. Ask who it is you are meeting. It is a well-known fact that people buy people! You may meet someone amazing, buy into them because you loved the service so much, and actually they won’t be your contact during the process. This isn’t massively important if you have a planner as well, as they will be doing majority of the communication, but it is always beneficial to have a great relationship with all of your suppliers and I ALWAYS recommend this, even when we are talking about finding your perfect planner. It’s all about relationship!
Nobody is sure how long the virtual tours will be needed, but for now, keep searching, keep booking and keep planning! There are so many helpful tools nowadays to make sure you can still continue with your planning without having to feel it is all on hold while you are so excited to be engaged and want to get planning! We are also offering our 1-1 sessions virtually, giving you support and advice online to help you with anything you need during your planning. You can find out more about this service here.