Planning a wedding or a bar/bat mitzvah is an exciting time filled with anticipation and joy. However, the key to a successful celebration lies not only in the planning and preparation but also in the execution. One crucial element that ensures a seamless event is the event walk-through. In this blog post, we will explain what an event walk-through is and discuss why it is important in creating unforgettable event experiences.
What is an Event Walk-Through?
An event walk-through is a comprehensive review and examination of the event venue, layout, and logistics. It typically takes place 2-4 weeks before the actual celebration, allowing the event planner, clients, and relevant vendors (caterer, furniture rental, DJ, photographer not all need to be there) to assess the space, make necessary adjustments, and fine-tune the details. This walk-through serves as a rehearsal of sorts, offering an opportunity to visualize the event flow and troubleshoot potential issues before they occur.
Benefits of an Event Walk-Through:
- Familiarizing with the Venue: This ensures that the event can be organized efficiently, maximizing its potential and creating a cohesive experience for the guests.
- Identifying Potential Challenges: During a walk-through, potential obstacles or logistical challenges can be identified and resolved in advance. This might include issues such as limited parking spaces, inconvenient room arrangements, or areas with poor acoustics. By identifying these challenges early on, the event planner can find creative solutions to ensure a seamless flow and address any concerns promptly.
- Collaborating with Vendors: An event walk-through allows the event planner to bring all the relevant vendors together and communicate their expectations clearly. Whether it’s the caterer, decorator, DJ, or photographer, having them present during the walk-through ensures that everyone understands the event’s vision, their specific roles, and any specific requirements unique to the venue.
- Customizing the Layout and Décor: The event walk-through provides an opportunity to fine-tune the event’s layout and décor. The planner and clients can discuss the placement of tables, seating arrangements, dance floors, stages, lighting, and other design elements. Making these decisions in advance saves time and minimizes stress on the day of the event, allowing everyone to focus on enjoying the celebration.
- Testing Equipment and Technology: For events like weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs, technology and audiovisual equipment play a crucial role. An event walk-through allows for testing and troubleshooting of sound systems, microphones, projectors, and lighting setups. It ensures that all technical aspects are working seamlessly, preventing any disruptions during key moments such as speeches, performances, or photo presentations.
What Questions Should I ask at a Venue Walk-Through or Tour?
- When can we get in on the day? When do we need to be out? You likely already know this information but it’s good to double check and this is your time to make any adjustments to the timing with the venue that you might need. For example, it’s helpful to work out the venue timing in regards to set-up (I recommend a minimum of two hours and often, more like three to four if you have a lot of vendors and decor) and clean-up (at least one hour at the end of the event).
- Can we drop items off a day early or pick items up the next day? Remember anything you rent from vendors outside of the venue, or anything you’ve purchased and brought from home usually has to be out of the venue by the end of the venue rental window. This can lead to expensive late-night pick-up fees so talk through options like dropping off a day early or picking up a day later and budget accordingly.
- Where’s everything going to go? Ask your venue where they recommend various parts of the event be set up. They’ve done more events in that space than you are and are the experts on knowing the best locations for your items. Depending on your event this might include any of the following:
- DJ’s booth and speakers
- Cake and/or dessert table
- Welcome and/or gift table
- Dance floor
- Photo booth or novelty games
- Decorations- Typically, a venue only needs to know this if you have to remove anything from their walls to decorate and/or you’re bringing in furniture
- Who’s the venue’s contact for the day? This is normally not the same person you booked with. But is often the person you are doing the walk-through with. Ask who will be the contact at the venue on the day and log it in your phone, tell your vendors, etc.
- When can we have our rehearsal here? If you plan to have a rehearsal at your venue then you will want to ask when you can have it if you can have it in that space at all. Some venues charge for you to use the space for a rehearsal, so be aware that there’s no requirement to have your rehearsal in the space where you’re getting married. You also might not be able to have the rehearsal in the space the night before the wedding and it would have to be a day or two beforehand or early in the morning based on other bookings and this doesn’t coincide with your rehearsal dinner plans. Remember you don’t have to do the rehearsal at the venue I’ve done them in hotel lobby’s, rehearsal dinner locations, and even on the sidewalk on the streets of DC!
- Where does the trash go? This is especially important if you’re using an outdoor venue. Venues often have very specific requirements on where trash, recycling, and compost goes. It’s also important to know who would be in charge of taking care of trash.
- Who’s doing the floor plan? Sometimes the venue prefers to do it themselves, but it could be your event planner, or caterer as well. It doesn’t hurt to double-check so you can plan accordingly.
- Do you need vendor insurance information? If you’re bringing in your own catering or even decor the venue might like a copy of their insurance on hand.
- Catering Timeline? This is the time to confirm any timing items related to food including when the caterer is arriving, when the caterer is starting appetizer/cocktail hour/main meal/tea and coffee/dessert service, and when the caterer is departing.
- Do you want mics? Some venues provide mics and a basic sound system for speeches or the ceremony. If they don’t these are items you can work out with your DJ.
- Final Headcount? At the walkthrough your venue might ask you for your final headcount. Or they will tell you when they need it by.
- Walk through the timeline? Now is the time for everyone to walk through the timeline. When are vendors arriving/departing, when will food be served, when will speeches happen, etc. If you’ve hired an event planner they will handle this for you.
- Anything we need to keep in mind for the end of the night? The venue might need certain items put back in certain spots, someone to check in with the on-site contact before all guests leave at the end of the reception, etc.