With nearly 40% of engagements happening during the 4-month stretch between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, we can bet either you or someone you know is currently navigating their Wedding Planning Checklist. If you’re reading this, you’ve likely already envisioned your wedding, created a budget, and have selected the wedding date/time and are currently researching the perfect venue to fit your vision. Here are some tips to help you interpret your venue contract and ensure you have no surprises after you say, “I do.”
SPELL IT OUT.
We cannot emphasize this enough – get EVERYTHING in writing. When you sign on the dotted line you are committing yourself to exactly what is included in your contract so read the fine print. Look for things like service charge, taxes, based on consumption fees, clean-up charges, non-preferred vendor costs, labor, parking, insurance requirements, and cancellation policies. Ensure that your event date, time and location are all correct. Confirm that your contract times include setup and clean-up time especially if you are bringing in your own décor, centerpieces, or personal items. If you will be getting ready on-site, be sure that your contract includes a specified allotted space and time. Planning an outdoor soiree? Make sure you have a designated back-up location in the event of rain. Understand the damage policies thoroughly as there may be charges for use of confetti, glitter, rice, open flames, helium balloons, or affixing decorations to walls or ceilings. We strongly suggest designating either your wedding planner or a trusted friend/family member to conduct a pre and post event walk thru to ensure any damages are pointed out immediately.
SORRY, YOU’RE NOT ON THE LIST.
Before you sign a contract with any vendor including your caterer, DJ, florist, photographer, or decorator, review your venue’s vendor guide. What does the venue provide complimentary? Do they have a list of preferred or exclusive vendors? Is there a charge for using a vendor not on their list? Are there additional insurance requirements for using a non-preferred vendor? If you are utilizing a full-service venue, what are the benefits of booking a vendor through the venue vs. booking the vendor yourself?
REPONDEZ S’IL VOUS PLAIT.
Many venues will require you to provide a guaranteed (GTE) guest count a minimum of 72 hours in advance. This ensures that the caterer has prepared enough food and beverage for a flawless dining experience and you have enough tables and chairs to accommodate your guest list. Once you have provided a guaranteed count, food and beverage orders are placed so typically this number cannot be decreased. Take note of these deadlines when preparing your invitation response cards and allow an extra week or two for following up with guests that haven’t responded timely. Be sure to check the contract for information regarding how to handle guaranteed guest count changes and if there are additional fees associated for last minute adjustments. Many caterers and venues prepare only for the guaranteed count to eliminate waste, so if you feel there may be guests that decide to show up unannounced you may want to add a few extra numbers to your guarantee.
PAY IT FORWARD.
Get the venue payment policy in writing and be sure you understand it completely. What is required to secure your hold on the space for your event? How often are payments required and how much will they be? What happens if you are unable to make your payment on the designated date? Is there a grace period? What is the policy for adding things on-site (i.e. power drops, additional linens, extended beverage service)? Will you need to have a credit card on file for last minute add-ons? Remember that sometimes the unthinkable does happen and you want to be protected so have a firm grasp on the cancellation and damage policy. We urge all bridal parties to consider investing in a wedding insurance policy to make certain that in the event of the unimaginable, the burden won’t carry over as you embark on your new life together.
Sign On The Dotted Line
You’ve read the contract thoroughly, asked all of your questions and received the answers in writing, reviewed the vendor policies, established your necessary deadlines, and have a documented payment plan. Now you can sign on the dotted line and rest easy that your special day has been setup for a perfect happy ending.
We’re ending this week with a Flashback Friday from March 2014 when we welcomed Daher-Socata as they unveiled their brand new TBM900.
A red carpet arrival awaited guests outside of the North Hangar complete with Vintage Flight Attendants and Swing Dancers (Blade Agency) as they arrived by motorcoach. Greeted with butler passed champagne and sumptuous hors d’oeuvres including Smoked Chicken & Caramelized Onion Cornets with red onion creme fraiche, Bacon-Wrapped Potato Tots with sour cream and chive, Grilled Cheese Sliders on mini country toasts with brie, fig jam and rosemary butter, and Braised Short Ribs on Corn Cakes with demi glace, fried shallots, chives and sour cream from Puff ‘n Stuff, guests took to the dance floor moving to the music of the 8th Army Air Corp Orchestra and the Fantasy Angels an Andrews Sisters Tribute.
Post cocktail hour, attendees savored the exquisite food stations including Pan Seared Mahi Mahi with lemon basil risotto, blood orange reduction, and lemon gremolata, Rose Chicken Towers with smoked raspberry and chipotle roulade served on grilled corn with peach and poblano salad, Bastille Salad offering grilled hearts of romaine and a selection of toppings including shaved cantaloupe, julienne prosciutto, grilled chicken, marinated artichoke hears, diced tomato, pickled red onion and a red wine vinaigrette and a tasty Specialty Pasta Station featuring Caprese Orecchiette, Cavatelli in bleu cheese cream with caramelized onions, and Gemelli Chardonnay with spring peas, mushrooms, and roasted tomatoes in a Chardonnay cream sauce.
As guests dined on their desserts of raspberry chocolate noir tortes, chocolate-dipped strawberries, macaroon lollipops coated with crunchy ground pistachios and the chef’s selection of petite luxuries presented in parfait style glassware they were once again entertained by the 8th Army Air Corp Orchestra, Fantasy Angels, and Swing Dancing Couples all leading up to the main event. After a brief introduction from the CEO, the new TBM900 was unveiled via a Kabuki Drop staged by American Audio Visual followed by a fly-over including (3) brand new TBM900s being delivered to their new owners and landing right on the Fantasy of Flight legendary grass runway. Guests were able to spend the rest of the evening enjoying the dance floor, admiring the fastest single engine turbo prop aircraft on the market, and of course enjoying a few cocktails in the process.
Here is a clip highlighting this flash from the past!
Looking to launch your next product at Fantasy of Flight?
We love it when clients give us a little freedom to produce a WOW moment! Our team was so lucky to work with a prominent watch company to help launch a new luxury product to a select group of VIP customers in their Central Florida market. With a group of only 20 guests, we wanted to offer a lot of drama while still ensuring an intimate feel. The juxtaposition of this modern acrylic table, mirrored planter boxes filled with white hydrangeas and white roses, (Wizard Connection) clear chiavari chairs and glass chargers, (A Chair Affair) finished with white shantung linens (Connie Duglin Linens) made a visually interesting contrast inside the vintage military WWII B-17 Room.
Guests were greeted inside the main lobby by the Fantasy Angels an Andrews Sisters Tribute (The Blade Agency) with a champagne toast and signature cocktails (recipe below) before embarking on a journey through our Immersive Environment. Delicious butler passed hors d’oeuvres by Puff ‘n Stuff included Eggplant Croutons topped with honey roasted tomato, Kalamata olive and pine nut tapenade, and Feta cheese served inside Early Flight, a Moody Forest Strudel with wild mushrooms and bleu cheese served inside the German bunkers of WWI, followed by Ahi Tuna with mango salsa and pomegranate seed served on a lotus root chip inside our WWII Briefing Tent.
This VIP group then made their way through a real B-17 bomber before exiting right to their waiting table. Serenaded once again by the acapella trio during a first course of Cucumber Ring Salads filled with mesclun greens, pickled beets, red onion, shaved parmesan, champagne vinaigrette and finished with an Asiago chip. A brief intermission between courses allowed guests to experience the North Hangar collection including the P-51 C Mustang, Ford Tri-Motor, Short Sunderland, Benoist, and of course everyone got to test their piloting skills inside the cockpits of our Corsair Simulators – always a big hit!
Upon returning to the WWII B-17 Room, visitors finished their meal of Porcini Crusted Filet and Sea Bass accompanied by a potato faux pear before welcoming the Fantasy Angels back for another performance leading up to the unveiling of the newest luxury watch in our clients collection. Guests continued to enjoy a scrumptious dessert and gourmet coffee as they perused the new wares before departing.
Intimate or Grand . . . First Class All The Way! No matter the size of your event, we can assure you that your guests will receive a first class experience.
Create your own VIP moment at home! Try this delicious drink offered to these VIP guests served on the rocks at your next cocktail party. We know you’ll love it!
Signature Cocktail Recipe
2 oz, Makers’ Mark Bourbon
1/2 oz, Grand Marnier
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz, Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Dash Sprite
Lemon Peel for garnish
Want to host your next VIP event at Fantasy of Flight?
Bride (Courtney) and Groom (Kyle) from this December wedding selected our Art Deco Compass Rose & Lounge as the backdrop for their intimate wedding celebration. Guests dined on Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, Antipasto Skewers, and Mini Chicken Egg Rolls while enjoying a hosted Beer & Wine service during cocktail hour.
Guests then made their way into The Lounge to enjoy a buffet dinner featuring a Herb Crusted Prime Rib Carving Station, Baked Potato Bar, Chicken Breast with Asparagus, Bacon, and Triple Cream Brie Sauce, Mixed Green Salad with Roasted Pecans, Red Onions and Pears served with Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette and of course Wedding Cake. A black and gold color scheme including gold chargers, black linens, Art Deco banquet chairs, and beautiful white rose centerpieces completed the space for a cozy celebration.
Congratulations Kyle & Courtney! We wish you the best on your journey as husband and wife!
As we like to say, Intimate or Grand – First Class All The Way! You don’t have to be throwing a large scale soiree to host your event at The Venues at Fantasy of Flight.
Interested In Hosting Your Wedding At Fantasy of Flight?
Every good party, needs great entertainment! The Venues at Fantasy of Flight works with vendors that are experts in keeping the party going all night long! We invite you to learn more about our “Friendors” and how they help us create your once in a lifetime event!
Today, we spotlight an entertainer who injects the fun factor in every event!
Xclusive Deejays owner Andy Jimenez has been mixing and creating music since 15 years old for clubs and events throughout New York City. Playing the hottest hits from yesterday and today including all genres and offering so much more than just tunes. Xclusive Deejays also offers photo booths, effects, multimedia screens, lighting, staging, dance floors, and decor.
Andy Jimenez, Owner, Xclusive Deejays
Andy took some time to fill us in on what he sees happening in entertainment and we think you’ll agree that Xclusive Deejays and The Venues at Fantasy of Flight just sound right together.
What inspired you to join the Entertainment industry?
As a young child I can remember when I went to my 8th grade school dance and I saw the dj, I thought to myself, that is going to be me one day.
What makes Xclusive DeeJays different from other entertainment companies?
We keep up with the music hits from yesterday and today. We strive our best to be very communicative with our clients all the time and we are a one stop shop with many services that brides and event specialists are always looking for.
What are some current entertainment trends you are seeing? Have any of them surprised you?
I am seeing a lot of old school things coming back like disco balls and checkered dance floors.
Name (3) things that a planner should keep in mind when determining their entertainment needs.
What questions should a meeting or event planner be asking their entertainment team?
1. Are you fully and properly equipped for a large size event?
2. Other than music do you provide any other services in the entertainment field?
3. Do you work alone or with a assistant?
What do you think is going to be the “next big thing” in terms of event entertainment?
I think there will be more effects. Clients are always looking for that wow factor so I expect more extensive lighting options and effects such as fake fire and artificial snow.
Thanks Andy for taking the time to fill us in on Xclusive Deejays and for being such a great “Friendor”.
Want to host your next event at Fantasy of Flight?