Venue Questions


Questions to ask when you’re on a site tour for a reception

While there is a lot to ask and consider, here are some of my top questions for a venue.  Have questions, feel welcome to contact me!

-Will you put out the items I bring in?  (place cards, favors, menus, décor, etc.)  If they won’t you’ll have to hire a day of coordinator or take a friend/family member out of the fun to take care of it.

-Am I allowed to bring in my own ______?  (vendors, décor, alcohol, etc.) If you want to have a bottle of a specific liquor for mom for example.  Do you have to use their vendors?  Will they let you decorate how you want?

-What restrictions do they have? (Never know until you ask.  Some places don’t allow candles, confetti, rose petals, etc.)

-What is the standard that is included with the package?  (Do they include linens, chairs, plates, centerpieces, cake, staff, etc.)  Can you see pictures of standard items/set ups?

-What additional costs can you expect?   Tax and gratuity/service charge are a standard additional charge that most people forget and will add 25% plus onto your bill.  Want a screen and projector?  Often that’s additional.   There may be other items, be sure to ask.

-What size tables do they have?  60” is a comfortable size for 10 guests,  72” is comfortable for 12 guests

-What is the server ratio?  For a sit down dinner 1 server per 20 people is a general standard.  Less leads to a slower dinner.

-What is the bartender ratio?  1 per 75 – 100 guests is good depending on the type of group you have.

-Is there a space to store items overnight or does everything need to be removed that night?  If you have any rental items (glass for centerpieces) or DIY items that will be difficult to pack or move it is usually easier to have them stored overnight and pick them up in the morning.  Florists charge a decent amount to come back at midnight to pick up rental items.  Most of the time you, your family and/or friends won’t want to be worried about it at the end of the night and the next day is preferable.

-Is there special pricing for vendors, children and teenagers?  Vendors with you for the day or during dinner (photographer, planner, videographer, dj, etc.) will usually require a meal.  Most places have kids meals at a much lower price.  Sometimes you can get a small discount for teens because they don’t have alcohol which is often included in packages.

-Are there any special offers going on?  Sometimes you can get a complimentary hors d’oeuvre or linen upgrade – never hurts to ask!

Lastly –

*Be sure to get EVERYTHING in writing.  Just because you book with someone doesn’t mean that person will be there for the event or remember everything you discussed.

*If you’re not happy with the standard options, price out what you want and see if your budget can accommodate it.  If not, look at other locations or consider compromises.

*Getting an unexpected answer or one you perceive as negative to one of these questions is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is just something to be aware of and plan for.


June 2015

If you missed our facebook posts from June, here are some of highlights!

June 2:

If you’re looking for something unique, this might be a good place to look!

Antiques of Winfield's photo.
Antiques of Winfield's photo.

Join us for our Vintage and Antique Wedding event. Starts now, ends June 7th. Featuring a wide variety of wedding items on our first floor from several dealers at our mall. There are also several booths that have various wedding items. We even have 6 wedding dresses to pick from! Located in downtown Winfield, we have 3 floors, 6,000 sq ft and 55 dealers bringing you wonderful treasures and much more. Inventory changes daily, never the same place twice. Please share this post and tell your friends about us. See you soon at Antiques of Winfield.

June 4:

How much are you willing to let go and leave to chance?!

Seattle & Vashon Island, WA.Kait and Bobby didn’t have a venue, just a wedding date and a city. When they were both dressed and ready for their ceremony, Kait asked if I could find a place nearby. I walked outside the house we were in….
June 6:

If you’re looking for on location hair and airbrush make up and/or airbrush tanning, I highly recommend looking into Total Image Beauty- Hair, Makeup, and Airbrush Tanning!

Total Image Beauty- Hair, Makeup, and Airbrush Tanning's photo.
June 6:

Had a great time helping Allium set up this fiesta wedding today at the Oak Brook Park District. It’s a great room with 2 patios! If you’re in need of a space, check it out!

Allium's photo.
'These tropical cubes flanked either side of the bar/buffet tables. Birds of Paradise, Gerbera Daisies, Solidago, Craspedia, Spray roses, Kangaroo Paw, Roses, and Dendrobiums complete the look.'
Allium's photo.

Congratulations Jessica & Joey!

June 8:

Gold glitter numbers in the $1 aisle at Target! Great for table numbers!

Jennifer Sutton Events's photo.
June 17: Wedding Tip Wednesday: This is one of the best lists I’ve seen on what to be prepared for that you’re not thinking of! While not all items may pertain to your event, it’s still a great lits to check!…/…/35-hidden-wedding-costs/
June 20:

Had a great time helping Allium Floral set up at Wilder Mansion yesterday! Particularly happy with this candle fireplace I worked on. 4 fireplaces to decorate in there! Keep an eye an Allium’s page for all the pictures!

Jennifer Sutton Events's photo.
 June 24:

Never know where you’ll find a great deal! I love supporting Family Shelter Service at the same time!

'NEW - NEVER WORN.  Size 8.  $125.00'
'NEW - NEVER WORN.  Size 8.  $125.00'
'Back of Gown.
NEW - NEVER WORN.  Size 8.  $125.00'
'Mother of Bride/Groom.  Size 14'

WESTMONT: Bridal gowns! One is brand new – never worn – Size 8. Only $125.00. We have several other bridal gowns on the floor now, including two vintage (not pictured). Also available – Mother-of-the-Bride/Groom gown, a Junior Bridesmaid gown, several veils & a Tuxedo. More details included with pictures.

June 25:

Check out these gorgeous ceremony pews!

DT Vintage's photo.
DT Vintage's photo.

Look what I now own! 8 beautiful 10 foot Lang refurbished church pews! I will be running a package that includes 8 pews, our full stock of crates and barrels, agarden arbor or fabric backdrop of your choice and our full stock of large lanterns for $1000. Email me for more details and to save your date! The pews come with clips for aisle decor.

Pews by Chubby Chic Creations of Athens, Illinois. Check out their Facebook page!

May 2015

Thoughts and Inspiration from our facebook page in May…


Wedding Inspiration Wednesday: SMORES! While these are all the rage as a late night snack at reception halls…have you considered doing a more informal luncheon after your ceremony or even a backyard bbq? Follow it up with a fire pit in your back yard and a custom smores bar! Think outside the standards! Have you considered THIN MINT smores?! I know – pretty awesome. And look for the new square marshmallows!

Fudge Striped Cookie S’mores! It doesn’t get any easier than this!.
May 20:

Wedding Inspiration Wednesday: Some great tips on breaking in shoes and fixes for some common shoe problems.

I’m going to do this for all my shoes.
May 21:

Had a great time meeting with Erik and Dan and touring the beautiful Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown/ Lakefront. If you want to be in the city, consider this property! It is located near everything and gives you a great value. Loved the atrium and live walls!

Jennifer Sutton Events's photo.
May 22:

 96.5 KOIT San Francisco's photo.
May 27:

Wedding Tip Wednesday: looking for an alternative to the unity candle? Or just something different for your ceremony? Here’s an idea

ceremony script for a wedding hand washing unity ceremony

April 2015

Thoughts and Inspiration from our facebook posts in April…

April 13:

What a great way to look at your wedding day! It shouldn’t be stressful and what others want or expect!

In short, I realized that I never cared about registries before, or themed parties, or catering, florists, fancy cakes, or venues. So, why do I…
April 17:

Floral Inspiration Friday: First, I love this! What’s not to love?! It’s a veil of Dendrobium Orchids! But then I start to think…was that a photoshoot? There’s no way that would hold up. The orchids would break and bruise. The cost would be crazy – orchids and the labor of someone sitting and stringing these?! But still….

Romantic Hawaiian Bridal Inspiration: | Photography: Carmen and Ingo –
April 28:

Some really great ideas and yes, it’s ok to do simple!

Even before I claimed the title “minimalist” I sought to have a minimalist wedding. Why? Mainly because I didn’t want the stress of a big production. Planning a

February 2015 Tips & Inspiration

If you missed them on facebook here are my tips and inspirations from February.

February 4: Wedding Tip Wednesday: Let your fingers do the walking! If you’re looking for a reception site, email them and ask to be emailed a package and availability. Once you get packages from places, put together a spreadsheet to easily compare categories such as base price, centerpieces included, wine included, bar length, etc. Need help putting this together? Give me call, I’d be happy to help! You’d be amazed at how easy it is to compare sites when it’s all in black and white. 630-903-0956 or

February 6: Floral Inspiration Friday: Rock Candy in a bouquet?!?! Not sure but I think I kinda like it…What do you think? This bouquet by Flowers by Susan  

February 11: Wedding Tip Wednesday: Placecards, Escort cards…whatever you like to call them – organize them alphabetically! These little cards or line on a poster are meant to help your guests find their seats with ease. When you organize them by table your guests still have to read through everything to find their name. They can still be pretty and creative – but don’t forget the purpose.

February 13: Floral Inspiration Friday: White pomanders hanging from an arch and White petals down the aisle…This beautiful look can be done on a budget! Contact me to find out how! jennifer @jennifersuttonevents.com

February 18: Wedding Tip Wednesday: Planning a wedding and buying a house are 2 of the most stressful things you can do. If you want to do both at the same time, make sure you have professionals that can help you navigate and take off some of the stress! For home buying, I highly recommend The Sue Pearce Team at JW Reedy. Not sure where you stand in the real estate market? They can help you figure out what is going to work best for you!

February 20: Floral Inspiration Friday: Looking to make an inpact but want to keep your budget in check? Consider rental items such as these silk boxwoods! You get the look for a fraction of the cost!  

February 25: Wedding Tip Wednesday: Be prepared for the weather! This February Bride from last year was prepared for anything Chicago weather threw at her! 

February 27: Floral Inspiration Friday: Love all the pastel petals down this aisle!

February 28: A Very Happy 1st Anniversary to Cory & Packy!

January 2015 Tips & Inspiration

If you don’t follow me on facebook here are some of the tips and inspiration I posted about in January 2015.

January 2: Floral Inspiration Friday: Looking for something different but not too different? Check out this bouquet! Fresh flowers complimented by brooches. It’s a great combo of traditional with subtle fun. Looking for more floral and event inspiration? follow me on Pinterest!

January 7: Wedding Tip Wednesday: Wedding shows can be a great place to find vendors and get ideas! Try to find a free small show where you’ll have a chance to actually meet and get to know vendors. A lot of the big “expos” have so many people it’s hard to get basic info. I will be working with Total Image Bridal (on-site hair and airbrush makeup) this Friday and Saturday at the Naper Settlement Bridal Showcase. This free show is one of my favorite small shows. Come by and say hi! PS: I also suggest never paying for a bridal show. Save the money!

January 9: Floral Inspiration Friday: When you’re looking at the awesome pictures you see in magazines and on websites, stop and ask yourself if they’re for real. The flowers may be real but was the arrangement used in an actual event? I’ve seen some spectacular arrangements at bridal shows and in magazines that would never work in real life. Sometimes the scale is huge. As in this picture from the Flower and Garden show at Navy Pier several years ago. Sometimes the flowers only needed to last a for a few photos and would never hold up to the wear and tear of a wedding day. Trust your professionals to let you know what will and won’t work. PS: Don’t forget to come by the Naper Settlement Bridal Showcase tonight from 5:30-9 and tomorrow 10-3. Admission is Free!  

January 14: Wedding Tip Wednesday: Putting together your own ceremony? Be sure to include some meaningful readings and quotes. I love this one! Need help putting together your ceremony? I do 1 time appointments where we’ll focus on the area you need help with.   

January 16: Floral Friday: Does your reception site include centerpieces? If so there is always a way to use them! At this wedding the venue included the glass and candles. Rose petals that matched the bouquets were put inside to add some color and soften the look. Great way to add your own touch and keep the budget in check!  

January 21: Wedding Tip Wednesday: Pinterest. There is a fine line between Inspiration and Overload. When looking through Pinterest, make sure you take the moment to write a note about what it is that you like or don’t like about the picture. Go through and delete as your theme/ideas change. Your vendors often want to see what you’re thinking and this is a great way to show them. Keep in mind, it’s a great place to get ideas but don’t try to copy everything you see – you’ll go crazy and will end up with a mess. Need help navigating your ideas? I’m happy to help!

January 23: Floral Inspiration Friday: It is so cool to watch an artist at work. While floral design may not be what you first think of when you think artist – the great ones truly are. Here’s some Spring Inspiration from Allium. If you’re looking for flowers, she’s my #1 suggestion!  

January 28: Wedding Tip Wednesday: Have some fun and make it creative! This couple designed their own family crest and put it on the cover of their invitations! 

January 30: Floral Inspiration Friday: Corsages don’t have to be on those elastic bands anymore! There are so many great options including pearl or rhinestone wristlettes!

December 2014 Tips and Inspiration

If you didn’t see them on facebook here are my December tips and inspirations.  Be sure to like my page on facebook and get great ideas more often!

Decmeber 5: Happy Floral Friday! This incredible bouquet was created by Allium Floral. I was fortunate to be onsite with the awesome florals at this Fall wedding. If you’re looking for a free consultation for your wedding or event flowers be sure to contact Allium at: 630.890.7137/ If you need help or suggestions with any part of your wedding planning please contact me, I’m always happy to help! DSC_9713

December 10: Wedding Tip Wednesday – At the altar saying “I do” – that’s the goal but can you get there without going a little (or a lot) crazy? First step: Take a deep breath and a step back. I know you’re excited but this doesn’t need to be done in a day or even a week. Write down what you want out of the day. What are your top 3? What do you want to look back on in 10 years and remember? Write these down and look back on them when you start to get overwhelmed with the planning process. And remember – it’s ok to ask for help!


December 12: Floral Inspiration Friday! This bridal bouquet was for a Bears themed wedding. There’s always a way to work your favorite things into your wedding- just ask me how! I designed and made this bouquet for a Weddings by Denise bride a few years ago.

Bears themed wedding with flowers to coordinate
Bears themed wedding with flowers to coordinate

Wedding Tip Wednesday – All these people! Who are they going to be? When writing down your initial guest list, write down everyone you can possibly think of inviting – don’t hold back. Have your fiance, parents and his parents (anyone involved with the guest list) also do this. See where you overlap, see where you surprise each other. It’s much easier to say, we really don’t need to invite Aunt Sally’s next door neighbor, than, AHH we forgot to invite Aunt Sally’s next door neighbor! Do this PRIOR to looking for a reception site.


December 19: Floral Inspiration Friday – It’s the little details that make a difference. This bridal bouquet had 4 charms around the handle, each one with a picture of a grandma who was watching from Heaven. The hankie wrapped around the handle had been carried down the aisle by every bride on the grooms side for 3 generations. Not everyone may have noticed or known the significance at the wedding, but the bride and groom did.

handle detail

December 24: Wedding Tip Wednesday: Relax and enjoy the holidays with your family! Nothing needs to be decided or discussed in the next few days. Take yourself out of planning mode and instead ask the people around you how long they’ve been married and what they remember most from their wedding day. Their answers may help you when you get back to planning.

December 26: Floral Inspiration Friday: A holiday time wedding doesn’t have to mean red and green! This beautiful bouquet is an elegant take on a winter wedding color scheme. Follow me on pinterest for more floral and event inspirations!

December 31: Wedding Tip Wednesday: Think a bit outside the box for your ceremony… Try a theatre in the round set up for your ceremony!

More Tips and Info

Are you following me on Facebook?  I post regular tips and ideas on there.  This site is great for the general info but for more, please follow me at:

Looking for more inspiration?  Follow me on Pinterest at:

Small Business Saturday / Cyber Monday Deal

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I am offering half off my January classes.  That’s only $20 per class! Register for 1 or all 3!  Contact me at with any questions or to register.  This deal is good through (cyber) Monday night on December 1.

January 13, Class 1: Starting Out – We’ll talk about:  Where to start?  Putting together a budget, making the guest list, who is involved with the planning,  selecting locations (ceremony & reception) and dress shopping.

January 20, Class 2: Vendor Selection – We’ll talk about: Photographers, Videographers, Florists, DJs/Music selections, Transportation, Registering, Hair & Make up, Accessories, Paper goods and Tuxes

January 27, Class 3: Putting It All Together – We’ll talk about: Emergency kits, How to put together schedules for the day of, confirming with vendors, check lists and all the other little details that need to fall into place.

January 2015 Bridal Basics

January class dates are set! Our first class on Tuesday, January 13 will go over the basics of starting to plan your wedding.  Our second class on Tuesday, January 20 will cover vendor selection.  The last class on Tuesday, January 27 we will go over how to put together all of the little details.  If you’re interested in a class but the dates don’t work for you, please contact me and we can talk about alternatives.  Hope to see you there!