November 10, 2020
Welcome to the blog version of Episode 2 of Wedding Insiders with Brian Ly! I had the pleasure of speaking with Amanda, who was the Sales & Events Manager at Royal Ashburn Golf Club, a Durham wedding venue based out of Whitby, Ontario! Our viewers were able to learn about Amanda and her role at the Whitby wedding venue, her fortunate life of events that brought her back to where it all began, as well as her top 3 things to consider when choosing a wedding venue! If you need some help on choosing a wedding venue for your micro wedding or large wedding, keep reading below!
For those new to Wedding Insiders with Brian Ly, this is an Instagram Live show I host every week featuring Durham Region wedding vendors to help future newlyweds plan their weddings! Each guest specializes in different segments of the wedding industry such as wedding planning, wedding florals, venue coordination, etc.! They all have a different perspective on the wedding industry through their experiences and expertise in their niche, and we get to hear directly from them on the Instagram Live shows! The goal of this show is for an engaged couple to take back at least one helpful tip that they can apply towards their own wedding!
I’m the Sales and Events Manager here. I’m usually the first point of contact when a couple inquires about their wedding day. I provide the couples with information about Royal Ashburn, our clubhouse, and our packages. I tour the space with them and go over all the options that are available. I provide them with all the information they need in order to make an educated decision for a great venue. Once we determine that we’re the place that they’re going to host their special day, I take them through the contract and that’s when we start the fun stuff like planning the menu, décor, and itinerary. Then through that journey we answer any questions about the venue and booking vendors. I take care of the wine and menu tasting, rehearsals, and of course I’m the lead of their wedding.
The process begins with the couple inquiring and I right off the bat let the couples know that we are truly with them for their entire journey. So, we get them booked and then the next stage is to help them book vendors. We have a list of vendors that we work with on a regular basis that we refer them to and get them set up. Once that’s all in place, we have them come in for menu and wine tasting, so they can choose the menu they want to have on the day of and the wine they want to serve. We then book the rehearsal – it’s always great to go through a rehearsal. Then the day of, we’re here to make sure we execute to make sure it’s exactly as planned. It’s a smooth process just because we have been doing it for so long that we know what we need to do for every next step.
The first thing we do is we’re always watching the weather and always watching the clock. When we arrive at the clubhouse on the day of, we get the detailed weather report as to what to expect and then we either make the adjustments or go exactly as planned. We go into the room to make sure it’s set up exactly as the floorplan has been laid out whether it’s centre pieces, place cards, table arrangements, so we get all that done.
We make sure that everything behind the scenes is ready – the bar is stocked and the kitchen is ready to go on schedule. We meet with our banquet team, who serve the food and drinks, and make sure they know the itinerary, they know the menu, everything that’s going on.
We meet with vendors when they come onsite and anybody else who is involved as well and make sure everyone is on schedule. We then welcome the guests, the bride, the groom, the bridal party. We organize everyone and get them to where they need to be to keep everybody on schedule. We make sure the cocktail reception starts and we take the couples on-site for their photographs and get the guests to where they need to be.
We make sure dinner starts on time and entertainment begins when it’s supposed to. Then it’s time to cut the cake, serve the late night, have a firework show, and then we’re done! Again, it’s all worth it. When we get that hug from the couple at the end of the night, we don’t even think about the 14 hours that we’ve spent getting to that moment because it’s just so magical.
Yes, we do. We have the ability to host many cultural ceremonies and of course we would tie that into the reception with a festive cuisine. Our chef is absolutely phenomenal! If it is a cuisine he feels that would be best to be brought in, then we would work with the local caterers to do that. Whether we do it in-house or we bring it in, we have the ability to do both. So, we can host any cultural event, which is great!
It’s been very tough on our couples, that’s for sure. The first thing I would let everyone know is: venues and vendors want to work with every couple. We’re all here to work together. My advice would be: ask questions. Know what your options are to make any changes on what you can and cannot do. Prior to COVID there were very few restrictions, but now there are a lot of restrictions. Do you want to wait until the restrictions have been lifted and then proceed with your dream day? We’ve had couples this year that wanted to get married no matter what the restrictions were, so we started off by doing weddings with 10 people and then we moved up to 30, then 50. We’ve also had couples that wanted to wait it out and so we’re doing just that. So back to the advice, have couples ask questions; what are their options? What can they do? They need to make sure they pick a venue that will move along with what they want.
Perfection! We have our wedding coordinators and we’re all very detail oriented. We want to execute as close to perfection as we can. So, that’s what our couples can expect. We don’t settle for just OK; we have to be better than that. We have to exceed our couples’ expectations. They can expect to have a long-lasting relationship – I have had many couples come back, as I’ve said before, I’ve done their anniversaries, baby showers, celebration of life events. So, it’s a relationship that they’ll have with their coordinator that will be long lasting.
This answer has changed due to COVID. The first thing I’d recommend is picking the year. That’s the first step – do they want to try 2021, 2022, or 2023? If it is next year, what are they willing to do with regards to any restrictions? They need to decide if they’re going to move forward regardless of the restrictions that may or may not be in place. Are they willing to move forward for any size of wedding?
So, that would be the first thing. When booking the venue, ask questions – what are the plans if they restrictions are in place, especially if they’re planning for next year because that would also help determine the direction they’re going to go with their date and venue. Also, be prepared to adjust if you need to.
Phone: (905) 686-1121
Thank you for reading the second blog post of Wedding Insiders with Brian Ly. What you just read was not even all the content! Head over to my Instagram to watch the full conversation I had with Amanda (timestamps listed below)! I hope you were able to take something from this conversation and can apply it to your wedding. Happy planning!
If you have not yet read my blog post on my venue feature on Royal Ashburn Golf Club, click here to learn all about the wedding space including cost and other considerations!
You can also check out the list of the best wedding venues in Durham Region to get inspired by more locations to have your wedding reception and/or ceremony.
One of the most important vendors is your photographer that you select for your wedding. You can learn more about my approach towards your wedding day here!
Unfortunately, IGTV doesn’t allow for quick timestamp jumps to particular sections in the video, but you can use the below times as reference to drag the slider to a particular section you wanted to learn more about!
What is your role with Royal Ashburn Golf Club? – 1:55
How did you start your career at Royal Ashburn Golf Club? – 3:05
What inspired you to get into your field? – 3:55
What is the process from initial inquiry from a couple and leading up to the wedding day? – 5:08
What are you and your team doing on the wedding day? – 6:40
Most unique wedding? – 9:35
What are 3 things to consider when choosing a wedding venue? – 11:18
Does Royal Ashburn Golf Club accommodate cultural weddings? – 12:45
Advice for choosing a wedding venue with COVID in mind? – 13:40
What can couples expect from your team if they book Royal Ashburn Golf Club? – 16:55
What is one actionable step couples can do right now when choosing a wedding venue? – 18:30
A Durham wedding photographer in Ontario, Canada, Brian Ly Photography specializes in candid wedding photography, storytelling real moments for laid-back couples who live in the now.
Brian Ly Photography provides services at wedding venues in Durham Region as well as the GTA.