Finding the right venue for all the wedding events prior to and on the most special day of a bride’s life is one of the toughest yet most important tasks for brides and wedding planners these days. Due in part to the popularity of social media and other event and wedding trends, like themed bridal showers and the movement for more personalized and memorable wedding occasions altogether (bridal showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, and wedding receptions), locating the right spot for the various bridal events is a real challenge. Two wedding planners, Eventive and J & D Events, have recently discovered a new venue in Southwest Orlando, Hub 925, in Dr. Phillips at Plaza Venezia, that overcomes 5 of the most taxing demands of brides when seeking venues.
Demand #1: Privacy. Due to the social media craze, unknown photo bombers and wedding crashers are invading more and more weddings and events for an opportunity to immortalize themselves - and gain more likes and shares on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram than even the bride or groom on their special day. Look at the popularity of photo-bomb moments on Bridal Guide or the naked cyclist day on Brides.com. Wedding planners are quite familiar with brides’ complaints about strangers crashing their coveted moments and are seeking venues that avoid these pitfalls. One venue, Hub 925, solved this problem with their smartphone access system, Kisi, https://getkisi.com, that locks out party-crashers and photo-bombers alike. Hub 925 is also located on the second floor of Plaza Venetia above Tijuana Flats which makes it harder for unwanted visitors to find and then easily escape. The outdoor covered balcony area allows for guests to stroll around the perimeter and look into the downstairs courtyard while listening to the courtyard fountains or peer out over picturesque Sand Lake.
Demand #2: Personalized and Flexible Layout and Terms. If a themed party is being considered, look for blank wall space, moveable furniture, and accessible ceilings and make sure the venue allows the space to be rearranged or if a separate setup fee is required. Hub 925 encourages rearranging by the renter as it is a coworking space by day, but advertises its “alter ego” for events and parties at night. Furnished with rolling desks that are buffet table size makes the space easy to reconfigure. The tables (desks) even fold up, stack and can be rolled away out of site to offer more open floor space for food, games or dancing. [picture of table]. These tables can be made to look like any buffet table at the fanciest hotel or restaurant, just by putting rose petals on the white table clothes (table cloths come included!). The ceiling is an open ceiling which allows balloons and decorations to be hung from it, or custom lighting or ceiling drapes which can be hung from the steel joists with magnets.
Also think through the food and beverage setup. If a bride prefers Aunt Sharon’s yummy strawberry pecan salad or Cousin Claire’s Secret Sangria mix for the bridal shower or reception, make sure the venue allows outside food and beverage to be brought in so unexpected restrictions or minimums are avoided.
Check to see if outside vendors can be used. One local caterer joined Hub 925 as a coworking member – Cater Nation - and can connect venue renters to any number of great local caterers.
Hub 925 also offers the Sojourn Lounge niche which can be lighted and used for a photographer’s backdrop or kept unlit and unnoticeable to encourage the front space use only. [Picture of Glenn on door.]
Demand #3: Modern, Upscale Yet Comfortable Atmosphere. Brides and shower-givers often seek comfort and natural lighting for the guests instead of the standard cold, stoic ballroom or outdated meeting room with no room for private lounging or comfortable furniture. Intimate sofas and custom-made upholstered furniture like the Graffiti Tube give Hub 925 a unique, upscale yet hip vibe for bachelor, bachelorette parties, bridal showers, or rehearsal dinners. The Graffiti Tube in the background with the train bench in front makes a colorful backdrop for family and friends photos.
The more design elements found in the space the less decorating (and expense) may be needed. Hub 925 offers a professionally-designed interior in the “refined industrial” style. Furnishings include a bar and backbar area made of reclaimed wood and iron train track stakes, community tables complete with built-in ice troughs with cushioned bar stools, a colorful train-themed rug, numerous golden club chairs and the acclaimed Graffiti Tube with plush bench seats and reclaimed wood surround.
The space was actually built by one of Hub 925’s founder, Cathy Cavins of Focal Point Construction Services LLC. Cathy and her business partner Piper Hood, teamed up with interior designer Trisha Poole of Design-Poole in Winter Park to design the logo and repurpose furnishings and fixtures from Design Poole’s own “Sojourn Lounge”, a lounge space created for the hospitality industry’s annual conference, Boutique Design New York.
Demand #4: Convenient Location and Access. Make sure to find out where the family and friends of the bride live and what would be convenient for them. One bride had family in Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and Boca Raton, and sisters in Orlando, coming to her bridal shower, so Hub 925 in Southwest Orlando was a perfect central meeting point for everyone. It is just blocks from I-4 and just around the corner from I-Drive’s Orlando Eye, the Orange County Convention Center and Seaworld, and it is midway between Disney and Universal. Hub 925 makes a perfect spot for out of town guests coming to Orlando to enjoy the attractions.
When choosing the venue, also verify that parking and access to the space is reviewed. Many hotels require a parking or valet fee that some guests (particularly young guests in or just out of college) may not have anticipated and cannot really afford. Hub 925 is located in Plaza Venetia, a well-lit, popular shopping center in the established neighborhood of Dr. Phillips, and has lots of free parking. Also don’t forget about the gifts and how the bride will get them home - make sure gifts can get to her car conveniently.
Demand #5: Affordable Yet Amenity-filled. Cost is always one of the most important aspects to consider for any event. Many venues have additional cost or expense that may be unexpected or assumed included, so the final cost can be a complete shock. Be sure to verify any add-on cost such as napkins, linens, plates, glasses, tables, tablecloths, setup, tear-down, cleaning, etc. Many restaurants will include these items, but many hotels do not.
Hub 925 has several desks that can be used as tables, as well as a few white table cloths, clear dishwasher safe plates, and some champagne glasses. Setup and tear-down is up to the renter and only a deposit is held in case of actual damage. But make sure not to bring a smoke-maker, as one renter and his guests were taken surprise by fire alarms, fire trucks and firemen invading the shopping center when the smoke-maker set off the shopping center fire alarm.
Planning is the name of the wedding game, and even if a professional is not being hired to plan the wedding events, special attention should be paid to these 5 demands to ensure success and remember, just say no to the photo-bomber!
Come to the Dr. Phillips Bridal Stroll on July 31 hosted by J & D Events and Hub 925 to meet wedding vendors and get some help planning your wedding events.
A BIG thanks to Up 2 Danielle Photography (Danielle Leonard) for the photos!