Open houses are great to check out the decor closet and finalize those last details like table layouts. Don't forget about the logistics and legal requirements of hosting a large gathering. Large gatherings are where your wedding planner or event planner will come in handy. He/She is thoroughly versed in fire codes and emergency egress situations and logistics in case of an emergency.
All venues recommend and even require you to hire a certified, licensed planner. It's sweet that your friend wants to be your wedding planner, but, honestly, this is where things go terribly wrong. She/he may have helped with many weddings, but each wedding venue is different as well as their local, state, and federal codes. A wedding and event planner must be licensed as a business with the state and must carry the proper insurance to protect themselves financially in case of negligence.
Occasionally, we have a wedding where there is no event planner. You have to be OK with things going wrong. It's the hiccups on wedding day that can make a great story later, but, a nightmare on your dream day. Use the open houses to come in and get acquainted with all of the space. Learn where the emergency exits are. Ask about the fire code approved table layouts. You can find them here on the online planner. Please print it out and use it to draw where you want the DJ, photo booths and other tables. Make sure you're not violating fire codes.
Quick story... A wedding reception was in full swing one Saturday evening. The weather was gorgeous, and our sweet bride had a fantastic turnout. The DJ was cranking out the hits with everyone on the dance floor. (Great job by the way Mr. DJ). In walks Mr. Fire Marshal who requests to speak with the hosts. The host was informed that the tables, cake table and DJ were in violation of the fire code. The guests had to move tables, the DJ had to break the equipment down and set it all back up which resulted in a real buzzkill and the party ending much earlier than it would have. The details were emailed to the venue a few days later and so we are passing this along to you. When you visit the venue, the tables are always positioned in the fire code approved layout.
If you choose to move the tables, you're taking a huge risk. Here is a generic checklist of a few items to watch out for and be aware of when hosting your event.
Since the venue is not included in the wedding planning process, we can only offer a few items to be aware of when planning these types of events. Your event planner will be thoroughly versed in all of the local, state, and federal requirements. He/she has the skill, experience and liability insurance in case something goes wrong.