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An Interview With The Wedding Report

Earlier in June, the Mercantile Hall Team of Calyn, Stephanie, Wendy, and Andrew were interviewed on The Wedding Report, which is a site dedicated to helping couples decide how much they will likely spend on their wedding through wedding statistics and unbiased data. On their most recent podcast episode, which is featured on their YouTube channel, CEO Shane McMurray asks the team a number of questions about the venue itself, the booking process for couples, and more.

No time to watch? Here’s a quick overview of the question-and-answer moments:

  • “Tell me a little bit about the venue and location!”

    “We’re in Burlington, WI which is Southeastern Wisconsin just a hop, skip, and a jump from the resort community Lake Geneva, and we are an industrial venue with a capacity of around 220. It was originally a historic indoor mall, which is where the name Mercantile comes from. After a huge fire came through in 2014 and essentially ruined the store, we decided to restore the building, have our bridal boutique upstairs, and turn the rest into a gorgeous wedding venue – the rest is history!”

  • “Tell me about the process that couples need to go through when booking a venue.”

    “Our websites generate most of our leads, along with our social media channels, so our bread and butter mostly comes from there. Then it’s handed over to the venue experts, Stephanie and Wendy! We have a whole inquiry process where we welcome them to the family, send them the extensive pricing guide to make sure that there are no hidden costs anywhere, and then we work on figuring out a date for them to come in.”

  • “So what’s next after you get them in for a tour?”

    “During the tours, we will give them a mock proposal to see all the pricing upfront, which is extremely helpful. From there we will adjust to fit their needs whether that’s increasing or decreasing the bar package, or adding on other rentals! We strongly believe that the more information they can get early on the better.  A lot of times couples book within the first week or so, and some take longer; either way we are sure to check in on them and let them know that we’re still here and ready to be there for you on your big day, as well as sending them content to keep updated on things like events, Suesanna, the Urb Garden, and more.”

  • “What about rentals and planners?”

    “We have incredible relationships with all of our vendors and while they are typically outside of the package, we work really hard to make sure everything fits for that couple. As for planners, we do a lot of in-house coordination, we obviously welcome outside planners but we do have our own packages as well. We help plan along the way, which can lead to being the on-site coordinator for their big day – our coordinators know the space in-and-out and can just do everything so effectively which is extremely comforting for our couples.”

  • “What is there to do around Mercantile Hall post-event?”

    “We make sure to remind couples about what is outside in the community, too, because the experience really isn’t only about what is in those four venue walls. There are late-night places to go out after our venue, free parking, hotels nearby, and more. For example, Burlington has lots of townie bars, we’re kind of known for that. Lots of local bars and taverns with a Wisconsin-vibe, but also other classy bars around whether it’s in Burlington or Milwaukee. We are sure to have couples know about the whole experience for their wedding.”

  • “Are events usually all day?”

    “Absolutely, they get the space all day long, which is great for our couples because they are not having to share the space and can make their own memories. We also have an incredible outdoor area known as the Urb Garden which is uncommon for Wisconsin venues, especially in the Winter, but we have had some gorgeous January weddings there. This is their space, in-and-out.”

  • “If you had to give couples some advice about looking for venues and what they should be thinking about, what would it be?”

    “Essentially: vibe, price, capacity, value, and location. Right when the couples get to Merc, we always ask things like, “what is most important to you?”, “have you seen anything elsewhere that you like or don’t like?”, “do you have any questions on the pricing guide?”. We try to learn what’s going to work best for them. One of our key things that we want people to connect with here is the overall vibe; we’re going to be working with them a lot so to build that relationship and connection with the space and us right from the moment when they walk in the door is so important.”

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15 Tips to Navigate Your Nuptials Post Quarantine

Couples all over the world are now navigating a new way to have their friends and families celebrate their weddings. Like you, other couples are making unprecedented decisions about how to host a wedding that is filled with celebration and happiness while keeping their guests feeling safe. Phew, that is a lot to take on, but know You Are Not Alone. Couples everywhere are dealing with the same scenario and it is proving to be challenging for everyone. However, on the bright side, wedding guests have never been more forgiving! Need to change your date? That’s fine. Need to limit your guest count? That’s fine. Need to have everyone wear masks that match your wedding colors? That might be too much, but it’s fine to ask. The point is that your guests are people that love and support you and your future spouse. It is okay to ask for what you need from your guests, your wedding party, your vendors, and your venue.

Mercantile Hall has put together 15 tips to help you navigate your nuptials post quarantine.

  1. New Types of Seating Charts – Create A Type of Seating Chart: Quarantined Together, Sit Together.

  2. You May Ask To Wear Masks – You are allowed to ask your venue, catering, florist,and DJ staff to wear masks during your wedding and during set up.

  3. Please Celebrate From a Social Distance – It is alright to ask your guests to celebrate from afar. Follow the current CDC guidelines for those who might be in higher risks – See Link here.

  4. COVID Response Cards – Send your invitations with a COVID Response Card -include a card that explains the venue’s guidelines or CDC guidelines for large gatherings (based on your anticipated RSVP count.) Post messaging on your wedding website, or email the info too. See Mercantile Hall’s Messaging on our COVID Plan Page.

  5. Have a Face Time Attendant Consider asking family members to serve as face time attendants to live stream with those who may not be able to travel to your wedding.” You could also host a private zoom call, or even go on social media live to share parts of your celebrations.

  6. Use the Entire Space to Create Safe Distancing – When designing your venue layout consider spreading out the tables and potentially adding a second bar area. Consider having 8 per table or adding more tables to decrease space between your guests.

  7. Plated Or Served?- Speak with your caterers about having the staff serve at the buffet or change your dinner to a plated option.

  8. Decorate & Disinfect – Consider wearing gloves when decorating your tables so that everything remains sanitized.

  9. Sharing is Not Always Caring – In your dressing suite- have your make up artist or stylist bring new make up or hair products, rather than re-using. Also, tell your wedding party to bring their own makeup, hair, and beauty items.

  10. Design Hand Sanitizing Stations – When designing your wedding decor, include hand sanitizing stations throughout the venue. Talk to your venue about where they will have sanitizer out for your guests.

  11. Re-think Desserts -Bakeries are now offering individually wrapped cookies, cakes, cupcakes and if you have already ordered a cake, ask if the staff could serve the cake to each person rather than having it out during the event.

  12. Alternatives to a Signed Guestbook – Assign a friend to sanitize your pen or marker in between each person that is signing.

  13. Ship to Home- Ask your guests to mail your gifts or cards directly to your home rather than having them bring them to the wedding.

  14. Less Can Be More – It is okay to reduce your guest count if you are concerned with the size of the event. At this time people are more forgiving than ever.

  15. Enjoy Your Day – This is a big day in your life but remember to enjoy the day. Everything won’t be exactly as you planned but make it special for you and your guests.

All in all, we know these are not the items you pinned to your wedding board but they are now part of our reality. Addressing these items and having a plan in place will put your mind at ease as well as your guests.