If you have wedding guests driving to your event, you might be curious whether or not you should offer valet services at your venue. According to wedding planners, having valet present is an extremely helpful addition to your vendor list. But, it might not be necessary for every wedding. “Like any other event service, you must weigh the entire picture to make the final call here,” shares Lea Stafford, founder of Lea Stafford Events. “Are most guests traveling for your big day, then the answer is probably not. If most are local, the answer is yes.”
Whether you need to hire a valet company or not also depends on your venue. In certain cases, valet is a service that is always offered by the location. “If it’s a hotel that already has valet at the front drive, it’s usually included for weddings. But if it’s a one-off venue like a museum, private home, or private venue, you typically have to hire an outside valet company,” explains wedding planner Heather Lowenthal of Posh Parties.
Meet the experts
- Lea Stafford is the founder of the California-based destination wedding planning company Lea Stafford Events.
- Heather Lowenthal is the founder of full-service event planning company Posh Parties.
Ahead, the planners share why you should have valet at your wedding and factors to consider when hiring a service.
The Benefits of Valet
The biggest perk of having a valet service at your wedding is it makes the process of arrivals and departures so much smoother and comfortable for your attendees and helps keep your wedding timeline in place. “The largest benefit here is peace of mind,” elaborates Stafford. “In the mind of a guest, being able to pull up and hand your keys off just a few feet from your destination is priceless, especially in heavily populated areas such as a big city, where a parking spot can be a pain to find and can take 20 minutes to do so!”
If you ask your guests to dress to the nines (and possibly spend a lot of time in high heels), a valet will also be an appreciated addition. “I believe it creates an elevated experience for your guests arriving to your wedding,” explains Lowenthal. “The benefit is less walking from a far parking lot in black tie or cocktail attire to your wedding. It is also better in case of inclement weather.”
Tips for hiring valet
If you decide that valet is a good addition to your wedding plans, Stafford first recommends checking out your venue contract to see how flexible they are with your vendor choice. “Because of property logistics, you may be subject to use their preferred partner or hire a third party (which may or may not require their approval),” she shares.
If you need to find a service on your own, be sure to do research and read the fine print. “Couples should know there are many valet companies out there,” Stafford says. “However, they all do not carry the same weight or value the level of service equally. Be sure you hire a company that is properly insured for such service.”
You also should consider how many members of a valet team you will want present for the event. Even a small wedding may want to consider an extra member of staff. “Don’t underestimate the number of cars coming,” recommends Lowenthal. “It’s better to have more valet so there’s not a line than not have enough.”
One final piece of advice from Stafford? “Partner with a company that prides itself on client service and experience, going above and beyond to care for the vehicles and their owners,” she shares. “Keep in mind as this will be your guests’ first point of contact during your event, starting it on a high note.”