Last week, Elise sat down with Sarah, the weddings and events coordinator from Rochford Wines in the Yarra Valley in Victoria to get the inside scoop on their venue.
Tell us a bit about Rochford Wines and where you sit in the market.
Rochford Wines is a concert venue, a working winery, we have two restaurants on site, and we do weddings as well! So we have quite a big market of things that we’re targeting, and we’re just really trying to grow that wedding market. There’s a lot of competition within the Yarra Valley – so we’re really just trying to be different and stand out in the market.
How do you educate couples and help them understand what the planning process is like?
When we get the first enquiry, the first thing we do is try to arrange a time to bring them out onto the site, we try to be really upfront with our information and make sure they have the package information so that you’ve got something to discuss with them when they come out. When they do come out, I really focus on taking them through that whole process, walking them through the spaces, showing them the ceremony space, the space where the pre-dinner drinks and canapes will be, walking them through the restaurant, really trying to immerse them into what it would be like if they had their wedding there, and make them feel at ease and build that rapport with myself, as I can guide them through that process to make it easier for them as the wedding and events coordinator.
Are you also walking them through how other suppliers come together to create their special day?
Yeah, so we have preferred suppliers that we work with and our package also includes some suppliers, like styling by a florist, for example, is included in the package for them. So we talk to them about that and how that works and recommend suppliers we’ve worked with before that know the venue and space. We make it a less complicated and less daunting process for them.
How do you broach that first enquiry being based on pricing?
We are really upfront with pricing. We have tailored them to be really valuable. We have off-peak and winter specials, I like to be upfront with pricing and send it through immediately and don’t make them go through six pages or grill you for that information. We are more than happy to customise the packages, however, or have a chat if the price is slightly out of their budget.
How do you get around date availability?
The majority of Saturdays in summer at Rochford Wines are blocked out for concerts. But in saying that, a lot of couples still want Saturdays, as they believe that Saturdays are the perfect day for their guests. Obviously, in this case, I want to get them out to the venue, get them to fall in love with the space, the wine and imagine their wedding there, and that way we’ve got the option of considering another day of the week (and we can do a better price to incentivize them) or a different Saturday.
Are more couples choosing Friday and Sunday for their wedding?
I have noticed that some couples have become more open to choosing the Friday, which is great because the Yarra Valley has so much to explore for a weekend away, so it is more attractive to those couples who want their guests to enjoy a weekend as there is so much to do in the area for the weekend… and especially considering the price point as we can offer a discount.
What is one of the most common misconceptions when it comes to couples choosing a venue?
I think from a date perspective again, many couples seem to think that Saturday is the only option. So many guests are happy to make a weekend of it. Also, a lot of couples seem to think that they need to pay for everything for their guests as the Yarra Valley is not close to the city, like bus transfers and accommodation – but they don’t necessarily have to! I think most people are more than happy to pay for their own. You don’t have to offer everything.
How have you worked to grow Rochford in the past 12 months?
We’ve created a wedding Instagram page, which we created after attending an Easy Weddings Industry Education event. We’ve also done a wedding expo on site as well, just to get people out to the venue. We also attended a bridal expo as an exhibitor, just for something different… so exploring other channels has been important to our growth.