While planning your wedding, every decision you make is like adding one more piece of the puzzle in place, one of the biggest decisions you will make that will effect how all the other pieces fit in place is choosing your venue. Your choice sets the tone and the date for your big day so choosing your location wisely is absolutely imperative.
There are so many options to choose from, that finding the perfect venue can seem like a tricky process, but we are getting ready to provide you with some tips to consider before starting your hunt for that perfect place to celebrate your big day.
Talk to a Planner First
Yes, you read that right! There are many factors that you want to consider when choosing a venue and since planners are familiar with the venues in your area they can help you narrow down the search. It is so much easier to be provided a customized list of 3-4 venues rather than setting up visits with a dozen or more before you find the one. Not only is it time consuming, but can become frustrating and make you want to throw in the towel before you really even got started.
Know Your Budget
So many couples start to plan their wedding looking at the big budget number, but they don't allocate how much of the overall budget can go to every aspect of their wedding. To avoid any undue stress, don't fall into the trap of booking venues and vendors before completing a Wedding Budget Worksheet.
Your budget will play a significant role in determining the type of venue you can afford. When considering a venue, don't forget to account for included amenities. Some venues might include items like tables, chairs, and basic linen/décor in their overall price while others may charge for the same services. Expenses can begin to add up quickly if you have to rent key day-of elements or you have a specific vision in mind not included in your venues included items, so be sure to get quotes from rental company to compare the end cost before making a final decision.
Also consider if your venue requires you to use vendors from a specific list of their preferred vendors or if they have an open vendor policy. You want to be sure that the vendors you choose will provide you what you are envisioning for your big day.
Pro tip: Consider getting married off-season or on a weekday when venues typically have a lower price tag.
Decide Your Wedding Style
Since your wedding venue will set the tone for your wedding, you want to at least have a general idea of what style you are going for. Do you want an indoor or outdoor wedding? Are you going for a rustic or chic look?
You want to know how the elements of your wedding will fit together, from the venue to the décor and event the menu selections, so you will achieve a cohesive aesthetic and feel to your day. Knowing the style of wedding you want can help narrow down your venue options.
Consider Your Guest List
Before heading out to look at numbers make sure you have a preliminary guest list. Often times, couples underestimate how many people they will invite (or how many their parents will want to add) which leads to headaches and heartaches down the road.
You always want to account for the venue to hold the number of guests that you are planning to invite. Be sure that you choose a venue that can comfortably accommodate your guest list. Also be sure that you ask about the maximum capacity of the venue and if there are any restrictions on guest numbers.
You do not want to end up in a situation where more guests RSVPed yes than you were anticipating and your venue is too small. This will also help you break down other areas of your budget that are dependent on the number of guests you are inviting.
Check Their Availability
If you are dead set on a particular date for your wedding, plan to start looking at venues earlier in the planning process to increase your chance of the venue still being available. Once you have your list of potential venues, check their availability for your date.
If your date is flexible, you still want to start well in advance, but chances are you will have more options since you will be able to pick your date based on your venues availability rather than be constrained to a certain date.
Visit the Venue
Schedule a visit to the venue to get a feel for the space and to see if it meets your expectations. Pay attention to details such as lighting, seating, parking, and accessibility.
Does the venue have indoor and outdoor options? When it comes to weather we hope for the best but prepare for the worst!
In addition to making sure the venue itself meets your needs and wants, you want to look at the venue's location overall. Consider how close it is to the airport, nearby accommodations and if the area feels safe.
You also want to make sure that the venue is personal and private enough for you. Sometimes venues will host multiple events or weddings on the same day. If this is the case, check how many events will be held and how separated will the different parties be.
While you're visiting the venue, try and get a feel for the overall vibe. Don't be afraid to ask questions to see how accommodating they can be. Ask about their rules - do they have very strict rules or seem to charge for additional services (chair set up, room flip, security, etc.). Also gauge your interaction with the venue coordinator. You want to be sure that you feel comfortable and have an easy time communicating with them.
Read the Contract Carefully
Before signing any contracts, make sure to read them carefully and understand all of the terms and conditions. Check to make sure all negotiated items are written into the contract and their are no additional fees that may surprise you later.
By following these steps, you can find the perfect wedding venue that will create an unforgettable experience for you, your family, and your guests. If you want to ensure that your guests have a memorable experience, pay close attention or seek guidance form experienced professionals while searching for your wedding venue.
**Bonuses: Check out our Questions To Ask Your Wedding Venue checklist and the list of Venues We Love at Celebrations Remembered**