13 Jul Tips on Choosing a Wedding Venue
One of the most important aspects associated with wedding planning involves choosing the ideal wedding venue. This decision plays a major role in many practical aspects of your wedding, such as how many guests you can invite, your total wedding cost and more. The venue may impact the theme or overall ambience at your wedding, limit your vendor selection and play other important roles in the event. Because the venue is such a major factor in your wedding plans, selecting the venue is one of the initial steps you should take when planning a wedding.
Set a Budget
From a small intimate wedding in an outdoor wedding venue to a large elegant hotel venue in the city, there are numerous options to consider. As you might imagine, the cost of a wedding venue can vary dramatically. Some couples have considerable flexibility in their budget, but many are working with a fixed budget. With this in mind, it is essential that you have a realistic and accurate budget in mind before you begin shortlisting venues. Remember to properly allocate your financial resources to all elements, such as to your wedding dress, catering, flowers and more. You can use realistic estimates to get started, but you will need to update your budget regularly as you make additional wedding changes. Once you determine your budget for a wedding venue, you may be able to eliminate several options from consideration because they are too expensive.
Prepare Your Guest List
One of the most limiting factors related to wedding venues is space. Some venues, such as hotels with large ballrooms, may have adjustable space because of removable dividers. Many venues, however, can accommodate a specific number of guests. Some only place a maximum limit on guests, but others also have a minimum limit on guests. In addition to focusing on the number of guests that are permitted in the space, understand how choosing a space that is too large or too small for your guest list can affect your event. For example, your guests will feel cramped if you try to pack too many people into a very tight space. On the other hand, a small and intimate affair with only a few dozen guests may feel less intimate if you host the event in a huge space. Create a firm guest list, you may discover that several venues are not suitable for your needs based on available space.
Choose Your Wedding Date
One other factor should be determined before you begin exploring wedding venues in greater detail, and this is the wedding date. Your wedding date will play a role in likely weather conditions based on the season and availability of registrars in your area.. In addition, venue availability for the date and time of your event may limit your venue options dramatically. Before you spend time making appointments to view venues, always ensure via phone or email that the venue is available on your preferred wedding date.
Consider the Physical Location
With these factors decided, you can then begin exploring venues in specific locations. Some couples prefer to have a local wedding so that family and friends can easily attend. Others may prefer a destination wedding in a gorgeous location far from home. In some cases, the bride’s family and the groom’s family live in different areas, and a location between the two families may be most ideal. You must have a general physical location in mind before you can seriously consider venues for your event.
Review Images of Actual Events
Most wedding venues have a website with at least a few images of the venue. Remember that the images on the business websites have been carefully selected and perhaps even staged. To get a realistic idea about the capabilities of a venue, look for images that couples and their family or friends have posted. Focus on the décor, the lighting and the different themes that have been executed beautifully in each space. A rustic theme may not work well in a hotel ballroom.
Select Your Theme and Colours
Some couples will choose a wedding theme and colours before they begin looking at venues, but others may let the venue inspire them. Keep in mind that your theme and wedding colours should ideally look amazing in the venue that you select. If you are flexible with regards to theme and colours this will open up your venue options.. Otherwise, you should look for a venue that accommodates the theme and colours that you have firmly decided on.
Determine If All-Inclusive Is Suitable for Your Event
Some wedding venues take an a la carte approach with wedding planning. For example, they may require you to locate and contract with each vendor that you plan to work with individually. Other venues take an all-inclusive approach. They may offer you a fixed catering menu, all of the furnishings that may be needed, a dance floor and more. Some couples enjoying making each individual wedding plan on their own, and there may be financial savings associated with this in some instances. Other couples prefer to save time and energy by choosing an all-inclusive venue.
Conduct Online Research
You could spend a tremendous amount of time and energy driving around from venue to venue, but this may not be necessary. You can learn a lot about different venues that you may be most interested in by reading online reviews and by reading information posted on the business websites. Some couples even take the next step of emailing or calling the venue directly with specific questions that may influence their decision-making process.
Think Outside the Box
The primary wedding venues are dedicated special events sites, clubs, hotels and more. You likely will find numerous venues in your area that fit this traditional mould, but there are other more creative options to consider. For example, art galleries, museums, wineries, aquariums and outdoor wedding venues may also be wonderful locations to host a wedding. In addition to looking at the aesthetics, couples may consider venues that hold special meaning to them.
View Several Venues
While some wedding venues permit you to drop by at your convenience for a viewing, most require you to make an appointment. Keep in mind that the venues are typically in use over the weekends. The primary time to visit these venues is therefore during the week, and many venues are willing to work around your schedule by providing viewings in the evening. As you schedule viewings and during the visit, pay attention to the professionalism and promptness of the venue’s staff.
Restrictions and Requirements
The number of guests is one of the more limiting restrictions that a wedding venue may have, but there may also be other restrictions. These may involve the vendors that you can or cannot use, the location and type of decorations that can be used, the beginning and ending times for your event, your need to clean up the venue after the event and more. Some venue representatives will clearly outline restrictions and requirements during a visit, and others will only disclose some very important matters in the contract. It is wise to inquire about restrictions before you book a viewing or during the visit so that you have all information up-front.
Inquire About Included Services
Some couples may assume that the services that they will receive from venue to venue are relatively similar, but this is not the case. Some venues provide you with access to an on-site coordinator at assist with décor, vendors and more on the day of the event. Others offer no support, and they will simply unlock the doors for you and leave everything up to you. Some may provide you with tables, chairs, a kitchen area and more. Others may require you to provide these items yourself and to set them up before the event.
Review the Functional Use of the Space
It is important to have a clear understanding about what your event will be like and to keep this vision in your mind while visiting different venues. If you intend to have live music and a dance floor at your event, your event area needs to have enough functional room to accommodate a large dance floor without impacting the available space needed for dining or banquet tables. Many couples will follow traditions at their events that require different amounts of space. You should also talk to your caterer, entertainers and others about the area that they need for their own activities.
Plan Ahead for Parking and Transportation
One important factor that is easy for couples to overlook relates to parking. If you intend to have 200 guests at your wedding, it is reasonable to plan for parking for approximately 75 to 100 vehicles. The venue that you select should have ample parking available for all of your guests. Keep in mind that the weather conditions may not be ideal on your wedding day, and some of your guests may have mobility issues. It is not reasonable to expect guests to walk a half-mile or more through blistering heat, on icy surfaces or in the rain to reach your venue. You also may consider the driving time to and from the event for the majority of your guests.
Access to the Venue Before and After the Event
Many wedding venues will book multiple events over the same weekend or even on the same day. Because of this, they may severely limit your access to the venue before and after the event. Keep in mind that it may take several hours to set up tables and chairs as well as to decorate the space. Your caterer and other vendors may need access to the space at least an hour before the event as well. Consider who will be responsible for setting up and decorating the space. How much time will they need to complete the work? How much time is available after the event for clean-up, and who will be responsible for cleaning it?
Take Detailed Notes
Most couples will visit at least four to six venues, and some many more. You may need to schedule viewings over the course of a few weeks. It is easy to forget important details about the venues or even to confuse details. Bring a notebook with you to jot down notes. You can even take a few pictures yourself of each venue. Write down what you like and dislike about each venue, and write down feedback from your fiancé, friends or family who visited the venue with you. Before finalising your decision about which venue to book, review your notes carefully.
Review the Contract Carefully
After following each of these steps, you may likely have your options narrowed down to a lovely venue that meets your needs and that is affordable for your wedding budget. You will need to reach out to that venue’s representative to express your interested in moving forward. A reputable venue will have a contract for you to review and sign. Keep in mind that the contract protects your interests as much as it protects theirs. Carefully read through the fine print in the contract. If you have any questions, get them answered in writing. Remember that you may be able to negotiate the terms of the contract in your favour. Some couples find that the contract terms are not desirable, and they will move on to their second wedding venue selection.
There are plenty of factors that should be taken into consideration before you determine the right venue to host your wedding at. A few decisions must be made before you can choose the venue, such as your budget and guest list. However, many other decisions will be based on the venue that you select. This includes catering, entertainment, furniture rental and more. Remember that many venues are booked months ahead of time during peak times. With this in mind, you should plan to start researching and visiting venues relatively early in the wedding planning process.