One of the first steps you will make in the wedding planning process will be choosing your venue. After selecting your Wedding Planner, of course. ;) So, what should you consider when choosing your wedding venue?
Before you begin your wedding venue search, there are a few things you should definitely talk over with your fiance.
Budget - Make sure that you discuss the budget. How much are you looking to spend, overall, on your wedding day? Expect to spend about 50% of your budget on your venue. So, definitely keep your budget in mind when you start searching for that perfect location.
Guest Count - Put together your guest list and decide whether you would like a large extravagant wedding with everyone you know in attendance; a small intimate wedding with only your closest family and friends or, somewhere in between. Your guest count will play a very large role in your venue selection. A wedding for 300 guests will look very different then a wedding for 75 guests and, your venue will too.
Wedding Date - Start thinking about your wedding date. Do you already have a set date in mind? Maybe you are considering a date that holds special meaning to you and your fiance. Maybe you are considering the day you met; your first date; your parents anniversary date; the day you got engaged; etc. If you are definitely set on your wedding date, you will want to make sure that you check on date availability with the venues you are considering via phone before scheduling a tour. If you aren't set on a specific date (and want to leave this open to the venues availability), definitely consider the time of year/season you are wanting to get married in. For example, if you plan to get married in the Winter or early Spring, you will want to consider indoor venues versus outdoor venues. Each venue will have a different look and feel to them depending on the season so you may want to look up some images of your venue options in the seasons you are considering. This will give you a better idea of what to look for aesthetically.
When picking a wedding venue, you will want to think about whether you would prefer an all-inclusive package or an A La Carte option. What is the difference between these two options?
All-Inclusive packages, are often provided with Hotels; Country Clubs; and catering hall type venues. Typically they include your catering services; furniture, linen and tableware rentals; separate locations for your ceremony, cocktail hour and recption; and sometimes even your cake and reception centerpieces. These items are then calculated into a specific "per person" price. These types of venues usually do require a guest count minimum or a "by room/space" minimum. For example, the venue may require that you have at least 150 confirmed guests or may have a minimum of $20,000 to $40,000 to book their main ballroom. But, these types of venues do often allow upgrades to you catering and alcohol selections to fill in any unexpected gaps. All-Inclusive packages tend to be the less stressful and more cost effective option out of the two.
A La Carte options, on the other hand, my only provide you with the space and maybe tables and chairs, depending on the venue. This means that you would need to bring in and source all your own vendors and materials. This would include your catering services; any additional tableware and linen rental;, as well as all your décor and centerpieces. Venues that would typically have an A La Carte style package would be barn venues, local parks and private properties, museums and art galleries, theaters and sometimes some historical venues as well. These types of options do allow for more customization and creativity, which of course, can be a lot more fun. However, an A La Carte option does tend to add more work to your wedding planning "plate" and the extra expenses can very easily get out of hand. So if you go this route, definitely consider a Wedding Planner as we can help you keep the spending in line with what your budget allows, without missing anything necessary.
Another thing to consider when you are looking for wedding venues is, guest experience. You may want to consider things like, Is it handicap accessible?; Is there adequate heating and cooling for the space?; Does the venue provide comfortable restroom facilities?; Is there adequate lodging near by for out of town guests? and; Is there sufficient parking for all your guests? Your guests want to feel comfortable so, keeping their needs in mind will definitely allow them to relax and enjoy your wedding.
Make sure you consider the style of your wedding and your "couple style" as well, when looking at venue options. You want your venue to represent the look and feel you are trying to create for your wedding. So, if you are planning a rustic chic wedding with lots of greenery, you may want to consider a barn or park venue over a Country Club. The more aspects of your wedding that reflect your wedding style, the more cohesive your overall design will feel.
If you hired or, are considering hiring a Wedding Planner, this is where they can really come in handy. Wedding Planners work with many different venues and understand the logistics of doing events in different types of spaces. Your Wedding Planner should be able to help provide you with multiple venue options to consider that will fit your budget, needs and wedding style. This can cut out a lot of unnecessary research and headache for you. Wedding Planners can also join you on your site visits to help access the space, ask questions you may not have considered, and make sure that nothing gets overlooked. Once you decide on a venue, your Wedding Planner will then work with the Venue Coordinator to help organize an appropriate layout for your event to make the best use of the space.
Let's do a quick recap. When you are ready to start looking into wedding venues, here are the important things to consider:
1. Talk To Your Wedding Planner First
3. Guest Count
4. Wedding Date
5. Wedding Style/"Couple Style"
6. Guest Experience
Now you should be all set to get out there and start your wedding venue search. Wedding Planning is a process but, remember to have fun with it! Each little step in this process brings you closer to your special day. Good luck!
Thank you for stopping by!