One of the first items on a to-do list of planning a big event like a wedding is to pick the venue. It needs to suit your style, accommodate the number of anticipated guests, and can have a significant impact on the overall feel of your special day.
Here are some things to look for when choosing your venue:
This may be obvious, but if you know you’re going to have 200 guests and fall in love with a space that can only hold 60, it’s likely not going to work. You can always ask the venue if they have alternate spaces on site but don’t waste your time, and then get disappointed, visiting a space that literally won’t fit your needs. And if you are hosting a smaller soiree, a large event space will seem too empty. You don’t need to know exact numbers before you book, but having a rough idea (50? 150? 300?) will help you narrow your options down.
Many people have a pretty tight budget and wedding costs add up quicker than you’d like to think! Like with size, cost is a factor that can help you rule out certain venues immediately. How much of your budget is allocated to the venue is ultimately up to you. Just keep in mind if you do go over-budget here, you might have to cut costs somewhere else. According to The Knot, you can expect your reception costs (venue, food, drinks, etc.) to account for around 50% of your total budget.
Have your heart set on a summer wedding? Be prepared for many venues to book up quickly and far in advance! This is especially true for the popular summer “wedding season”. If you’re flexible with your dates, you’ll have more options. If you are visiting the venue during a season other than the one you plan to get married in, make sure you ask to see pictures of the space in your anticipated season. If your wedding is during a hot or cold time of year, make sure you ask about heating or air conditioning!
If you envision a romantic traditional wedding ceremony and reception, you might be more attracted to a venue like a vineyard or golf course. You’ll probably steer clear of a modern industrial-style space!
Accommodation & Transportation
Are you getting married in a rustic barn in the countryside? Sounds lovely, but make sure your guests have access to convenient accommodations and transportation! If your venue is difficult to access or out of the way for most people, you can offer a shuttle bus. Your guests will be partying and you want to make sure they get home or to the hotel safely! Hotels often offer deals for booking blocks of rooms designated for your guests so call around to nearby hotels. Other options include bed and breakfasts or see if local guests are willing to take in out of towners!
The first thing you need to find out is whether the venue is full-service or not. Either way, some venues require you use certain vendors such as caterers and rental companies. This doesn’t give you the flexibility to shop around. Also consider the style of service – family style, plated, buffet?