How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Venue; 15 Things to Know Before Choosing a Venue
Written By: Michelle Kennedy ~ Sales Coordinator
Step 1 – Meet your Soul mate.
Step 2 – Get said Soul Mate to promise you their forever.
Step 3 – Find perfect venue to celebrate the intertwining of your forevers in which you will be surrounded by all of your loved ones in the space of your dreams that provides a sublime backdrop for life long memories and “best night ever” status recognition.
Easy…ish. Luckily, here are 15 tips to help make the venue selection process smooth like buttah. But butter clogs your arteries, so smooth like hummus.
1) Location, location, location. Decide a general area first and foremost to avoid wheel-spinning.
2) Narrow down your locale by determining whether or not it is too far most of your guests to drive and/or if there are hotels nearby for out-of-towners.
3) Select a year and time of Year – it doesn’t have to be an exact date and in fact, shouldn’t be. Out of all the important and fun-filled decisions you’re going to make – yymmdd is the least of them.
4) Make your guest list and guestimate how many people will come (usually ¾), and research venues that can accommodate all your VIPs.
5) Start Early. If you think it’s too soon, it’s not. Really spectacular venues can book up years in advance.
6) Visit! Go see as many places as possible and be open minded – even seemingly unlikely places like historical mansions, botanical gardens, museums, and art galleries can make for the most memorable settings. Note: Site Visits can involve map-reading and walking – always know where you can find the closest mimosa to refuel.
7) Come Prepared – Bring a camera and take notes! These are invaluable when comparing all of your potential venues and making pros and cons lists. When we go look at venues for the first time, we bring along our in-house photographer. Take lots of pictures, they’ll make good reference points for later.
8) Make sure you’re comparing pear-cut diamonds to pear-cut diamonds – Inquire about all pricing including taxes, service charges, set up fees, and any other additional costs and know what is included with your venue – catering, furniture, clean up? Is it a flat rate or per person rate or are there any minimums?
9) Determine your budget. Most would say to figure out your budget first, but I recommend seeing all of the potential venues first. You might find that some are so breathtaking that they require minimal décor or that some fit your overall vision so perfectly, it is worth buying a less-well-known-designer designer gown.
10) Food and Beverage is by far one of the most impactful and anticipated parts of a wedding or commitment ceremony. Many full-service venues require that you use their catering services so be sure they offer a wide variety of delectable cuisine, serving options, and special-diet accommodations. Ask to set up a tasting to not only sample their menu but also see their presentations.
11) The difference between good and bad lighting is literally night and day. The best makeup artist in the world cannot undo the effects of fluorescent lighting. Make sure you’re happy with your venues existing set-up or bring in additional lighting to ensure frame-worthy photos.
12) Entertainment is key in engaging your guests. Be aware of your venue’s electrical and AV capabilities as well as any noise ordinances. Check with your Band/DJ to determine their requirements in advance.
13) Be proactive. Is your ideal spot outdoors? Know your rain back up plan. Mother Nature can be fickle.
14) Consider your “party” space – make sure there is enough room for a dance floor for you and your guests to celebrate. Unless you don’t like dancing. Maybe after dinner you want your guests to play charades or skip rope. That’s cool too. Whatever you’re into. It’s your day. You get a day.
15) Parking – does your venue have enough space for all of those vespas? Or is there Complimentary Valet? Make sure you know and are comfortable telling your guests what to expect.
Bonus: Privacy – find out whether or not you have exclusive use of your venue or if there are there any other events going on at the same time. A friend of mine has rogue costumed folks in her wedding pictures because there was a Halloween party going on in the next ballroom. True story.
In the end, just go with your about-to-be-juice-cleansed gut, and choose the venue that is uniquely “you.” Or the Castle. You can’t go wrong with a castle.