At the top of every engaged couple’s to-do list is finding the perfect wedding place. Some couples know exactly which usually venue they’d like to host their wedding at from the moment they obtain engaged, while some of you may not have a clue as to what you want and what is definitely even available to you in your area. The wedding place is the first thing you will book like a newly engaged couple and it sets the tone for the overall feel for your wedding day.
The options are unlimited. From grand hotels to quaint bistros, sprawling gardens to city rooftops, and rustic barns to modern cityscapes – the choices may become overwhelming. So how do you narrow straight down what you want in order to find the perfect wedding place for your day? Even if you have a general idea of what you are looking for, there are so many factors to consider. Here are some tips to help guide you in finding the right wedding venue.
Determine your style.
A casual affair with outdoor elements, or a formal soirée at a grand resort? Downtown chic or a lakeside escape? A rustic country feel or even modern urban ambiance? Determining the particular style of your wedding is the first step in deciding which venue fits your vision best. Every couple is different and will have an unique list of characteristics that they are looking for in a venue. When you nail down the style and really feel you are looking for, you can contact venues that will fit that description.
Pick a season.
A summer wedding in This summer or a winter wedding in December — you need to decide on the time of year you’d like to have your wedding so that when you contact venues they can let you know exactly what dates are available in that particular month. Many weddings happen in the summer months, but autumn is also becoming a popular option for couples to tie the knot. The month you choose to get married in will help determine the best fit for a location. Depending when you want to get married, you might have to be flexible with your date of the same quality venues book up at least per year in advance.
Come up with a budget.
This is the greatest factor when choosing a wedding venue. If you contact venues, ask them what the typical cost is to have a wedding at their particular location. Costs vary greatly, and you want to make sure the venue fits within your budget before you go on a site visit. Otherwise, you may just be wasting your time, or fall in love with a venue that you can’t afford. Anyone contributing to the cost of the wedding should go along on the location tours so that everyone has all of the information needed when making a decision on booking a venue. Make sure to get all the information in writing so that you can review everything later and compare each venue properly to ensure they fit within the budgeted costs.
Determine the number guests.
You need to have an idea on the number of guests you may be inviting to your wedding so that you can guarantee the venues you visit can support the number of guests you will be inviting. Often book a venue that can accommodate all invited guests – no longer book a venue hoping you will have fewer guests that can attend. Just in case most of the guests RSVP yes, you wish to make sure your venue can accommodate everybody comfortably.
Do you want the ceremony and reception at the same location?
If so, you need to choose venues that can accommodate each. If you’d like an outdoor ceremony, does the particular venue have outdoor space to hold a ceremony and what is their strategy B in case of rain? Will you need time in between the ceremony and reception to flip the room? Is there an extra rental fee to have the ceremony on web site? If they don’t offer ceremony space, can they recommend a location close by that gives this service?
Ask the right questions.
Some venues offer full services – catering, tables, chairs, sheets, glassware, dishware, lighting, bartenders, alcoholic beverages, tents, décor, music, and audio/visual. You will have to determine your needs before meeting with a venue to ensure they can provide everything that you need. Do they also give a list of preferred vendors and are you required to book those vendors or even can you bring in your own?
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What are all of the costs involved – rental fees, taxes, gratuities, service fees, dessert cutting fees, set up fees. Obtain everything in writing before signing a contract and putting down a down payment.
What are your expectations for food and drink?
This can be the most important part of the wedding – several couples can be very particular on the design and quality of the food and drink they serve their guests. Generally speaking, the greater the quality and service, the higher the cost. What kind of food and beverages would you like to function at your wedding? If you have a certain idea in mind – let’s say food channels or family style service, an informal bar-b-que feel or a gourmet five-course meal – you will need to make sure the venue can accommodate your requests. Otherwise, will they allow you to bring in your own caterer? Do they have set menus packages and can they customize a menu for you? Do they provide a menu trial dinner? Will they offer the alcohol or do you need to supply it yourself and apply for your own permit? Will your expectations require extra servers and fees?
Consider the out of town guests.
Will you possess a lot of out of town guests that will need accommodations and transportation? If you are you’ll want to choose a venue that is close to hotels and where guests could be transported to easily. If the location you absolutely love is a little out of the way, you may need to look into bus and shuttle services to get guests to and from the wedding ceremony site.