One of the first steps you'll take toward planning your wedding is booking your venue. The place where you'll host your special day is important to the overall flow and feel of your wedding, so it's important you select the one that is the best fit for your vision. Keep on reading for 10 things you should consider when choosing your wedding venue!
1) Determine Your Overall Budget and Stick to It - Booking your venue can often come toward the beginning of your planning process. Don't let that keep you from assessing your budget first, and determining what will work for you. Having an amount or range in mind when you go into touring venues will help direct you toward venues that are a good fit for your budget.
Keep in mind:
What's actually included in the cost the venue provides you - does it include rentals, staff, catering, etc?
Is this venue a competitive rate or overpriced?
The general cost of the type of space you’re looking to get - I've got another great blog post on this exact topic here.
2) Start Planning Early and Book The Venue Ahead of Time - Some venues can book out more than a year in advance, depending on their popularity. I highly recommend that after you established your main priorities for the big day, you start looking for a venue right away.
3) Make Sure the Venue is Available On Your Desired Date and Time - Before you fall in love with a venue, make sure to confirm whether your desired day is available. If not, you'll have to consider if you're willing to compromise on the date and/or time to get the space you want.
4) Have an Accurate Count of Guests Attending Your Wedding - Many wedding venues have a capacity limit, so it's good to know going in how many guests you'll need to accommodate. That said, you don't need to let a guest limit stop you for choosing a place that you love. You'd have to decide if having the space you want is worth a smaller guest count and determine where you're willing to make a compromise. It's also worth considering the kinds of guests who will be attending. For example, if you know you'll have a lot of kids in attendane, think about a more kid-friendly option.
5) Look For Flexibility - Every venue has it's own policies around pretty much every element of the wedding day. Make sure that you take time to review the contract and see what their policies are around certain things like...
Outside vendors - Are you required to use a vendor from their preferred list or can you choose your own?
Decor - What kind of decor or set-up elements are you allowed to use?
Day of - When will you have access to the venue prior to the event? When do you need to be out that evening?
6) Decor/Theme - This about the kind and style of decor you want, does this venue match up well with that vision? If you already have a very clear theme picked out, would this space help facilitate the theme or clash with it? Lastly, what kind of seating arrangements and set-ups are possible in the space?
7) Spaces - Does it have the kinds of spaces that you want? If you hoped to have an outdoor ceremony, does it have a space where you can make that happen? Is there a backup plan if it rains? Can you see your guests flowing well from location to location within the venue throughout the event?
8) Special Elements - Are there any special elements you want your venue to have or think you'll really enjoy having? These could include:
A dedicated bar area for guests to mingle
A getting ready suite for both the bride and groom
A pretty staircase for pictures
Lawn games included in the rental
9) Amenities & Facilities – This encompasses questions around the kind of services and facilities the venue provides. Such as:
Do they provide linens or facilitate the rental of them?
Is catering included or available through the venue?
Do you like all the spaces? Or the ones you don’t like, are they easy to make more appealling?
Are there enough washrooms? Is there a handicap accessible washroom if needed?
10) Gut Feeling - Lastly, how you feel in your gut as you're in a potential venue really matters, so listen to it. Reflect on the following quesitons:
Do you connect with the space?
How do you feel when you walk around?
Does it speak to you?
Can you see yourself getting married here?
If you're thought through all these considerations, and you still feel ready to move full-steam ahead, then you've likely found the right venue for you. Congratulations! If not, keep up the hunt. You'll find it!