Finding the perfect venue can be daunting, but with these few simple steps, you will choose the space to begin your wedded bliss with confidence and peace of mind. Where you get married is one of the first decisions you will make as an engaged couple and it’s a doozie. The venue will set the tone and style of your wedding day. Like in a play, the setting is its own character, a constant in the background, playing the scene with every actor. So too is your venue. How to find the one that’s best for you and your needs comes down to not being afraid to ask questions and understanding your budget. We have the expertise to help you walk the aisle with ease.
Step 1: Set a Budget
No really, set a budget. For both the venue and the catering. Each venue has a unique set of rules and regulations for both rental fees and catering. Run the numbers for both when considering between your choices. Some venues will require you to use their catering on top of space rental fees, some venues will waive their space rental fees if you go with their in-house catering (make sure to ask), some will want you to use only their approved caterers, and some venues will want you to have a caterer that is certified. Having a certified or approved caterer and vendor is a good idea to avoid any last minute delays or mistakes if they are not familiar with the venue.
Step 2: Set Up A Walkthrough
Set a walk through of the space before signing a contract. You want to see how the venue feels. Yes, feels. Is it damp; is there enough light; is it hot or cold; or even how does it sound or smell? Don’t let the photos online make your heart swoon without swooning in person. It will make you feel so much more confident in your decision.
Step 3: Ask Questions! All the Questions!
Every venue is as individual as their address. Ask questions about their policies. These policies will affect your budget and your plan. Most venues will include tables, linens, table settings, flatware and laundering costs in the rental fee, but do not assume that this is part of the fee. You may need to rent these items from a separate company with a separate fee. Check out our wedding decor and rental companies. Again, Budget! Do you have a dance floor, where are the outlets, are candles allowed and even what are your emergency evacuation policies? Most answers should be in the information packet that the venue provides to you. No information packet is a bad sign. It could be that they just don’t have a policy, but it is more likely that they do not do events often enough to warrant one. A smaller, lesser used venue could be cost effective, but, a venue that does not do weddings often means that you will provide a coordinator either from your budget or out of your party. And no matter how capable you are, you can not both enjoy your day and see to all the details. Policies, brochures and information packets show professionalism, set boundaries and in any relationship, those are healthy. Getting a written copy of all policies covers everyone.
Pro Tip: Venue Brochure
While walking through the space, ask to see if the venues you tour have a brochure to take home in addition to the catering menu. This will help to remind you of the space and gives you something physical to hand to those who could not go with you. If the venue has an online brochure, even better. Now you can email and share it with parents or grandparents not in the area, especially if they are helping to make decisions or contributing to the budget. Also, having the professional pictures of a venue can help you decide potential decorating ideas and room configurations. Usually, a venue brochure has a list of preferred vendors that the site has a working relationship with. What a wonderful bonus! Having vendors that already know the space and can help you see potential you might have missed is invaluable. Check out a few of our venue brochures on our Destinations page.
Step 4: Signing on the Dotted Line
Signing the dotted line will include deposits to most venues and vendors during the planning and securing process. Make sure to have cancellation policies in writing, just in case of an emergency or elopement. If there is a design element that you are dead set on, now is the time to make sure the venue can accommodate it. You don’t want to find out after money has exchanged hands that you cannot have a sparkling fireworks send off because your venue does not allow anything with a flame. Or that amazing aerial view will never happen if the venue has a zero drone policy. Come with a basic idea of what you want for and from your day and that perfect venue will say yes just as happily as you did.