Eventful 203 recommends that your wedding venue be the first thing you cross off your list when you are doing wedding planning. The venue is the starting point and sets the tone for you entire wedding. However, you need to know several details before you are able to successfully book the venue of your dreams. We have put together some a list of need to knows when making a decision as important as the venue.
1. Put together your guest list
One of the first things you need to do is to get together with your fiancé and both sides of the family to determine the guest list. This can be a little time consuming. Decide if you are going to allow your guests to have a plus one and if children will be permitted. These are details that are sometimes forgotten when putting together the true number of guests. Sometimes you have to cut some people from the guest list if you are searching for a sweet intimate venue.
Consider that a space may fit a certain number of guests, but there may not be room for a dance floor or for guests to comfortably walk around and socialize. Get together with your fiancé and decide how much room you need for dancing, if you want a cocktail hour that is separate from where guests will be eating, enough room for your DJ and other vendors you will be using.
2. Pick a date
While you do not need your exact wedding date, you should determine the season or month that you would like to get married. Depending on where you live in the country, the season might not be as important. Does the venue accommodate well for the season? Many venues offer a discount if you book the venue for winter months because it is the off season.
3. Pick Outdoor vs Indoor
This is the next thing you should determine after picking the season. Many brides are in love with the idea of an outdoor wedding. If you live here in the Ohio Valley, you know that the weather is far from predictable and there is almost no safe date range for outdoor weddings. If an outdoor wedding is what you dream of, then make sure you have a backup plan. Many venues offer both outdoor and indoor options. If the venue does not offer a backup plan, ask them if they have large event tents or if they allow you to rent your own for the space. I also was determined to have an outdoor wedding. I set my date for mid- May hoping the weather would hold up for me. While there was no rain, the day was very chilly although you would never be able to tell from the pictures. Keep in mind that clouds actually set the lighting for great pictures!
4. Determine your overall wedding budget
Go over the budget with your fiancé. Everyone prioritizes things differently. Some couples would rather have a small intimate wedding and spend most of their money on the honeymoon and some couples would prefer to an extravagant wedding with high scale catering. Decide together where you want to spend your money. Set a strict number for the venue and stick to it! Most venues will email you a price list before you go to visit it. I would recommend not to even visiting venues that are out of your price range so you do not fall in love.
5. Decide the theme of the wedding
Many couples have a vision of the type of wedding they would like to have. Get on Pinterest and look up some pictures for the theme you would like to go for. This will help you decide where would be the best venue based on this idea.
6. Consider your catering options
Catering is often restricted for certain venues. Venues may either require for you to use their catering or provide you with a short list of caterers that you are allowed to use. If you love a venue but they have certain restrictions for catering, make sure to contact the caterers for pricing and to taste test. Sometimes the caterers they provide may be above what you had wanted to spend. This is another factor to consider when looking at your budget.
7. Decide if it will be an adult only event
It is a new trend to have a child free wedding. More often than that it not people choose adult only weddings not because people dislike having children at the wedding but it is because of space limitations. We chose to do an adult only wedding because we both had a large family and everyone had 2 or more children. The children could have added another 40 or more people to the count. We wanted did not want to have to cut anyone from our guest list so we opted to do adult only.
Another thing to consider is how large the space is. Even if there is even room to accommodate all children, the space may not be very child friendly. If you know you are going to have lots of children at your wedding, make sure there is enough space for them to run around and be comfortable.
8. Have an idea of the décor you would like to use
Typically venues provide tables, chairs, linens and some décor. If their chairs and linens completely crash with the colors were considering you may want to choose a different venue. Most venues will still allow you to bring in your own rentals, but that is another additional cost that you may want to avoid.
9. Schedule a walk through
Do not book the venue until you have seen it in person. Pictures online can often be deceiving. I would also recommend scheduling a walk through so that you can meet their management and ask additional questions. Pay attention to things like the lighting for possibly picture opportunities.
10. Research the venue online
Look on their website for reviews. Other websites such Wedding Wire and The Knot have reviews listed for venues as well. You can also ask the venue for reviews as well.
11. Visit several different venues
DO NOT book with the first venue that you see. You are going to be so excited to start the wedding planning process that you may choose the first one because looking around more and discovering there is something else that you like better. I did this several times during my wedding planning process. I often picked the first things I looked at and then later regretted it because I did not take more time in my decision.
12. Read the fine print
Make sure to pay close attention to the venue’s contract before signing it. Review how the deposit and payments work. Ask questions about hours, clean up and setup and possible additional charges.
13. Look at the parking options
You want to make sure to try and accommodate your guests. If the venue does not offer a lot options, look into public parking nearby.
14. Decide if you want the ceremony and reception held at the same place
Today it is a trend to do the ceremony and reception at the same venue. It can make things much easier for the guests and the wedding party to quickly transition into the reception. If you and your fiancé have a church that you are getting married at, consider the distance you are asking your guests to drive from point A to point B. If you have many out of town guests consider how easy it will be for them to find their way to the reception. If you do have many out of town guests, you should also make sure that there are hotels nearby as well