22 Oct How to Pick the Best Wedding Venue
Now that you are engaged, it is time to start the wedding planning! So, where should you begin?
One of the first things you will need to do, is pick the best wedding venue for your wedding, and there are many things to take into consideration.
In this blog, you will find several important factors to keep in ming when choosing your wedding venue:
- Guest Count – before you can begin looking for a wedding venue, you will need to determine your estimated guest count. You will want to start with the largest number, since it is better to have more space than not enough. Take into consideration if you are wanting a band or a DJ. (Bands take up more space than a DJ), and ask the venue or your wedding planner for a floor plan showing, full seating for your guest count, and plenty of space for the dance floor. Just because the brochure says the venue can accommodated up to 250 guests, that does not necessarily mean for full seating, a band and a dance floor. So check twice before you commit.
- Logistics – If you are planning on having your ceremony at the same location as your reception, you will need to have three separate area at the venue. One for the ceremony, one for the cocktail hour, and one for the dinner and dancing portion of the evening. Each of these spaces need to accommodate your full guest count.
- Availability – It is wise to remain somewhat flexible on your ideal wedding date. Many wedding venues book a year in advance for prime Saturdays. The sooner you can start looking for your venue, the better. Also, many venues will allow you to put a temporary hold on a date, without signing a contract. So, if you are just starting to look, and find a wedding venue you love, ask if you can hold the date, while you consider other options. It is never a good idea to feel rushed when making such an important decision.
- Venue Policies – Always read the fine print. You will need to know how many hours the venue rental is for, and how many of these hours are considered event time versus set up and breakdown time. If you are having your ceremony at the same venue, you will want a minimum of 5 hours for your event plus a minimum of 3 hours for setup and 2 hours for breakdown. If the contract is only for a 4 hour event, most venues will allow you to add an hour or two for an additional fee. You also need to know the event end time. Most wedding venues have a set time when all amplified music must end, due to noise ordinance policies in the neighborhood.
- Catering Options – Some wedding venues have in-house catering and bar service which you will be required to use. Others allow you to bring in outside caterers and bartending services. If the venue you choose has in-house catering, you will want to be sure to get a detailed quote for their food and beverage services, including all service fees, labor and taxes before signing on the dotted line. If you are working with a wedding planner, have them work with you on the proposal and review it, making sure they have not “low balled” the estimate.
- Food and Beverage Minimums – Many venues that have in-house catering have high food and beverage minimums on peak dates. If your wedding us under 100 guests, these minimums can often be hard to meet, so in this case, you may want to focus on venues that allow you to bring in a caterer.
- Equipment Rentals – Many wedding venues include tables, chairs, linen, stemware, silverware and china with the rentals. This can help off-set the cost of your overall rentals, but you will want to be sure you are happy with the quality and style of the items they offer.
- Hiring a wedding planner – These days many venues require having a wedding planner, and more and more are requiring a full service planner. If you have found a venue you love, ask them to hold the date, and to provide you with a list of recommended wedding planners that are familiar with their venue.
- Signing the Contract – Your date is not officially reserved until you have signed a contract and, paid a non-refundable security deposit, which is typically 50% – 100% of the venue fee plus a refundable damage deposit. Once you have found the perfect venue, make sure you ask what is required to get your booking locked down. Follow through with these requirements within their time frame.
- Don’t Stress – If you are considering hiring a wedding planner, you may want to engage them before you start the process of finding your wedding venue. An experienced wedding planner will help you find the best wedding venue to fit your style and budget, and allow you to relax and enjoy the wedding planning process.