My Personal 10 Tips to Choosing a Wedding Venue
The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It's a choice you make - not just on your wedding day, but over and over again - and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife. - Barbara de Angelis
The venue is the most important item on your wedding list, well, right next to your bridal gown. It sets the tone for everything else and that’s why you have to take some serious time to decide what kind of venue you would like. In my previous post, I discussed the importance of setting your budget first as this will help determine what types of venues you should be looking at. The last thing you want to happen is to take time to look at a gorgeous venue, fall in love with it and then find out that it’s way more than you can afford. Below are few personal tips on how I went about selecting my wedding venue.
1.Decide on the number of guests
Having a general idea of your guest count will determine the type of venues that you should be looking at. Different venues will accommodate different numbers of people and may also have a minimum number of guests that you have to book so this is something that you have to know ahead of time.
2.Choose a location
When we first started planning our wedding, Kevin and I were seriously considering doing a destination wedding (well, it's more like I was seriously considering it more than him). It seemed ideal and perfect at the time but once we started weighing the cost, we realized that a lot of our family and friends may not be able to attend so that idea was thrown out the window.
I then decided that I wanted a venue that was within 30 miles from our home. I spent of a lot of time browsing locations close to me and reading reviews on them. I then narrowed down 4 places that I wanted to visit in person and that was it. I didn’t want to spend too much time visiting a lot of venues; once I found ‘the one’, I knew that was it.
3. Utilize The Knot or WeddingWire
These sites are great for helping you narrow down your search – you can browse locations by price and setting (ballroom, garden, beach, rooftop, country club, etc.). Some people prefer to have an outside caterer and some venues do not allow that so you have to check if the venue provides their own food, drinks, and cake.
4. Choose a venue within your budget
This is a given, don’t waste time going to visit a venue that is way out of your budget, you will fall in love with it, only to find out it is way over budget. But then again, don't just assume that a venue is out of your price tag without doing the proper research on the price. When I went to see my venue, I thought it would be way over budget considering what they offering but we were able to work with the venue to negotiate down the price and cut down on our guest list. As mentioned previously, most venues will have a minimum number of guests that you are required to book with them and I honestly did not want to book for 150 guests when I only wanted 130 so that helped cut down on our cost.
Tip: When you are about to book the venue, just bring someone along that is really good at negotiating, for me, it was my mother in law. That woman will be seated in business class on an economy class ticket :-).
5. Decide what’s the most important thing to you
We were willing to cut down on some of our expenses because we wanted to splurge on the venue. Deciding what’s most important to you will help you figure out what areas of your wedding you can cut down costs. For example, flowers are not really important to me because our venue is already so beautifully decorated that it doesn’t need a lot of décor. For that reason, I’m not willing to spend $3,000-$5,000 on floral centerpieces. I have gone to a few florists and they want me to spend over $3000 on flowers. That is completely outrageous!! Anyways, that is a post for another day. You can also cut down on the budget for the dress. You have to decide if you want a custom gown at Kleinfield Bridal that cost over $10K or a gown from another designer at a local boutique that is within your budget.
6. Consider your out of town guests
If you are having a lot of out of town guests, you have to think about where they are going to stay for the few days that they will be in town for your wedding. If you can't accommodate all of them, choosing a venue that is in close proximity to some hotels may be ideal. Some hotels will provide a discount if a certain of guests book with them.
7. Consider all the expenses of rental fees when booking an empty hall or space
It's easy to think that you will be cutting down on your venue budget by booking a hall or empty space that you have to decorate yourself. Before you go that route, consider the fees for renting chairs, table, tents, bathrooms, outside vendor, permits, catering costs, lighting, etc. It can be quite costly when you add everything up.
8. Keep in mind the distance between the ceremony and the venue
The last thing you want is for you or your guests to travel over an hour to get to your wedding venue. If the ceremony and venue sites are too far apart, a lot of your guests may not show up to the ceremony, which frankly, is the most important part of the wedding. Consider having the ceremony and venue in one place.
9. Consider the ambiance of the venue
Having an overall idea of how your overall wedding theme will help you in choosing a location. Consider the existing decor and architecture of the place and see if that complements your overall theme.
10. Don't stress
I know you are going to stress out during this process. My advice is to take your time. Booking a venue will be your biggest expense and you honestly do not want to feel rushed into making this huge decision. If you have to push your wedding date back so you have enough time to plan and pay for everything without breaking the bank, go ahead and do so. You only get married once (hopefully) so enjoy every step of this process.
I hope you guys found my tips useful! Let me know your thoughts and thank you for stopping by!