The first and arguably most important decision you’ll make when planning your big day is your venue, which is also when you nail down your wedding date. After all, this is where you’ll celebrate your newlywed status with all of your loved ones and will be the backdrop of all your beautiful photos. Once you have that down, you’re ready to start planning the rest of your wedding (if you haven’t already, time to create a Pinterest account). What are some helpful tips for choosing a venue, you ask? Here’s what we think:
1. Consider your guest list. Many venues, especially indoor, have a maximum capacity rule and charge a per-person fee. Think about how many people you think will RSVP yes and triple check that your venue and budget can accommodate that number.
2. Speaking of per-person fees, ask what that includes if your venue offers it. Most places are all-inclusive and aside from dinner and drinks, also provide tables, chairs, linens, silverware, cake, etc. This can make planning a bit easier and sometimes more budget-friendly, but make sure you love what they’re offering so you can plan around it.
3. In-house versus outdoor vendors. Many venues require that you use some or all of their in-house vendors, from catering to floral and even music. Others allow you to bring in any vendor of your choice or some compromise of the two. Discuss your preferences with your partner and venue before booking so there are no surprises later.
4. Consider the weather. Unfortunately the weather is unpredictable and what’s supposed to be a sunny day can end up in rain or snow, depending on the season. If you’re planning on having an outdoor ceremony and/or reception, talk to your venue about their last-minute weather alternatives. Can you move the ceremony indoors if needed? Where would it be? How many people can they accommodate? Make sure you’re aware of their policies and space in case of a weather emergency.
5. Ask others who were married there for advice. In today’s social media world, it’s easy to find other brides and grooms on community boards who have said their vows at your preferred venue. Ask them what the pros and cons were and if they have any advice before booking.
6. Wedding coordinators. Many venues offer day-of wedding coordinators/maître d’s as part of your all-inclusive price. Ask if this is an option and who would be there for your big day so you can meet them and make sure you’re happy.
7. Same-day weddings. Some venues with more than one ballroom will have more than one wedding taking place at the same time. You’ll never see the other wedding but if this is something that would bother you, make sure to ask your venue ahead of time. Extra tip: if you’re set on a venue and they typically have two weddings, ask if you can reserve the entire venue and what your options would be.
Have any other tips? Let us know below.