Picking a wedding venue is a huge deal. It's costly but it sets the tone of your wedding not to mention it can be a stressful process. How can you find a venue that you can afford, you actually like, is convenient for you and your guests and isn't booked already? Trust me it is possible and here are 8 questions to ask yourself to make the process easier and more manageable.
1. Can I afford the venue?
Save yourself time by having a sound and realistic budget and then only look at the venues which fall within that budget. Don't torture yourself by looking at venues that cost $15000 when you have budgeted $4000. By doing this, you are saving yourself valuable time to focus on other aspects of your wedding and you are saving yourself heartache.
2. Is the venue available for the date that I need it?
Most venues offer online calendars which make it very easy to determine if that venue is available for the day you would like to book it. No calendar? Send them an email or give them a call to make sure they are available. When you go to view the venue, double check and make sure that your date is available so you aren't wasting time on a venue that you aren't able to book.
3. Does the venue capacity meet the needs of your growing guest list?
This can be a tricky one because often a venue will inflate their capacity to accommodate more guests. One way to determine if your guests will comfortably fit your venue is to ask what number of guests will be comfortable in the setting. Just because a venue says it will accommodate 200 guests doesn't mean that 200 guests will be comfortable.
4. Does the venues available space and layout fit your needs?
A good example of this is if you are planning on doing your ceremony, reception and cocktails all in this one location. Are there three separate spaces to for those three events? If there are not three separate spaces, does the venue offer to flip the space for you? Will they flip the ceremony space to a reception hall in a timely manner while you and your guests are having pictures taken? If this is the case, where will the couple be kept prior to the processional? If the couple doesn't want to see each other prior to the ceremony, where will they be kept?
5. Location, location, location?
If your venue is in a remote location, are you ok with providing transportation for your guests to get to the venue? Often a couple will overlook the logistics behind getting their guests to the venue location and this can be a costly oversight when it comes to the need to rent shuttles or buses. Maybe a centrally located venue might be better? Does this venue have ample parking for all of your guests and is it within a short walking distance from parking? Is public transportation close and readily available?
6. Are there any catering restrictions?
Some venues require that you use their exclusive caterer and this can come at a steep price. Do you have a caterer that you want to use for your event? Make sure that the venue is ok with you using the caterer that you want and that you won't be charged an additional fee to use your own caterer. On the flip side, are you wanting a venue that provides catering? Check with them that they do provide catering and that it is the type of food that you are wanting to provide for your guests.
7. Does the venue fit your vision?
This can be a difficult one because you may have a gut feeling about the location and it completely depends on the type of wedding you are having. Will your wedding be more formal and does the venue need to fit with that formal vision? Maybe you want an outdoor setting where there is plenty of grass and some shade on a beautiful sunny day? Does the venue decor match with what your wedding day vision entails and can decor be changed to better suit your needs? There are several things to consider when matching a venue to your vision and often it is important to ask lots of questions of the venue to ensure that you are choosing a venue that will fit your idea of the perfect day.
8. If considering all-inclusive, what does that mean for your budget?
All-inclusive wedding packages have become increasingly popular because of the ease in which it is to plan your wedding. This can be beneficial to you if you have time constraints or just don't want to have to plan every single aspect of your wedding. This luxury does come at a price though. Typically, all-inclusive venues are expensive and they don't allow for you to have certain elements of your wedding day unique to just you. Everything is set to include location, catering, DJ, officiant and all other details. You don't get the flexibility or benefit of making your own decisions when it comes to certain aspects of your wedding. Also, these places are often times "wedding mills" where couples and their guests are pushed through the process in a hurried manner because there are 5 other weddings taking place that day. Nothing bad about these venues because they do provide ease of planning, but consider what your wants and needs are when it comes to every aspect of your wedding.