It’s only been a few days or weeks since your engagement and you’ve had time to bask in all of your “engagement bliss”. Now everyone you see is asking the paramount question – “When’s the big day?”. By now you know that in order to answer that question, you have to choose an actual location to host your wedding, and finding the perfect wedding venue is no easy feat. You are literally engaging in a silent battle with tons of other engaged couples in your city or across the world (if you’re going with a destination wedding). And if you have special requests or a special theme for your wedding, your choice in venue may be on an even smaller list. That said, if you’re wondering how to find the perfect wedding venue, we’ve got you covered!
Talk to a Planner First
In the event management and wedding industry, there is an unwritten rule in the order of how clients should hire their vendors. The order is as follows:
- Find a planner
- Find a venue
- Book your entertainment
Finding a wedding planner is first on our list and is most crucial because you need someone with experience to guide your search for the best vendors. Wedding planners have a wealth of experience that will give them the advantage of being able to take your ideas and match them with the right venue(s) to help execute your vision. If they’re local (in conjunction with your wedding’s host city), they may also be familiar with the venue, venue managers and full-scale capabilities of the space. If you’re afforded the opportunity to work with a wedding planner, we encourage you to speak with your planner before doing anything else.
In today’s COVID-19 world, a wedding planner may seem like an unnecessary expense or you may be searching for ways to cut costs due to the economy. .Even if you decide to coordinate your wedding on your own, utilize some of the alternative services that some planners are offering. Many event planners are offering smaller “Coordination Services”, where they advise you in the beginning of your planning process, allow you to coordinate your event and find your own vendors, then they come in to help execute those plans 1-3 months out. DetailsMadeSimple.com offers services like these, so when you’re searching for planners and need to save a few bucks, be sure to ask them about their coordination packages so they can still help you with finding a venue.
Think About Your Priorities and Your Vision
It’s great to have a beautiful venue, but be sure to prioritize other important elements of your big day. For instance, are you hiring a live band? If so, consider your venue size and layout when searching for your venue. A live band with five or more pieces will need maximum space to accommodate both the band and dance floor. If your venue is on the smaller side, you may have to consider another venue or downsize your entertainment options. Depending on what you choose, just make sure you’re true to your original vision. You want your guests to have a beautiful backdrop but remember how you want your guests to feel and don’t allow a pricey venue to completely erase what you had in mind. Brides.com sums this up in the best way:
“With the influx of Pinterest weddings, a lot of couples choose venues based off of the style of a wedding they fell in love with online,” says Costanti. “But it’s important to ask yourselves what feels authentic to you two as a couple, and to choose a space and a design that’s a representation of who you are.” And remember that, while a venue might have looked gorgeous with a different theme or design scheme, it may not be the perfect canvas for yours.”
Remember Your Budget and Guest List
The wedding venue is usually one of the top expenses when you are planning a wedding and renting the space is just the beginning. Dėcor and flowers are all additional expenses needed to transform your venue. In addition to these costs, some venues require you to use an onsite caterer, which can be a little more expensive than using an outside caterer. On the other hand, you may want to adjust a super elaborate vision if the venue cost starts to mount. For instance, instead of hosting your ceremony and reception at two different locations, you may consider doing a “flip” in the same location for a cheaper rate.
Your guest list is also a major factor when choosing the perfect venue. The first thought is making sure your venue can accommodate the amount of guests you invite; however, you should also consider other factors such as out-of-town guests needing hotel accommodations and transportation. You may want to consider a venue near or connected to a hotel if this is the case.
Start Your Venue Search Online
Websites like The Knot and Wedding Wire have very robust search capabilities that help couples find local wedding venues. You can start your venue search online and even search through the reviews of past clients to get a feel for the amazing (and the unfavorable) elements of the venue and staff.
Pay a Visit to Your Favorites and Ask Questions
After you create a good working list of your favorite venues, your best bet is to take a tour of them all. Again, we recommend including a wedding planner to accompany you during your tours. On your visits, think about the guests’ experience and ask questions from that perspective. Here are some sample questions:
- How is the parking?
- Is the walk to the entrance or main area far?
- Does the venue have backup options if there are unfavorable weather conditions on the big day?
- How does the venue accommodate elderly or disabled guests?
- Is there cocktail hour space?
- Will you have access to a dressing or holding room for the newlyweds and their bridal party?
- Coat check options for fall or winter wedding dates?
We also realize that many venues will have social distancing restrictions for some time and it is important to ask questions about sanitation stands and other safety protocols. These are all additional factors that could impact your decision on choosing between your favorite venue options.
Weigh the Pros and Cons
After analyzing the pros and cons, you should be able to make a choice that best suits your vision and your wallet. Ultimately, choosing your venue is a huge decision that affects all aspects of your wedding. Be sure to ask for help, ask the venue manager all of the important questions and don’t let your search for the venue completely override your vision — just let it be a beautiful backdrop to your perfect wedding.
Images Courtesy of Cosmopolitan.com and Weddinz.in