You’re getting married. Congratulations! Before you design the invitations, or plan the flowers, you’ll need to start by choosing the right wedding venue for your special day. While choosing the right venue sounds easy, reserving the perfect site is a lot like Goldilocks in the story about the three bears. You need to find a site that’s not too big and not too small. Fortunately, you don’t have to eat porridge to find the “just right” venue, but finding the place that’s perfect does require a conversation with your fiancé about all the factors you both need to consider when selecting the perfect wedding venue:
- There are two ways to use your date to find the right wedding venue. First you can have several dates available and contact wedding venues about what dates are open. If your heart is set on a wedding venue and date, reserve the hall on that specific date as soon as possible (years in advance)—or ask for open dates and choose that date for your wedding. The second option is to set your dates and contact halls about that date. Once you know the facility is available, you can set up appointments to tour the sites that have your ideal date available.
- Your needs. Do you need a ceremony and reception site? Ask about the size of the hall. Do you need accommodations for out-of-town guests? Use a map to make sure the wedding venue is close to hotels. Do you need a caterer? Ask the venue manager about what services they provide. Do you have a caterer or other vendor that you want to use? If you have a vendor, you want to use, contact halls and ask what vendors they allow in to their facility. A few facilities even have an open door policy, and allow any company in to their venue. Does the venue have space for all your guests? To find the right site for your wedding, make a list of questions and your needs for the wedding. Ask the manager at each venue the questions before you tour the hall. If the venue won’t allow your preferred caterer, there is no reason to go visit.
- Your style. Are you a couple with traditional tastes? Do you like historic facilities? Prefer a barn out in the country? Talk with your fiancé about what kind of wedding he or she envisions to make sure you are contacting and visiting venues that match your tastes and style.
- Your budget. As you research facilities, ask for pricing information so you have a clear idea of all expenses. If you are looking for a way to save money, ask about weekday rates or set your wedding on a Friday or Sunday. Many halls have cheaper rates for these days.
- How much planning help you need. Are you busy and need help with coordinating your wedding? Ask each venue about wedding planning services.
Once you’ve set your wedding venue criteria, set up appointments to visit the hall. If you can’t personally visit the hall, send someone you trust. Make sure you ask questions and confirm every detail, and enjoy your storybook transformation from Goldilocks finding the right place to one of those fabled princesses or princes who finally finds true love.