Monthly Archives: December 2016

9 Reasons to Choose Your Wedding Venue

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1451 Rennaissance Place in Milwaukee with dramatic uplighting and crystal candlesChoosing a wedding venue is simple, right?  You just walk in, fall in love, and sign on the dotted line.  In reality, choosing the right venue for your wedding is a bit more complex—but well worth the effort.  Your wedding venue dictates so many other details: décor, style, even the wedding vendors you use.  You’d be crazy not to think through one of the most important details of your big day.  Here are some factors to help you make the big decision about the right wedding venue for your wedding.

Location

Where do you want to be married?  Think beyond just the city.  Consider your options carefully.  Choose a wedding venue in a prime location with nearby hotels for out-of-town guests (and guests that don’t want to drive home).

Date

There are two ways to use your date to find the right wedding venue. First, have a list of several dates and contact wedding venues to see what dates are available. The second option is to set your date and contact halls about the availability of that date.

Size

bride and groom dancing at summer wedding reception in beautiful wedding venueNo matter how beautiful the venue is, it’s not the right venue if it is too large or small for your guest list.  Put together a guest list with your fiance and any important family members.  You may find out that your mother wants to include every one of her sewing club pals or that your father-in-law has a list of business associates that may significantly increase your guest list.  Use the final guest list count to compile a list of potentially perfect wedding venues.

Your needs

Do you need a ceremony and reception site?  Or do you need assistance with wedding planning? Do you have a special idea that only some venues can accommodate?  Sit down and think about all of your needs before you contact wedding venues for potential visit dates.

Style

wedding reception hall with uplighting with bride and groom namesWhen you picture your wedding day, are you dreaming of an elegant, traditional wedding? Are you planning a vintage day with historic details?  Your wedding venue is the backdrop for all the other important details, so make sure you choose a venue that fits with your style.  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.

Budget

Ah yes, we said the ‘b’ word: budget.  Your budget is a key part of your decision process, but you need to be careful to make sure you choose a venue that fits your budget.  Ask each venue for a full list of fees that could be incurred so you have a full idea of cost.  You don’t want to book a venue that you think is within your budget, and end up with fees you didn’t anticipate on what is supposed to be the best day of your life.

Parking

wedding venue with dramatic backlighting and candlesWhen you wedding plan, you need to think about what you want and also what’s best for your guests.  As much as you want that venue with absolutely no parking, think about what is best for those joining you for your big day.  Ultimately, that means parking for them (who wants to walk block after block in heels?).  Ask each venue for parking options, and if your guests need to pay for it so you can include the information on your invitations or wedding website.

Vendors

If you have a specific caterer in mind, add “do you allow outside caterers to come in?” to your list of questions.  Some wedding venues only allow you use a specific vendor, while other venues have an open door policy that allows you to bring in the vendor you want to use.  Ask the question up front so you don’t waste your time visiting venues that won’t let you use your preferred vendor.

Your visit

Don’t book a wedding venue without seeing it first.  As great as a venue’s Facebook page or website looks, make sure you contact them to schedule a date to see the venue (and location) in person.

10 Questions to Ask Before You Start Wedding Planning

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wedding reception with MR & MRS letters after wedding planning has startedAs soon as the elation wears off from the proposal, it’s time for the fun wedding planning to begin.  Dress shopping, designing invitations, ordering cakes…you’re going to need a good wedding planning calendar.  You’ll also need to have a conversation with your partner, and anyone else significant to your wedding.  This simple step is an IMPORTANT initial step before you jump into wedding planning feet first.  So what should you talk about?  We’ve compiled ten questions that can get you both on the same page and set your wedding planning up for success.

Where do we want to get married? Do you have a wedding venue in that location in mind?

Nail down where you want to get married.  Do you want to hold the wedding in your home town?  Or have you always dreamed of a destination wedding?  Would you like to hold your big day in the city you live in?  Or at the college where you met?  Or would you like a peaceful setting like a family member’s lake house?

Next, discuss the criteria for your venue (or venues) in your chosen location.  What do you want in a ceremony site?  Do you want a religious ceremony?  Or would you rather hold your ceremony and wedding reception at the same venue?  Do you need a venue near hotels for your out-of-town guests? Use your answers (and these tips for choosing the right wedding venue) to create a short list of venues in your chosen location.

When do we want to get married? What dates works for us?

This is a BIG and important question.  For some couples, it’s easy to come up with special day: their first date, parent’s anniversary, etc. though you can if you want to get married on an anniversary, holiday, birthday, or other special day. For others, it’s a process trying to choose the right date; after all, there are 365 days a year to choose from (tips to help you choose the best wedding month here).

If you are on a time crunch, consider holding your wedding on a non-traditional day, such as a Thursday, Friday or Sunday, when wedding halls, caterers, photographers and other wedding vendors tend to be available. Also try to choose wedding venues where many of the details are set, such as a venue where the wait staff and coat check is included.

For couples who have longer to plan their wedding, start with a date, month and year, or series of dates. If you know what time of year or month you want to be married in, contact your wedding venue to see if they have any dates available during that time. 

How many people do we want to share our big day with?

Big or small?  Before you make any major wedding planning decisions, before you book your venue, before you contact caterers, you need to decide—and be on the same page—about the size of your guest list.  Make sure you actually write out the names (they don’t have to be exact names on the invites) with the amount of guests per household so you can make sure your guess is an accurate count.  If you know your parents want to invite friends, ask them for a list now before you start contacting venues and vendors.  You don’t want to book a venue that’s too big or too small for your guest list, or choose a caterer that blows your budget because of an inaccurate guest count.

What is our budget?

This is one of the most important questions in your initial conversation.  Where is the money going to come from to pay for your wedding?  How much do you have to spend?  Ask any family members that have expressed interest in contributing to your budget for an idea of how much, or what vendor, they are willing to pay.  If the answer is something like, “we are willing to pay for the wedding venue” ask for the amount they expect to cover so you don’t book a venue that is far more than they expect (or more than you expect to chip in for over and above their help).

How much wedding planning can we take on?

It’s an honest question that demands an honest answer; wedding planning takes a lot of time and follow through.  If you don’t think you can take on the overwhelming task list (or don’t want to), consider hiring a wedding planner to plan your big day or choosing a wedding venue with event planners on staff that can make your vision a reality.  

What is one thing (or things) you’ve always wanted on your wedding day?

The answers to the question run the gamut: some people dream and plan their big day for years, while others are fine with whatever final product comes their way.  If you ask this question, you may find that your fiance, who you thought fit into the latter category, has a particular request (or requests).  Now is the time to talk through any special requests now before the wedding planning begins.

What do we want our wedding day to look like?  What kind of wedding reflects us?

This is your special day together as a couple, and now is the time to decide what style you want to exude in your wedding details.  Would you like an elegant wedding? A more vintage occasion? A rustic and romantic evening?  Set the tone at the beginning of your wedding planning so you don’t choose details that don’t fit with your style and make your wedding look haphazard—and not well-planned.