Choosing 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.
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).
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.
No 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.
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.
When 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.
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.
When 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.
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.
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.