It’s one of the most common wedding planning questions: “when do I book my Milwaukee wedding venue?” Once you’ve figured out who the “one” is, choosing the venue is the logical next step—right after you sit down and have an honest conversation with your fiancé and ask key wedding planning questions.
When to Book Your Venue
Most wedding planning checklists say you should book your Milwaukee wedding venue 9-12 months before your wedding date. There are some wedding venues that are in high demand, however, and should be contacted as soon as possible (as soon as 2 years before!)
If you are uncertain about your exact wedding date, contact your favorite Milwaukee wedding venue and ask them for open dates during your favorite season or month. This is also a great strategy for couples whose preferred wedding date is already taken. You can also ask about wedding days around your favorite wedding date (like a Friday or Sunday). (If you don’t have a date in mind, use these tips for choosing the perfect wedding date.)
How to Find the Right Milwaukee Wedding Venue
It’s not hard to find a list of Milwaukee wedding venues, but it can be hard to narrow down the list to your favorite! To find the right wedding venue, follow these steps.
Decide on your favorite venue style.
Your wedding venue is the backdrop for every wedding detail, so it makes sense to choose a wedding style before searching for your wedding venue. Is your style modern? Do you love historic details? Are rustic touches your style? Have you always dreamed of an elegant wedding in a glamorous wedding hall?
Set a budget.
Setting a wedding budget is a key wedding planning step. It’s one of those key details you should discuss with your fiancé before you start wedding planning. You can use a wedding budget worksheet or do it on your own.
If you choose the latter, remember that most of your funds (typically 40-60%) should be designated for “big ticket” items that make a big impact on guests. Namely, these areas include your Milwaukee wedding venue, food, and entertainment.
Once you have a budget set (and have talked to anyone else willing to contribute), use the estimated amount to narrow down the list of wedding venues. Contact each Milwaukee wedding venue that fits your style and guest count and ask them for the total cost and if they have any other fees (i.e. overtime fees, equipment charges, etc.) (Remember, never assume that a wedding venue isn’t affordable. Some of the most beautiful Milwaukee wedding venues are actually very budget-friendly.)
Estimate your guest list count.
Don’t panic! You don’t have to sit down and come up with an exact guest list, but it is helpful to have a general guest count. (Plus these tips for crafting the perfect guest list.) Do you want a big wedding? Or a smaller, more intimate event? An estimated guest count is useful to make sure that you choose a wedding venue that is the perfect size for your big day.
Your guest count can also be set by setting a wedding budget. If your budget is tight, it may make sense to limit your guest count so you are not stretched thin.
Consider your wedding date (or season).
Think about when you want to get married. Do you have a favorite season? Is there a special date you want to use, like a family wedding date or the day you met? If you’re truly at a loss, use these tips for choosing the perfect wedding date.
Think about whether you really want a particular wedding vendor.
Have a favorite wedding caterer? Is there a wedding photographer or videographer you can’t wait to use? If so, look for a Milwaukee wedding venue with an open vendor policy (and add this question to your list of wedding venue questions). An open vendor policy allows you to bring in any wedding vendor. (If you don’t have a favorite vendor, ask the wedding venue staff for recommendations.)
Ask friends and families for recommendations.
Once you’ve set your criteria for a venue (i.e. budget, style, guest count, etc.), don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for recommendations for a Milwaukee wedding venue. This request does come with a risk however; be ready for friends or family that say you “absolutely have to” use their favorite venue. (Remember this is your decision!)
Look online for Milwaukee wedding venue reviews.
Booking a Milwaukee wedding venue is about more than just style. It’s also about the total experience—both on the wedding day and during planning. To find out what other couples’ experience has been, look online at wedding review sites. These sites, like The Knot, Wedding Wire, and even social media, give you insight into what other couples thought about the venue and their staff.
Your wedding day should be a wonderful experience for everyone, so don’t forget to consider the logistics of every wedding venue. Do they offer free parking? If so, how far do guests have to walk? Will you need to rent an extra van or bus to transport your wedding party and guests?
Questions to Ask Wedding Venues
When contacting a Milwaukee wedding venue, always ask these wedding venue questions:
- Is my wedding date available? -OR- What dates are available around this date or in this month?
- Does your wedding venue host more than one event at the same time?
- Do you carry insurance?
- Are there wedding planners on staff that can help me plan my wedding day?
- What is the capacity of your wedding venue?
- Are tables and chairs included in the cost?
- What is the cost of the wedding venue? How many hours does the cost include? Are there overtime fees?
- When is payment due?
- Are staff included in the cost (i.e. bartenders, coat check, etc.)?
- Is there a curfew we need to follow?
- Are there any vendors we have to use? Can we bring in our favorite vendors?
- Does the venue provide a bartender and alcohol? Or would we need to bring in alcohol?
- Is there parking near the venue? If not, how much does local parking cost?
- Are there local accommodations for my out-of-town guests?
- What is the venue cancellation policy? What is the policy for rescheduling?
- Is the venue accessible for guests with mobility issues?
- When can I schedule a wedding venue tour?