Category Archives: choosing a wedding hall

What spaces do I need at my wedding venue?

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wait staff at wedding venueMaking sure you have the right spaces at your wedding venue may not be a glamorous criteria on your wedding venue checklist, but it’s a necessary part of scouting locations for your big day. Many a married couple and an event planner can tell you that having the right rooms at your wedding venue is an invaluable part of planning a smooth-running day. (After all, who wants to change into their wedding attire in the car?)

Space vs. spaces

Let’s start with a key differentiation; we’re talking about the spaces you need on your wedding day as opposed to square footage. For square footage, make sure you ask the wedding venue about their maximum capacity—and make sure you don’t exceed that number. A maximum capacity is set in place for the safety of your guests.

Like the old fairy tale, the right wedding venue is not too big and not too small. Once you have used these tips to craft a tentative guest list, use that number to choose the right sized wedding venue. If you choose a wedding venue and only invite a few guests, your venue is going to look empty. The opposite decision can backfire as well; a wedding venue crammed full can send your wedding guests to the door because they are uncomfortable and feel crammed in.

Spaces

As important as adequate wedding venue square footage is ensuring that the right wedding spaces are available for your big day. Ask your wedding venue about rooms you need for your big day, such as a room for changing, a secure area for your belongings, catering space, restrooms, and—most fun!—unique spaces for wonderful photography opps.

If you’re planning on holding your wedding ceremony and reception at your venue, add that space to your wedding venue checklist. Ask the wedding venue if they have adequate space for the ceremony without having to make your guests wait for the venue staff to take down and set up the wedding reception.

Another key consideration for many couples is locating a venue that can meet the special needs of their guests. If you have a guest on your guest list with special needs, look for a wedding venue with spaces that are accessible for your guests.

Some venues come with an in-house caterer; if you’d rather bring in your favorite caterer, look for a venue with an open vendor policy (and tips on how to choose the right wedding vendors for your special day). A venue with an open vendor policy allows you to bring in a caterer of your choice, as long as they have a valid catering license. In addition to an open vendor policy, ask the venue if they have space for your caterer or if they have space for a tent your caterer can use. These are the spaces that might not be as exciting as dress shopping, but are vital when you’re planning every detail of your big day.

Wedding Venue Checklist

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outside rennaissance place a beautiful wedding venueYour wedding venue is one of the most vital (if not the most important) parts of your wedding day, so why should your process to choose the right venue be haphazard? No, the search for the right wedding venue should be organized (other tips for organized wedding planning here) so you don’t end up spending all your money on your venue (with no money for a dress!) or choosing a wedding venue that’s way too big. Are you on the search for the perfect site for your big day? Use this wedding venue checklist to find the right wedding venue that you can say, “I do” to (and use as the foundation as you coordinate all your wedding details!).

__Cost – what is the total cost of the venue (i.e. watch for overtime fees, extra costs.etc.)?

__Date – is the venue available on my wedding date OR what dates are the venue available?

__Handicap access – does the venue have access for any of your guests with special needs?

__Location – is the venue in the area you want? How far is the venue from your ceremony site?

__Planning does the venue have a wedding planner on staff that can assist me?

__Parking – does the venue have parking space that your guests don’t have to pay a fortune for?

__Reviews – what do other couples say about the venue? Are there a lot of complaints about the staff? (Tip: check their social media reviews.)

__Size – can the venue hold the amount of guests on my estimated guest list?

__Space – does the venue have all the spaces you need for your wedding (i.e. ceremony space, changing rooms, etc.)?

__Staff – does the venue provide the staffing you need for your wedding? Or do you need to find staff for your big day?

__Style – does the style of the venue fit with our style?

__Vendors – does the venue require that you use certain vendors? Or does it have an open vendor policy?

__Viewingwhen can I see it? Can you envision your wedding there?

6 Mistakes NOT to Make When Choosing Your Wedding Venue

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bride and groom on steps of wedding venueChoosing the wrong wedding venue for your big day can lead to some huge post-wedding regrets. To prevent those regrets, we’ve compiled a list of common mistakes couples make when narrowing down their choices of wedding venues.

Not asking about all the fees

Contact potential venues in your target area for prices before you visit—and don’t forget to ask about the details. We’ve given you a list of 15 questions to ask venue staff here, and don’t be shy about asking about charges and fees (such as an overtime fee) and what is included in the cost they are quoting you. This becomes especially relevant when comparing a venue that offers staffing versus a venue that does not. Once you factor in the cost of staffing, your prices may become equal—or it might be less expensive to go with a venue that offers staffing once you include all the costs together.

Looking at venues out of your budget

Once you’ve factored in all the costs and fees, mark off the out-of-budget venues off your ‘must see’ list—and don’t make any exceptions. Don’t risk falling in love with a place you can’t afford—or jeopardizes your future financial plans together as a couple. Do make sure that you, or someone you trusts, visit your potential wedding venue in person; don’t make this huge wedding planning decision without seeing your venue and seeing how it compares to the pictures you’ve seen online.

Making assumptions

wait staff at wedding venueDon’t assume that you can hold an awesome reception until the early morning hours. Restrictions like a limit on reception hours or choice of vendors can really dampen your reception. Do your due diligence when researching your wedding venues; make it a point to ask about any restrictions or venue requirements. If you have a caterer or florist in mind, choose a wedding venue with an open vendor policy which gives you control over who you hire to provide service at your dream wedding.

Not focusing on your guests’ needs

It doesn’t matter if you’re inviting 100 or 1,000 guests to your wedding. Keep your guests’ needs at the forefront of your venue decision while still selecting a venue that matches your style. Choose venues that are handicap accessible for guests with special needs, or make accommodations for them so they can attend (i.e. a golf cart that can transport them to your ceremony or reception). Don’t forget to think about all the needs of your guests, such as parking; your guests shouldn’t have to take out another mortgage on their house to pay for parking so they can come to your wedding. If possible, choose a venue with a specified parking area just for your guests

Choosing a venue that doesn’t fit all your guests

As much as you love that cozy little venue, don’t sacrifice the comfort of your guests—or their safety in an emergency—in a venue that won’t fit everyone. Ask your preferred venue how many guests they can accommodate, and narrow your list to wedding venues that can realistically fit all of your guests.

Thinking you can take it all on (when you can’t)

Feeling overwhelmed? Consider booking a wedding venue that has an event planner on staff. With an intimate knowledge of the venue, an on-site wedding planner can help you plan the night of your dreams—and help you avoid the mistakes and post-wedding regrets.