If you’re wedding planning, selecting the perfect wedding venue should be at the top of your wedding planning checklist. So much of your wedding revolves around your wedding site, and almost every detail you plan is dependent on the venue you choose. It’s important. So how can you pick the best wedding venue from all your options? We’ve compiled a list of questions to ask yourself so you can find the right location for your big day.
What is the date of your wedding?
Some couples have an exact date (an anniversary, holiday, etc.) and others don’t have as clear of a choice. You don’t have to know the exact day, but it is helpful to have a month (or months) and year to limit your venue options.
What style wedding do you want?
This is a good time to look at who you are as a couple. What is your style? Do you want an elegant wedding? A vintage wedding? A country chic event? Decide on this important detail before you book your wedding venue. A cohesive wedding has a common thread that ties it all together, starting with the ceremony site.
Do you need a wedding venue with a ceremony site and space for a reception?
You don’t have to have a schedule planned down to the minute, but you should decide whether you are holding your ceremony at a separate location or all at one venue. Some venues may not have the space for your ceremony and reception so be sure to ask right away.
How many guests are you expecting?
All you need is a general idea of your guest estimate. This is another “deal breaker” when narrowing down your options; be certain you choose a wedding venue that can fit all your expected guests comfortably (so they don’t feel like they are a sardine).
What budget do you have?
Don’t let the fact that this question is halfway down the list fool you; this is a VERY important question in your list. Sit down with your fiance, and any family or friends involved in the budget process, and set a budget. This eliminates a lot of heartache later when you have your heart set on a wedding venue that is way above your budget.
What do your guests need?
Do you have any guests with special needs, such as a family member in a wheel chair? Take this into account sooner than later so you don’t book a venue that is difficult for the ones you love. If you have out-of-town guests, look for a venue with lodging accommodations nearby and transportation options.
Do you need a full service wedding venue?
In general, there seems to be two types of wedding venues: venues with everything needed and location only venues. A full-service venue offers it all: an on-site coordinator, all the staff you’ll need (coat check, servers, etc.), event planning and other amenities and services for your big day. If you choose a venue without those services, make sure you factor other costs into your budget. Though these venues are often cheaper, other costs could drive your total higher.
Do you have a vendor you want to use for your wedding?
If you have a particular caterer you want to use, seek out venues with an open-vendor policy. Some wedding halls require that you use their in-house caterer or have a short list of caterers allowed in their facility.
Do you have any strong preferences that could limit your wedding venue search?
If you any specific requests (or requirements) for your wedding, such as serving alcohol or a very, very late reception end time, make sure you add that question to your list to ask each wedding venue. You may find that a reception hall you love is not the wedding venue for you due to limitations (i.e. curfew time, restrictions on alcohol served, etc.).
What is important to me?
Are you comfortable holding your wedding at a venue that is dependent on weather? This is especially true if you are considering booking an outdoor site or building without heating or cooling; you may need to book a tent or other shelter in case of inclement weather. Do you need event planning services? (If so, narrow down venues to those that offer wedding planning services.) Make a chart or spreadsheet with your preferences and a list of wedding venues. Organizing your thoughts and options can help you decide what wedding venues are worth visiting.
When can I see it?
Don’t book a wedding venue without viewing it and resist the temptation to rely entirely on pictures you see on social media or on the website. Schedule a private tour of the facility or visit during an open house. For best results, set your visit for the same time as your wedding ceremony or reception. Seeing your wedding venue in person, and finding out if it satisfies all your requirements, can help you decide which venue is the ‘one.’