Category Archives: wedding planning first steps

The Ultimate Wedding Venue Checklist

Once the glow of popping the question wears off (and the “yes!”), the next logical question is “where?” The good news is that there are quite a few wedding venues in the Milwaukee area that make a beautiful backdrop for any couple’s big day.

Narrowing down those options to the perfect wedding venue can feel overwhelming, because choosing the right wedding venue is a big choice. This is the site of your wedding, after all, and it’s incredibly important.

The right wedding venue is the foundation of all your other wedding details. It can be the perfect backdrop with a staff that makes wedding planning less stressful—-or the complete opposite. That’s why we put together a wedding venue checklist. This guide can help you choose the best wedding venue that fits all your criteria and makes you and your guests say “wow!”

Of course, before you start venue hunting, don’t skip the crucial steps of setting a budget and asking your fiancé some crucial wedding planning questions. From there, use this wedding venue checklist to narrow down your options to a list of venues worthy of a venue tour.

Venue Availability

___ Available on wedding date (If you don’t have a wedding date, ask the wedding venue for available dates during your desired season or month.)

___ Exclusive use of wedding venue (This is important if you don’t want other events held at the wedding venue at the same time.)

___ Guest accommodation (Use these tips to set a wedding guest list. Always ask the wedding venue for the number of guests they can accommodate for comfort and safety.)

___ Ceremony space (Applicable if you want to hold your wedding ceremony and reception at the venue. Also ask if guests need to wait for breakdown and set-up after the ceremony.)  

Venue Cost

___ Budget-friendly (Don’t forget to ask how many hours are included in the rate, if there are any overtime fees, and what equipment is included in the cost.)

___ Wedding planning services (This is important for couples who want help with some or all of the wedding planning.)

___ Venue staffing (Ask if there is any staff included in the rate, such as an on-site manager, coat check, and bar staff.)

Venue Policies

___ Liability insurance (Very important! Be careful about booking a wedding venue without insurance.)

___ Cancellation policy (Be sure to ask just in case of an issue. If you are in the military, ask if the date can be moved without penalty.)

___ Vendors included (This can include the caterer, décor, equipment, and even the photographer.)

OR

___ Open-vendor policy (An open vendor policy allows you to select and bring in your vendor of choice, such as your favorite caterer.)

___ No limitations on volume and alcohol

Wedding Venue Accommodations

___ Guest Parking (Ask to see the parking lot to make sure it is close and affordable.)

___ Handicap Accessibility

___ Close to local accommodations for out-of-town guests (i.e. hotels, inns, etc.)

Your First 5 Wedding Planning Tasks: Where to Start

wedding day at a reception hall with bride and groom dancing after wedding planningEverybody has that one thing they really want in their wedding: unique wedding favors, a fantastic DJ, that must-have band, the one-of-a-kind cake or menu option.  Fact is, it’s easy to get caught up in all the details and miss out on a few—and important—wedding planning details.  It can make you miss out on the best site for your reception, the quality caterer, and all the other big details that leave an impression on your guests.  So where do you start wedding planning? Here are five big details that’ll get your wedding planning off on the right foot—and create the perfect foundation for your big day.

Fiance & Family Conversation

We know this first step isn’t technically a wedding detail, but it is vitally important to the wedding planning process.  Talk to your fiance about the guest list (specifically how many), budget, style, and any specific requests or wants they want (you may be surprised!).  If you have other family members that have expressed interest in helping you with planning, talk to them about any guests they want to invite, any financial contributions they may want to make, and any special requests they might have for your big day.

During your conversation, set a date or a time of year for your wedding so you can start to research and confirm the major details of your wedding.

Wedding Venue

It’s time to turn your vision into reality. Start with the one detail that sets the backdrop for your vision, and plays a major part in creating the right atmosphere for your big day.  Decide the area you want to hold your wedding in, and any special needs you might have (i.e. handicap accessibility, parking, close to hotels, etc.)

Contact venues that fit the location and any special needs you have, plus fit the style you and your fiance want for your big day.  For instance, if you’re looking for an elegant venue with character, look for historic venues in the city with plenty of parking.  When you contact the sites, make sure you ask for a list of fees (along with these other questions) to make sure your final cost fits with your wedding budget.

Catering

Not everyone can create a delicious spread that fits your atmosphere and delights the taste buds, so make sure you book a quality caterer right after you book the venue.  Some wedding venues require you to use a specific caterer; if you have a caterer you really want to use, ask your wedding venues if they have an open vendor policy.  Open vendor policies allow you to bring in whatever vendors you want and ask the staff for recommendations for others if you don’t know.

Entertainment

If you want excellent wedding entertainment, don’t wait to contact and book entertainers.  The best wedding entertainers’ (bands, DJs, etc.) calendars fill up fast, so make sure you don’t procrastinate.  As soon as you have your date and wedding venue, start contacting and booking the right wedding entertainer for your big day.  Many venues have limitations on how long your wedding entertainment can play, or sound restrictions, so make sure you ask your venue about entertainers before you sign on the dotted line.

Dress shopping

Once you have your backdrop set and have a set wedding atmosphere, it’s time to fill in all the details that make a coordinated wedding—including the dress!  Make sure you wait until after you book the venue to make sure you don’t have a mismatch, such as a traditional hall and a modern dress or a contemporary dress with a historic hall.  It’s time to make sure all your details fit together for a beautiful, coordinated day—and to have fun wedding planning!