We’re launching a 3 Part Series about
Choosing choosing wedding venues.
In Part 1 we’ll cover choosing your wedding reception venue,
in Part 2 we’ll cover choosing a venue for your ceremony only, and
in Part 3 we will cover venues where you can do both.
Maybe you can’t remember when it was simple to choose the location for your wedding? Mom & Dad’s backyard or favorite little restaurant! 🙂 Think of Father of the Bride when Steve Martin told Kimberly Paisley that he’d plan her wedding at The Steak Pit! :):):)
Well, George, times have changed for many couples!
Choosing a venue for your wedding reception can be really stressful, a huge task! And btw——if you’re having your wedding in your Mom & Dad’s backyard or at a favorite restaurant, we salute you!
For the rest of the couples out there, we’re presenting our 10 Tips to Choose Your Wedding Reception Venue. There are definitely more (for a variety of reasons), but if you’re on the hunt, these will more than get you started!
- What is your ideal working wedding budget? All things planning start from this point and choosing your reception venue is no different. If you don’t know how much you realistically can spend on your wedding, do that now. The venue is likely one of the largest investment in your wedding planning.
- How many guests do you want to have? Decide early in the process how many guests you would like to invite (versus expect to attend).This important number (which must fit into the budget) will tell you what size of venue you will need to hold your wedding reception.
- What is your wedding vision, style or vibe? Formal, casual, rustic, ocean front, outdoor, etc. Knowing what your style is along with your guest count narrows down the venues to a manageable choices and will also help you stick to your budget.
- Location of the venue. Easy to travel to— onsite parking— and nearby accomodations for your guests are some of the top things to look for. In addition, if you’re planning a destination wedding, you’ll want to know what other activities are available in the area for your guests to do.
- Decor/Style of the venue. Does this venue look like you? As you look at the many beautiful photographs of the venue during various weddings, can you honestly see yourself there? Will the venue allow you to put your stamp on for maximum personality— that is, can you change up the look? Many couples fall in love with a venue and know that with a little imagination they can work a magical transformation!
- Transportation. How easy is it to get to the reception venue? Often a wedding depends on transportation to get guests and wedding party to the venue. What is the cost to have accessible transportation throughout the reception for your guests?
- On-Site Facilities & Services for guests. Think restrooms, (more is always better!!!) private spaces for the couple as well as their wedding party to get ready or take a break.
- Does the venue allow outside vendors? If not, you will likely not be able to bring in vendors you choose but you may forced to use the list provided by the venue. Sometimes this list is carefully collated, other times it is less so.
- Noise & Accoustics should be considered. Each type of venue has it’s own rules and regulations, and perhaps some community rules to work with. Knowing if there are particular hours you have to stop the party because of a noise ordinance will be helpful. Let’s say you want to celebrate on a rooftop with a noise ordinance that stops the party at 10. Will this affect your plans? Is your heart set on a band? Is a band allowed in your venue? Is there ease of load in and load out? Is there a stage for the band? And, will the band sound GOOD based on the venues accoustics. The same thing can apply for DJ’s but often they are easier to accomodate in most venues. Will you need a dance floor or is one provided?
- On-Site personnel- Some venues have a full staff available, or a single point of contact that will be with you all throughout your wedding day—- not just the sales person. Ask if they also if they will be acting in the role of coordinator for your day (different than planning your wedding), and will they work closely with your own wedding planner. Does the venue require you to have your own wedding planner?
- Insurance, Cancellation & Other Requirements & Policies– Does the venue require all of your vendors to carry liability insurance? Does the venue require you as a couple to carry wedding insurance (We are HUGE proponents of wedding insurance for ALL weddings!) Check the cancellation policy! If you have to cancel, or sadly– they have to cancel….. what happens? What is their policy if the venue sells to new owners, are you protected? If the venue closes altogether, what is your recourse?
When you take a clear eyed look at all of the variables,
starting with a solid budget,
you should see several contenders
come to the top of the list.
Take your time researching the venue that is best for you before reaching out to possible venue locations. Hiring a wedding planner prior to searching for a venue is highly recommended. They can save you time in your search by knowing certain venues that will not be a fit for your wedding, and they can set up tours and offer valuable, read wedding insights into what it is like to work with them, etc. Follow venues you like through their social media pages and have an inside look at what they’re doing. Of course, as always, ask for referrals. While all vendors appreciate reviews there are usually 3 sides to every story, it is far better to have an open dialog with a vendor who is of interest to you and to get answers to the questions that are most important to you— instead of heresay.
Happy Wedding Planning!