If you are newly engaged and wondering where to begin the wedding planning process, one of the first things to sort out is where you will be getting married. Along with your caterer, one of the biggest chunks of your budget will quite possibly go toward your wedding venue. Here are some points to keep in mind and some questions you may want to ask during your search, culled from essortment.com.
How to choose a venue:
1. Do you plan to marry in a church or synagogue, and then move somewhere else for the reception? Or do you prefer the convenience of having the wedding ceremony and reception all under one roof? Factors such as ease of transport from service to reception will be important when planning your church wedding.
2. Make a list of all possibilities, and then call them to check the availability on the day you and your beloved have decided to wed. This will narrow down your search, as venues tend to book up quickly and some may not even be available on your desired date. It’s a good idea to reserve your venue from six months to a year before your actual wedding. If you have your heart set on a particular venue, you may have to be flexible about the date.
3. Put together a tentative guest list of family and friends you think will be at the wedding. Then, look only for venues that can accommodate that number of guest. If you plan on inviting the whole town, you’ll need a large hall that fits all those hundreds of people. If you plan on having a smaller affair, you can choose something more cozy. Find out when the venue of choice needs to have a head count.
4. Discuss your wedding budget with your spouse-to-be, and decide how much money you can devote to the wedding venue. Some venues charges a flat fee, while others charge per hour. Some provide special packages that you may be able to work into your budget. You should als0 find out whether they offer discounts on certain days, like a Thursday or Sunday. Once you decide on a venue, make sure to find out when deposits and payments are due.
5. Ask the wedding venue director what items are included in the price. Some venues offer tables, linens, chairs, and even decorations, while other venues offer only the space that you will need to fill. Be sure to find out if a set-up or clean-up fee is included in the price, and how much time before and after the wedding will be needed to do so.
6. Find out whether the venue offers only in-house catering or if they allow outside caterers. If you and your fiance have dietary needs, or have your hearts set on a particular menu, this will play a part in your decision. If the catering is in-house, inquire whether it is also included in the price.
7. Do you want to be married outdoors? Look for a place that will host an outdoors wedding ceremony and/or reception, but make sure they have a provisional space in case of bad weather, too. Also, find out if the venue offers changing rooms for the bridal party and groomsmen.
8. If you and your spouse-to-be plan on serving alcohol, discuss any rules or restrictions they may have. Some venues allow you to bring in your own liquor, while others make you use their own in-house bar and bartender.
9. Bands and other forms entertainment can take up a large amount of space, as can a dance floor, so decide when and where you want the entertainment to take place, and check that there will be enough space available.
10. Parking may be a consideration for your guests. Some venues offer valet parking (which you can choose to cover) while others offer adequate-sized parking lots for all of your guests.
Types of Venues:
Your perfect wedding can take place just about anywhere you want it to, but here are some of the most popular choices, brought to you by WeddingPath.
Historic wedding reception venue. Castles, country houses and stately homes are among the locations many dream of for their big day. If your budget can stretch to it, this offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy the use of a stunning building.
Hotel wedding reception. There are so many different types of hotel that there’s likely to be something for everyone, from traditional to ultra-modern. Having accommodation on the spot is, of course, a big plus.
Marquee wedding reception. If you have access to spacious gardens or other outdoor space, a marquee, or tent, could be worth considering. Many people are surprised at how pricey it can be to hire a marquee for their wedding, but the plus side is that you can take control of wedding catering and could save a considerable amount by providing your own alcohol.
Sports or social club wedding reception. Different types of club premises can be perfect for a wedding reception. Do plenty of research and you could find one that’s in a stunning location, too. For example, some sailing or rowing clubs have picturesque waterside views, and can often be hired at a reasonable price, certainly compared to other popular wedding venues.
Restaurant or pub wedding reception. Food and drink are among the main ingredients for a successful wedding reception, so where better to head than to a lovely restaurant or pub? Bear in mind that you’re more likely to find a good match if your wedding party is smaller, and if you’re lucky you might even be able to escape the heavy costs that are often quoted as soon as you mention the ‘w’ word!
Things to watch out for!
Wedding prices. Don’t fall for over-inflated prices. Whether it’s sky-high drinks or hidden costs in the small print, you don’t want to feel exploited, so vote with your feet if you feel it’s not worth it.
Wedding venue staff. Do they seem experienced and professional? Are they flexible and willing to adapt to your needs? This will be a major factor in how smoothly your day runs.
Wedding venue facilities. Is the venue accessible for guests with a disability? Is there appropriate seating for the elderly and/or young children?
Wedding guest accommodation. Is there a reasonable range of accommodation (hotels, guest houses, etc) within easy access of the venue?
Wedding transport. Is there enough parking for guests who drive, and decent transport links for those who don’t?
Wedding venue restrictions. Does the venue impose limitations that could put a damper on your celebration? Some stipulate no loud music after a certain time, others don’t like confetti or candles, and certain (usually historical) venues forbid high-heeled shoes for fear of their flooring being damaged.
Wedding photography. Plenty of natural light in your venue will mean better pictures. You might also want to check that there are plenty of appealing outdoor spots close at hand.
Wedding decoration. Are table linen, flowers, place cards and other decorations included in the quoted price, or will you have to provide your own?
Wedding extras. Check the availability of extras such as a cake stand and cake knife. Many wedding venues will lend you these, but having to hire them separately adds to your hassle and your wedding expenses.
Photo from countymarquees.com