One of the biggest decisions you and your hubby-to-be will make when planning is the wedding and reception location(s). There are so many factors that you should consider when searching for your perfect venue.
Image by John Gentry Photography
The obvious factors are things like:
- When’s the wedding ~ The season will determine whether you consider a indoor or outdoor venue.
- Guest count ~ Depending on whether you have a large or small guest list you may need to choose one venue over another. A small space may not fit a large guest list and a large space may make a small guest list look like no one showed up.
- Wedding style ~ If you are looking for a modern wedding with clean lines, a farm probably isn’t the perfect venue for you and if you are after a vintage look, a contemporary space may make it hard to pull together.
- Budget ~ Everyone has a budget and some locations may or may not fit into yours.
- One location or two ~ If your guest list includes more out of town guests than locals you may want to have your wedding and reception in one spot.
There are some factors that may not be so obvious. Each venue is unique, not only with what is included in the rental price but also with their policies of use.
Image by Keoni K
Some other factors you will want to keep in mind are:
- Rental Rate ~ What is and is not included. Some venues are more upfront than others about this so be sure to ask and get complete clarification before you sign a contract.
- Alcohol ~ What is the venue’s alcohol policy? Can you bring your own, do you need a ABC licensed bartender on site, or do they allow it at all?
- Music & Entertainment ~ Some churches have specific requirements for the music at your ceremony. Depending on the location of the reception venue, there may be a certain time when the music has to stop due to city ordinances.
- Photography/Videography/Cinematography ~ Some churches also have very strict policies that do not allow photographers and videographers in the sanctuary during the ceremony.
- Vendor restrictions ~ Many venues have specific vendors they use for events. For example, some venues require you to use a specific caterer when you rent the space. Sometimes they will allow you to “buy out” that caterer meaning you pay a fee and then you can bring in whoever you like as long as they are insured properly.
- Security ~ Museums and other venues with valuable items may require you to pay for security personnel during your event.
- Valet Parking ~ Depending on the parking availability around the venue location, they may require you to pay for a valet service for your guests.
- Other hidden costs ~ Because each venue is unique, there may be other charges not clearly identified in the rental rate. Be sure to discuss every detail of what you have planned for your event and specifically ask if there would be any additional charges for your plan.
The best plan of action is to know what style of wedding you want, when you want it, and what your budget is. From there, you can narrow down your venue options, take tours, gather information about each one, and weigh out the positive and negatives. Selecting your venue is a big decision but you can make the process much easier by prepping yourself before you tour them and by asking as many questions as you can.