Unlocking the Perfect Wedding Venue
"Soooo...Where will the wedding be?!"
One of the second questions that you may feel bombarded with right after you answer"When is the wedding?!".
Finding your venue can feel exciting but also can feel like a very time-consuming process.... between the research, the meetings, and weighing the pros and cons it can feel never-ending...
Here are some steps to help make the process not only more enjoyable but also efficient and organized as possible.
1. Determine your budget: Before you start looking for venues, establish a budget for your wedding. This will help you narrow down your options and ensure you're only considering venues within your price range. It is also important to remember to be realistic, in regard to the expectations that you have to set yourself up for success. For example, before you meet with and start daydreaming about a 50 000K venue, ensure that will realistically fit within your budget.
2. Decide on the location: Determine where you want to have your wedding. Consider factors such as accessibility for your guests, proximity to accommodations, and whether you prefer an indoor or outdoor venue. Although leaving it open can often feel like you will have more options, it can at times hinder the venue research process!
3. Determine your wedding style: Think about the overall style and atmosphere you and your partner want for your wedding. Do you prefer a rustic barn, an elegant ballroom, a beachfront location, or a garden setting? Having a clear vision of your wedding style will help you narrow down your venue options.
4. Make a guest list: Have a rough idea of how many guests you're expecting to invite. This will help you choose a venue that can comfortably accommodate your guest count.
5. Determine a date: Determine the time of year, exact or approximate date you are hoping for and whether or not you are flexible. This will also help rule out options that are NOT available on your date.
6. Research and make a list: Start researching venues in your desired location. Utilize online resources like wedding websites, directories, and social media platforms to compile a list of potential venues. Read reviews and view photos that other couples have posted to get an authentic perspective of the venue. Their experiences can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision. Additionally, seek recommendations from friends, family, or wedding planners who may have knowledge of reputable venues. You can also attend local wedding shows or join wedding Facebook groups in your desired location to also get a feel for venue options.
7. Contact the venues to further investigate pros and cons. I recommend you ask THESE questions.
8. Visit the venues: Schedule visits to the venues in person or via Zoom. This will allow you to see the spaces in person, visualize how you want to set up the ceremony and reception and ask any questions you may have. Take note of the venue's ambiance, layout, amenities, and restrictions. Remember to take pictures while you are there. I also recommend clients look at venues from a few perspectives, read more HERE.
9. Consider venue logistics: Evaluate the venue's capacity, availability, and flexibility. Ask about their policies regarding catering, vendors, bathroom facilities, decorations, and any restrictions they may have. Consider the ease of parking, accessibility for guests with disabilities, and the proximity to public transportation.
10. Review the contract and costs: Carefully review the venue contract, paying attention to details such as the rental fee, payment schedule, cancellation policies, and any additional charges or services included. Ensure you understand all the terms and conditions before signing the contract.
11. Make a Pros and Cons list: After considering all the factors, compare the pros and cons of each venue, and choose the one that aligns best with your vision, budget, and requirements. Remember to both be involved and comfortable with the decisions and hear each other's concerns (if any).
Remember, selecting a wedding venue is a personal decision, and what works for one couple may not work for another. Take your time, do thorough research, and trust your instincts to find the perfect venue for your special day.
Venue ideas to explore:
1. Non-traditional spaces: Think outside the box and consider unique venues that are not typically used for weddings. This could include art galleries, museums, Aquariums, zoos, libraries, botanical gardens, or even a rooftop terrace. These spaces often have distinctive features and a plus they can often be more affordable than traditional wedding venues.
2. Community or civic centers: Many cities have community or civic centers that offer event spaces at affordable rates. These venues often have a range of room sizes to choose from, allowing you to find a space that suits your guest count. They may also provide tables, chairs, and basic amenities, which can help reduce rental costs.
3. Parks, gardens, and beaches: If you're a nature lover, consider hosting your wedding in a park or garden. Many public parks have designated event spaces available for rent. These outdoor venues provide a beautiful backdrop and often require minimal decoration. However, be sure to have a backup plan in case of inclement weather.
4. Historic sites: Look for historic sites or landmarks in your area that allow weddings. These sites often have unique architectural features and offer a sense of history and charm. Some may have rental options at affordable rates or offer special packages for weddings.
5. Restaurants or cafes: Consider local restaurants or cafes that have event spaces available for rent. Many restaurants have private rooms or outdoor patios that can be transformed into intimate wedding venues. This option can be cost-effective, especially if the venue provides catering services.
6. Vacation rentals or Airbnb: If you're planning a smaller wedding or elopement, consider renting a vacation home or booking an Airbnb with a scenic location. Remember not all rentals allow events, be sure to inquire if events are allowed as well as determine what the extra event fees are!
7. Country Clubs or Golf Courses: Country clubs and golf courses typically have well-maintained grounds and landscaping as well as well-maintained ballrooms.
8. Backyard: Whether your backyard or a relative's or a friend's, this can be a cost-effective alternative. You may be able to swing a great deal by renting from someone you are close to. It is important to remember that at times, rental (tent, bathrooms, decor, florals, etc) MAY end up being more than you expect with all the extra "add-ons" and work that is required.
9. Schools or universities: Some schools and universities rent out space for a very reasonable price, plus it may be nostalgic if you are alumni to the school. It is important to really access the venue as it could vary from gym floors and basketball hoops to old exposed brick and beautiful architecture.
10. Theatres: There are a variety of theatres that offer packages for ceremony and reception, and a theatre may be a great fit, depending on your vibe! They can at times be a great budget friendly alternative; for example have a ceremony for $600 or a ceremony and reception for $1,600 at the Michigan Theatre
Remember to always inquire about any restrictions or additional costs associated with these unique venues. It's also important to consider factors such as parking, accessibility, and the availability of amenities like restrooms and kitchen facilities. By exploring these unique and cost-effective venue ideas, you can create a memorable wedding experience without breaking the bank.