Hey, Brides and Grooms! We’re excited to talk about one of our favorite things: picking a wedding venue! There are so many options with different offerings out there. It can be very overwhelming for a newly engaged couple, making it so hard to compare them, when it’s not exactly “apples to apples”.
Your wedding venue selection is one of the first things on any given wedding planning checklist you will find. After all, the venue is very important! The space you choose sets the date (of course!) and tone of the event. As wedding planners, we want to be sure you’re asking all the right questions and covering all of your bases to ensure it’s within your budget. There are still many couples who come to us after they’ve booked the venue.
Don’t get us wrong; we are here to help you at any point in the process…but to get the most out of our services, let us help you find the wedding venue! We have plenty of resources, budget creation experience, and even access to private venues. If you decide to tackle the venue search head on, here’s a few tips from us to you.
- Look around online but also ask around. You will be surprised how many of your friends and family have been to other weddings in places you may never think or know of.
- Use resources like The Knot and Wedding Wire. Also, check for local photographers in your area and look through their blog posts of real weddings. It’s a great way to see a wedding venue from beginning to end.
- Inquire with the venues you like to get availability and package pricing.
- Create a document (we prefer Google Sheets) to add all the information in one area for easier comparison. Column categories to consider adding to your document: name of location, availability, rental price, hours of rental, catering options, etc.
- Pick 2-3 of your top venues and set up a time to visit them. You can do them back-to-back, but that can be overwhelming. Just be sure to do them close enough to remember what you like and don’t like about each.
- Ask what the parking situation is at each of your venues so you know exactly where you are going.
WEDDING VENUE VISIT
- Bring anyone along that is a “decision maker” in the planning process. Most of our couples bring their parents to help make the decision. That allows you and them the opportunity to ask anything that comes up.
- Walk through the space with an open mind. You can take any space and create something out of it. This is where a wedding planner would be helpful in seeing something you might not.
- Don’t ever feel like you’re asking too many questions. It’s better to know up front then get hit with something right before the wedding. Because the number of questions you should be asking is extensive, we thought it would be easier to dive into them next week on our blog so be sure to check back!
- After each visit, quickly jot down the pros and cons you felt about it, while it is fresh in your mind.
As we mentioned, we will get into detail with specifics of the contract and questions later. Overall, here are a few things to think about:
- Length of Rental – Some places allow you to come in the day before to set up and return the day after for breakdown. (This is uncommon at popular venues where they book Friday, Saturday. and Sunday nights.)
- Restrooms – Are they clean and easily accessible?
- Getting Ready – If you’re planning on getting ready on-site, do they have a space? If not, be sure to have another option.
- Catering – Do they have someone on-site? If so, what’s the minimum? If not, who can you bring in?
- Alcohol – Do they have a liquor license?
- Staffing – What does the venue’s staff do for your event?
VENUE DEBRIEF & DECISION
- Add the list of pros and cons to your initial venue document. Immediately delete or cross off the venues you could not see yourself getting married at or are over budget.
- Ask to get a contract for the remaining venues to review. This should have all the outlined details you discussed.
- Sleep on the decision if you are unsure. If you have a feeling in your gut, go with it!
- Sign the contract and place deposit!
For those of you in our area, check out our blog post on our Top 10 Venues in Maryland!
Photo by Alysia & Jayson Photography