While you have every reason to bask in the newly engaged glow, you’ll soon want to get started looking at venues. Many can be reserved a year or more in advance, and it helps to get on the books before they fill up.
Hire a Planner
If you are considering hiring a wedding planner, do so before the venue visits. While preliminary online research can be helpful, it’s best to have your planner present when making venue decisions. They can offer insight on contract details and help you visualize the space’s capabilities.
It is wise to have a couple dates in mind to give you more options. If you’re unwilling to budge on the date, you might have to make some sacrifices with venue options.
Maybe you’ve long known you want to be married in your hometown or you’ve always dreamt of a destination wedding. It’s also possible that you’re open to a variety of locations. No matter the locale, some things to keep in mind include the venue’s proximity to airports, nearby accommodations and activities, as well as accessibility for those with disabilities, availability of parking, seasonal weather and area traffic.
While you may not have the detailed guest list set in stone, you should prepare a general estimate of attendees so you’ll know if the venue will comfortably accommodate your guests. This will also help with pricing if, for example, the venue charges per chair or for additional tables to be rented.
Your venue will be among the highest expenses of your wedding budget. So, it’s important to consider all the venue has to offer. Is it a space that could encompass both your ceremony and your reception? Does the price include rentals or are those extra? Is there in-house catering and bartending services? What taxes, gratuities and service charges will be added? All of these factors could potentially save or cost you more. So, it’s key to designate a budget ahead of venue visits.
Visualize Your Wedding Vision
You might have had wedding ideas and styles Pinterest pinned or pasted on a vision board for years. Or maybe your engagement has inspired your vision. Possibly, you have no idea what you want your day to look like. It can be helpful to ask yourself and your partner some questions: How formal will the event be? Will it be indoors or outdoors? Are you drawn toward modern, classic or boho styles? What time of day will the wedding be? When visiting a venue, does it align with your vision and style?
Make a list of your non-negotiables. This could include in-house catering, a beach view, a late curfew, the option for outside vendors, having the venue to yourselves, on-site space to get ready, the ability to bring your own alcohol, etc. These are details that could make or break your venue decision. These are things that you should ask about when researching and touring venues. And always carefully read a venue’s rules and restrictions.
Much like with your partner or when selecting your wedding dress — when you know, you know. While instinctual for some, others may be torn between two options. If all the logistics check out between two venues, then consider your feelings. How did the staff treat you? What emotions did you experience when visiting? Which place can you more vividly picture your wedding at? Trust your intuition, trust your gut.
Feature photo courtesy of Jennifer G Photography