Your Ultimate Guide to Shopping for the Perfect Wedding Venue
Planning a wedding is an exciting journey filled with decisions big and small. One of the most significant choices you’ll make is selecting the perfect venue for your special day. With so many options available, from picturesque gardens to grand ballrooms, navigating the world of wedding venues can feel overwhelming. But fear not! We’re here to guide you through the process and help you find the venue that’s just right for you.
- Start Early & Hire A Wedding Planner: Begin your search for the perfect wedding venue as early as possible. Popular venues often book up months, or even years, in advance. Starting your search early gives you the best chance of securing your dream location. By hiring a Wedding Planner, this can help alleviate the time it takes to research venues and they also have the ability to sometimes negotiate with the Venue on your behalf. It’s important to have a meeting with your planner so they are aware of your budget, vision, ect, before they start scheduling tours of venues they believe you will love.
- Set Your Budget: This is vital! As mentioned in #1. Before you start visiting venues, it is essential to have a clear understanding of your budget. Determine how much you’re willing to spend on the venue, and keep in mind the additional fees and vendors such as service fees (which can range from 22%-26%), catering, decorations, photographer, dj and other services. (example: You love this hotel venue and you have an overall budget of $20,000 and the food and beverage minimum is $10,000 for your guest count of 75. This looks affordable right now but this is just the minimum you have to meet. If the food menu you select is $169 per person before taxes and the administrative fee you are looking at $12,675. Still looks like you can afford this with a $20k budget? Now, let’s add the service fee and taxes… So this venue has a 24% service fee and a 7% sales tax. Let’s add this up now F&B $12,675 + Service Fee 24% $3042 + Tax 7% $1100.26 = $16817.26. So, if you subtract your overall budget with the F&B cost you have $20,000 – $16817.26 = $3182.74 left of your budget and you have not even booked your photographer, flowers, décor, dj, officiant, cake, dress, suits, coordinator, planner (if you wanted one to help with the planning.)
So, the Budget is the most important part to have in place before you get started on your planning. So many people run out of money because they don’t know where to start or they booked a venue way out of their budget thinking they would cut somewhere else and then realize they are going to have to fully sacrifice something they really wanted because there is just no room in their budget to accommodate their wants.
- Consider Your Vision: Think about the type of wedding you envision. Are you dreaming of a romantic outdoor ceremony surrounded by nature, or do you prefer the elegance of a historic ballroom? Consider your personal style and the atmosphere you want to create for your big day.
- Location, Location, Location: The location of your venue is crucial for both you and your guests. Consider factors such as proximity to accommodations, transportation options, and the overall ambiance of the area.
- Capacity and Layout: Make sure the venue can accommodate your guest list comfortably. Consider the layout of the space, including areas for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception, as well as amenities like bathrooms and parking.
- Flexibility and Customization: Look for a venue that offers flexibility and allows you to personalize your wedding day. Whether you want to bring in your own vendors or customize the décor to reflect your style, make sure the venue can accommodate your needs.
- Services and Amenities: Inquire about the services and amenities offered by the venue. Some venues may provide in-house catering, event planning assistance, and other services to help make your day stress-free.
- Schedule Site Visits: Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential venues, schedule site visits to see them in person. Pay attention to the overall condition of the space, the quality of the facilities, and how well it aligns with your vision. Ask yourself if you could see your wedding day there. If you can’t vision it then it’s not the one.
- Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions during your site visits. This is where a lot of couples make a huge mistake. They don’t ask the enough questions because they simply don’t know everything to ask since they don’t do this for a living. Questions is another area that your Wedding Planner can help you. Clarify any doubts you may have about pricing, policies, and availability. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of what’s included in the venue package. Ask things like “Is décor included?” “Are we allowed to bring in our own food and alcohol?” “Is there any vendors that is exclusive to this venue where we don’t have a choice but to use them?” “Can I get an actual full breakdown of the most popular menu package in a quote for X guests so I know what I’m looking at cost wise?” “What’s parking like? Is it free parking or is there a cost?” “Are we allowed to use real candles?” Just to give you a few questions to ask.
- Trust Your Instincts: Finally, trust your instincts when making your decision. Choose the venue that feels right for you and your partner, and that you can envision as the backdrop for your special day.
Finding the perfect wedding venue may take time and effort, but with careful planning and consideration, you can discover the ideal setting to celebrate your love and create memories that will last a lifetime. Happy venue hunting!