Some could argue that the wedding venue is the most important aspect of your big day! It sets the mood, theme, tone and experience for both the bride and groom and the guests. Wether you are having a quant backyard wedding (like I am), a wedding on a beautiful beach or you are taking the traditional approach in a church, choosing the place you intend on saying your vows is a really important decision…and one that doesn’t come easily. It takes some work nailing down a venue and it is not a process for the faint of heart.
The first step in choosing a venue is of course, creating a budget! Which we’ve done, right? The budget is important because it lays out exactly what you can afford to spend on a location (tips on creating your wedding budget can be found in a previous post here: Creating a Budget). When the dollar amount for your entire wedding has been agreed upon, its time to do some thinking.
I’ve talked before about the importance of really narrowing in on your vision for you wedding. What is your dream wedding? You need to understand the theme and overall mood you want your wedding day to embody. Find inspiration and really think about what you want your venue to look like. You need to find a place that suits the mood of the event, the size of your guest list, and fits within your budget. Once you envision what you want, let the real work begin!
You need to prepare yourself for the amount of research that must be done to find your perfect venue! It can get really aggravating at times, during the research stage. Often times online, the information provided can be very vague. Some websites may divulge all of the information you need, and others may only provide a way to contact a coordinator. Rest assured, though, the coordinator will have package plans, price layouts and other information readily available once you make that call.
I had a lot of trouble during the research stage. I had to make a lot of calls to get any information at all, and sadly, the information I did receive often times didn’t suit my criteria. I had a spreadsheet I created that really helped me during the research stage. The information included on my spreadsheet, that I was sure to ask coordinators and find online, is as follows:
- Name of Venue
- Capacity limit
- Price rates
- Any restrictions
Once I had called many people, done many hours of research and pulled some hair out, it occurred to me that my options given my budget, vision and plans were very limited. I had to decide what details from the information above could be compromised and which details had to be set in stone. I had to let go of the benefit of the location for me to hold steady on my budget, catering/food/drinks plan, and my vision. The capacity limit was perfect, the price was unbeatable, it was a gorgeous facility and parking was available. Remember that sometimes you will have to compromise, as it is near impossible to find a 100% perfect venue that meets every single detail you desire.
Once you had completed your research you need to create a list of venues that reach your requirements, before going to see these places in person. Some questions to ask yourself when creating this list are:
- Can we afford this venue?
- Is this venue available on our wedding date?
- Is the capacity limit adequate for the number of guests we are inviting?
- Is it a good location?
- Does it suit our style, theme and vision of our wedding?
Once you have compiled your list of possible venues, it is time to visit the locations! I have to send my darling mother out for visits, as I live so painfully far away. Venue visits are your chance to really get a feel for how your wedding will look at that location. You want to be sure you keep in mind the surrounding area of your venue: what can people see beyond the archway, or out the windows? You want to make sure it isn’t overlooking a pile of mud, a junk yard, things of that nature. Really try to take in as much as possible while you are standing there, and imagine yourself on your special day. If it feels right, its right.
Rank your possible venues based on how many requirements they meet and the overall experience when you visited the location, because now it is decision time! Its important to have a short list of venues so you aren’r trying to choose from 10 different places with very different aspects to it. You really should be choosing between two or three different places. Choose the venue that overall just fits you and the groom, and your idea of your perfect day!
As always, thank you for reading. Be sure to like and share this post before you leave, and happy planning!