Every little girl dreams of her wedding day. I was one of those little girls. From as far back as I can remember I dreamt of wedding dress shopping, the cake and the flowers to name a few; but most importantly my Dad walking me down the aisle.
I am now engaged to the most amazing man, a man who I see a lot of my father in. The dream of the most amazing wedding still exists and is slowly but surely coming a reality. In order for the wedding dream to become a reality, a venue first had to be picked. Picking a venue is a huge feat. One which requires patience, tons of research and many walkthroughs.
Your ceremony and reception venues aren’t just another place. They should hold meaning to both you and the groom and really portray your personality as a couple. Start researching venues for both your ceremony and reception early, ask questions when you do the walk throughs and really weigh the pros and cons of each place.
Steps to Picking a Venue:
- Think about what type of venue suits both you and your significant other.
- Research, research, research, and compile a list of venues.
- Contact all vendors on the list via a generic email to grasp as much information as possible.
- Narrow down the list of vendors after you have received all the email responses.
- Book visits to the final list of vendors.
- Ask questions while visiting.
- Make a pros and cons list for each venue to pick OR if one of the venues stuck out like a sore thumb book it!
Deciding What Type of Venue You Want
Think of activities or places both you and your significant other like. Did you both grow up in the country and want a venue away from everything? Do you both love the mountains, beaches, gardens or lakes? Are you big foodies or do you wine fanatics or even brewery lovers? Do you both have a favorite city? The questions are endless. In the end picking the type of venue you want will set the mood and drive the theme of the whole wedding.
The internet and social media house an abundance of recommendations. I highly recommend checking ratings and reviews in multiple places. A few places I recommend doing the research:
- The Knot
- Wedding Wire
- My Wedding
- Here comes the guide
- Instagram: search hashtags such as #(city)wedding, #(state)venue, #(city)venue #(state)venue; if you are looking for a certain type of venue such as a barn or a brewery you could search the hashtag #breweryvenue or #farmvenue. As you start searching hashtags you may run across others in photos you see to search.
Contacting venues may seem overwhelming, but usually it’s the only way you find out the quick and dirty about them. Some questions to ask:
- Do you have availability on XXX of a date?
- Can you provide specifics on pricing?
- What are the steps to book a tour?
- How quickly do you book up?
The venue should be trying to “woo” you when you visit them. Take everything in and make note of everything you see. Some questions to ask while touring:
- Does your venue have insurance?
- Do you require us to purchase a wedding insurance policy?
- Do you require us to use your preferred list of vendors or can we use outside vendors? If we can use outside vendors are there any additional fees?
- What type of alcohol can we have served on the premise? Are there any fees associated with this?
- Are set up and take down included in the venue price or do we have to pay for additional hours for this?
- What is the earliest someone can come in and set up?
- Do you require us to pay for a cleaning crew post wedding or is this included in the venue price?
- Do you have any age restrictions? Can kids and minors attend the wedding? (if you are looking at a vineyard or brewery)
- Is there a person onsite that will help coordinate all the vendors and help with set up and take down or do we need to hire someone? If the venue has someone is there an additional cost associated with them? Do you require us to have a day of wedding planner?
- Do you provide tables and chairs or does this need to be rented from an outside vendor?
- What is the latest the wedding reception can go until?
- Are we able to drop wedding decor off prior to the day of the wedding/reception?
- Is there a cost for parking?
Sit down with your significant other and review your venue options and the notes taken at them. Discuss if either of you had a favorite above all. Once you have decided on a venue, contact them and ask what information they need to get a contract drawn up. Post receiving contract, review and ensure it doesn’t have to go back for revisions. Sign and pay the deposit.
Congratulations you have accomplished the first of many big decisions in the wedding process. You now have a ceremony/reception venue(s) and a date.