This week we're talking about all the things to consider when picking a wedding venue.
The first thing is: have a budget. You cannot start looking at venues without one. Do not torture yourself with venues you can't afford - it's not worth it! You will find one that's right for you and your partner, your vision AND your budget
The next step in your venue search is to get organized! I love all of the various venues this area has to offer, but the unfortunate thing is, much like the college application process (!), they all provide different information, in different formats, in different locations. To avoid going crazy, create a venue spreadsheet with all the major details so you can easily see what each venue has to offer. And don't be afraid to reach out to them for more info - many offer limited immediate info on their websites, but have packets of details ready to sent you. You can learn more about what that spreadsheet could look like here.
The third step when beginning your venue search is the venue's availability! Were you dying to get married in the fall so you can have the foliage as your backdrop? Make sure they're free then. Alternatively, maybe you have a venue you want more than anything, but don't mind getting married in the winter if it means you can get wed there. Keep the time of year, which year (!), and your priorities in mind.
Consider your wedding guest list
Does this venue’s capacity fit my estimated guest list? Sometimes venues stretch what’s possible in order to make themselves more attractive to all couples. So you've got to make sure your venue can handle all of your guests. One way to discreetly figure this out is to ask at the site visit: “What number of guests is most successful in this space?” Just because you CAN fit 150 people into a room, doesn’t mean you should.
The final question to ask when looking for a venue, is does this venue’s layout/available space fit my needs? For example, if you’re doing ceremony, cocktails, and reception all in one venue, does it have three separate spaces for all of those events? If not, do they recommend a “flip?” The typical “flip” is changing the ceremony space into the reception space during cocktail hour, when guests are in another area. Flips are a great way to make a venue work for you. However, make sure they are done at the venue often, and ask how they are done: Where are the reception tables and decor stored? Will it require renting pipe and drape (a faux fabric wall to hide these items from guests)? Does it require a space that is weather dependent (such as an outdoor space)? This is where you can recognize potential hidden costs and hidden issues.