There are so many factors that come into play when choosing your venue. Other than your fiance, this is the most important decision when it comes to your wedding day. Your venue dictates so much of what can/can't be done, as well as when/how it can be done. So, we wanted to walk you through a few criteria to consider when choosing if your venue is the perfect fit.
Does it fit your budget?
Seems like a no-brainer, but if you've not talked about your overall wedding budget and you're already looking at venues, STOP. Talk your all-in budget first, then determine what, of that budget, you're willing to spend on venue ONLY. Now, I don't love to put a certain percentage on venue, because each venue offers other additions that may make their value higher and worth the investment. So, consider what comes with the venue: are chairs, tables, linens included or a separate cost/contract? Do they have a dance floor, or do you need to bring that in? Is there a built in weather plan, or does that mean an expense of an event tent large enough to accommodate your guest total? What fees are not quoted? Do they require a security deposit?
Get your REAL, ALL-In cost quote from a venue before falling in love. This is hard, but this decision dictates what you have remaining in your budget for every other thing. So, make sure to make a sound judgement call on this budget line. If food and beverage are NOT included in the venue costs, then we lean toward a 30% starting point for venue only, keeping in mind all they include as well.
Does it fit your guest count?
Again, we're talking about really basic criteria, but sometimes when a venue lists their information, they list it for top capacity, which could be for a cocktail-style (standing room) reception. However, if you plan on a seated dinner, then capacity for your event would be MUCH different. Knowing that information before you move forward it crucial.
Does it fit your design dreams?
In the contract of each venue lies all of the details you need, but may overlook, when combing through the fine print. One of the most important factors you'll need to look for is - when do vendors get access to the space. This will dictate which designs can be implemented and what costs, of labor, your florists needs to charge to ensure the designs can be accomplished. For instance, if you only have a two hour window for set up of decor, you'll likely be limited to drop-in-place centerpieces and a reasonable ceremony arch. However, if you're dreaming of large scale meadows and hanging installations, then a two hour window for decor is not an option, at least not without the price tag of additional design staff to accomplish such a task. So, make sure your design dreams fit within the parameters of access to the venue included in the contract.
Does it fit the amount of support you need?
A hotel, all inclusive venue or country club will have serving staff, catering, bar and support staff built in. However, a private estate, farm or stand-alone venue may not. In those venues you'll need to contract separate vendors for catering, bar, etc. So, you'll need to be clear, in those instances - who sets up the tables, chairs and linens? Who busses the tables? Who's responsible for trash at the end of the night? Who takes care of spills on the dance floor or a broken glass at a table? Are there enough restrooms to accommodate your guest size? Is there a designated kitchen for your caterer or do they need to bring in their own hot boxes? If you wanted to bring in a live band, can they accommodate that power supply? Knowing the answers to those questions, and so many more, is important BEFORE you sign your contract, so that you can ensure to hire the right vendors to fill in the gaps, where needed.
Does it fit your dream team?
You've been eyeing certain vendors since before that rock landed on your finger, and you're anxiously awaiting their reply to the inquiry you submitted. However, some venues have specific vendor lists. These are not recommendations, they are required and exclusively chosen vendors that are your only option when booking at their venue. So, make sure your venue has an open policy for you to choose your own licensed and insured vendors, unless you love the ones listed too.
Once you've decided on a venue, then you can truly start to build your day. So, consider these things before making your decision, and if you still feel like you need some support in finding the right fit - contact us for information on our full planning package. We'll guide you through this decision, providing you options that fit you like a glove.