One of the many things that has kept me away from the blogosphere has been wedding planning. I’ve gotten off to a slow start and already have begun experience the “shoulda, woulda, couldas”, but I guess you live and you learn. Now that we’re in 2018 and the wedding is officially next year, I want to get the ball rolling. Per my wedding planner, the very first thing I needed to get done was picking a venue. I’m fairly indecisive so I ended up probably considering researching at least 12 venues and visiting seven..some twice. Now that I’ve picked a venue (eeekkk!!), it seemed time to share my tips on how to pick your venue. Hopefully these tips will my fellow brides from agonizing the way I did.
7 Tips for Picking Your Wedding Venue
An important part of my wedding journey is that The Boy isn’t into wedding planning. He’s taken the stance of “whatever you want dear”…maybe he’s getting a head start on the whole happy wife, happy life thing (jkjk). Due to his limited interest, I’m making majority of the decisions and trying to be sure I pick things he will also like. Once I’d established a (long) list of potential venues, I had to create some criteria to compare them on which ended up being the basis for my decision.
It is very important to verify that the potential venue has the date you and your fiancé have selected available. Before even starting out, I’d recommend you be clear whether or not your date is firm or flexible. Being willing to change your date is helpful when you fall in love with a venue and your original date isn’t available. However, changing the date is a slippery slope that I knew I did not want start sliding down. Once The Boy and I had selected a date, I stuck to it. Anyplace that didn’t have that date available, was automatically out of the running.
When I first started looking at venues, I made the mistake of looking with just a general idea of how many people we’d be inviting. I’d heard that 150 guest was a good number to plan for and had been seeking a space that could accommodate that number. However, when we sat down to write out the first draft of our guest list we were at 250 people! We’ve started cutting down our list, but I’m fairly confident we won’t get it down to 150 and the space needed for 200 people is quite different than that needed for 150. I’d highly recommend making a preliminary guest list to guide your venue search. This is another easy way to cross venues off the list.
For any royal in reality, budget is important, especially when planning a wedding. I’ve been trying really hard to not let the budget be the end-all-be-all deciding factor, but let’s be real, budget is really important. Establishing a maximum dollar amount you all will spend can be a helpful first step. If you know that you all want to spend no more than $5000 on your entire wedding and have 100 guests, it isn’t logical to consider a venue with a rental fee of $3500. Unless you are amazing at DIY and have an inexpensive plan to feed those 100 people.
This may be a no-brainer for some, but I’m going to put it out there for all to know, not all wedding venues are created equal. Some venues will include EVERYTHING in their pricing, others will only include a room rental fee and then you pay for EVERYTHING else (chairs, tables, security, their cleanup crew, etc.). Knowing what’s included in the price is probably one of the more important tips on this list. What’s included may also impact how much work you’ll have to do outside of finding a venue. For instance, if the price includes the room rental fee only (which often includes table and chairs), you will have to find a caterer. That may be preferable, as caterers have a wide range of pricing, so you may be able to get a stellar venue and then opt for a caterer on the more affordable end of the spectrum to stay in your budget. Alternatively, you could opt for a one-stop shop like a hotel. Often times hotels will have a food/beverage room minimum and once you meet that minimum the room fee is waived. I considered both options and can’t definitely say which way is cheaper, but we decided to opt for the one-stop shop to decrease the number of decision I’d have to make.
I know they say most girls dreamed of their weddings since they were five, and if I’m being honest I’m totally in that category. I’ve always had a general vision/aesthetic/vibe that I wanted my wedding to have. I’ve always envisioned a very elegant and classic wedding. While I think a barnyard wedding would be a ton of fun, it doesn’t exactly make me think of elegant and classic. Likewise, if you’ve always envisioned your wedding to be a big party, a museum may not be as relaxed as you’re looking for.
I know that your wedding day is all about you and your partner, especially since you are probably the ones paying for it in some capacity, but I’m a firm believer that getting married doesn’t give anyone the excuse to be a totally selfish a*s. As you are looking for a venue, you should consider your guests experience. For example, I looked at a venue downtown and the self-parking for guests was going to be about two blocks away. While that’s not THAT far, I know that we will have older family members attending and a lot of ladies will be in heels, plus crime is happens and I don’t want any of my guests in harms way as they head back to their cars. It was also important for me to find a venue that would host our ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception as to avoid guests having to commute between places. We’ve been to several weddings where that’s been the case and almost every time we’ve debated if we really wanted to go to the reception and risk subpar wedding food.
Some venues offer extra perks that many wouldn’t be expecting from a venue. The venue we chose ran a promo where if you booked by a certain date they would provide a monogrammed shirt for the bride and mimosas for the bridal party the morning of the wedding. That’s a little less I have to worry about paying for! When trying to pick your wedding venue, you may have to be a little blunt. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have any booking promotions!
With the holidays just behind us, I know there are a ton of new brides-to-be on the internet and Pinterest hectically planning their dream wedding. I’ve almost been engaged a year (man where has the time gone), and I still find all of the information available overwhelming. As crazy as it sounds, I’d say you really have to consider all seven of these things simultaneously. It’s really hard to even pick which one is most important, but I can say a huge weight has been lifted now that we have at least secured a venue. My hope is that these tips, even if just a little, will make the process of picking your wedding venue a little bit easier. Happy wedding planning Royals!
Already married or found your dream venue?
Let me know where you’ll be getting married & how you picked your venue!