Choosing a wedding venue can be more challenging than finding the perfect dress. So many factors go into making the big day perfect, and your wedding venue sets the tone. You might wonder if it’s possible to find an event space that has everything that you’re looking for and fits within your budget. It is an achievable feat as long as you look for the right characteristics.
Does It Fit Your Budget?
Before you start looking for a wedding venue, draw up a budget. This doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it will give you an idea of how much you want to spend on the different aspects of your wedding. You don’t want to select the perfect venue only to find that you don’t have much money left for a DJ or gown.
Understand The Deal-Breakers
You’re bound to be more flexible about some of the key aspects of your wedding than others. For example, if you’re inviting 300 guests, the venue has to have the appropriate capacity. If you’ve already set a hard date for the event, you might be limited in your search.
Some of the things to think about when looking for a wedding venue include:
- Location – Is it convenient for you and your guests?
- Capacity – Cocktail parties with standing room only accommodate more people than sit-down receptions.
- Availability – Do the days or dates matter to you?
- Restrictions – Does the venue have any restrictions that would make it off-limits to you or your guests?
Once you know what a venue must offer, you can start doing research and weed out some spaces that aren’t ideal. We suggest keeping a spreadsheet or similar document with key information.
Does The Layout Work For You?
An established venue that has held many wedding ceremonies and receptions will be able to give you suggestions about layout. Considering the flow of the space is especially important if you plan to hold your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception in the same location.
Some questions to ask include:
- Are there three separate spaces for each portion of the event?
- Are the locations appropriate if the weather isn’t ideal?
- If the venue suggests “flipping” a single space, such as transforming the ceremony location into a reception area during cocktail hour, are they experienced with doing this?
Some other factors to consider when planning the layout include:
- Designating a spot for the stage and dance floor – Many venues can give you recommendations.
- Deciding what kind of tables you’ll have – You may choose to have a long banquet table, separate tables or a separate sweetheart table for the bride and groom.
- Choosing an area for the bar – Make sure that there’s enough room around it for mingling or sitting down to eat appetizers.
Is The Venue All-Inclusive?
Some venues offer the bare-bones facility, and you’re responsible for hiring and managing caterers, decorators and musicians. You might even have to rent the tables, chairs, dishes and cutlery. Although this might seem like it saves you money, all of this can add up.
Other event spaces offer their own catering, music and design services. For example, The Reserve Club in Aiken, SC, has an on-site culinary staff that can customize the menu to your wishes and preferred vendors to recommend for photography, DJ, transportation and floral services. If you want something more extravagant, the Australian venue Mural Hall has an in-house styling and catering team that can make your day as extravagant, elegant and delicious as you desire.
It helps when the people who run the facility are on the same page as you. A venue that offers a full wedding package will have an experienced staff to arrange the catering and styling. Choosing an event space like this can lead to less stress for you and a more streamlined experience on the big day.