After getting engaged, one of the first steps in planning a wedding is to select the right venue. Weddings are a big deal, so you’re going to want to spend some time choosing the right location. But apart from picking one that matches your own personal style, what other details would you need to look out for when scouting a venue? Keep the following helpful tips in mind while you’re planning your wedding, and you shouldn’t have any problem selecting the right venue.
Make sure there’s enough room for everyone
This is a consideration you’ll have to make with respect to your guest list. Make sure the venue you select has enough room for everyone, and consider upgrading the venue or downgrading your guest list. Even if a venue looks huge when its empty, keep in mind that furniture like tables, chairs, lights, and equipment from vendors, like your caterer, take up precious space that could be used for other things.
Remember that your guests will need a little “elbow room” to move around in; nobody likes being packed like sardines in a can. The best way to avoid this is to visit venues that already have tables and chairs laid out so that you can get an idea of how much room there really is.
Are there separate areas for eating, drinking, partying, etc?
The ideal venue would have different areas for certain activities, like one for eating, and another for dancing. This is especially important if you’re going to be holding the ceremony in the same location as the reception – make sure they can accommodate everything. Take note of how the venue is laid out, as its shape will affect the flow of your party and dictate any divisions you’ll have to make yourself.
Does the venue offer in-house services you can take advantage of?
You can often save a lot of time and money by choosing a venue that offers its own in-house services. Many dedicated wedding venues are ‘full service’, and offer their own catering, entertainment, even floral services for the benefit of their customers. Some venues outsource these services to local vendors, but offer reduced rates if you go through them. Take advantage of these offers to save on wedding costs while maintaining quality.
Does the venue restrict or limit who you can and can’t work with?
Certain venues, often in the interests of business, will ask that you only work with their “recommended” suppliers, while others won’t place any restrictions on who you work with at all. It’s important to ask this as early as possible as it may impact your budget positively or negatively depending on what kinds of restrictions you face.
What kind of facilities does the venue offer?
In this case, facilities refers to things like running water taps, both hot and cold, bathrooms or portable toilets, electrical outlets, and parking spaces.
This is important especially if you’ve hired outside vendors to provide services for your party. Caterers often need access to a dedicated ‘staging area’ with running water and space to prepare food, while the entertainment crew will need access to outlets, speakers, and a stable power supply. Guests, for obvious reasons of course, need access to restroom facilities and parking for the duration of the ceremony.
If the venue does not provide some or all of these things, you may need to source them from other suppliers, potentially adding to the total cost of your wedding.
Can the venue be personalized?
Even though most wedding planners advise against completely changing a venue to fit your preferred style, it still helps to be able to add a small personal touch to the location. A few choice pictures of the bride and groom, or maybe something that represents your shared interests. Check with the venue owner to see what changes and customization they’ll allow you to make to the site before the day of the party.