Choosing a venue-it probably is one of the biggest decisions you will make in the wedding planning process. On average, the wedding venue is where the bride spends twenty to thirty percent of her wedding budget; and, it has the ability to set the tone of the whole wedding.
With so many amazing venues to choose from, how should you go about finding the right one? One that you can afford and actually love? Believe me, with these steps, it is possible.
1) Draft Budget
Before you can actually start looking at the gorgeous venues in your area, you need to make a wedding budget. Take twenty to thirty percent of that budget, and, have it go towards the venue. You do not want to sign a contract with a venue, and, then not have any money to go towards that photographer you have been dreaming about.
2) Venue Spreadsheet
Make a venue research spreadsheet using excel or another computer program. This is the place where you will track all of your research on wedding venues that you are interested in. Make sure all of the venues that you list fit into your budget.
Here are some ideas of what should go in your spreadsheet: name of venue, location, capacity, availability, type, layout, rates, website, restrictions, parking, and facility extras (tables, chairs, catering, etc.).
Remember to think about what is included. A venue that includes tables, chairs, linens, and other extras might be more expensive up front, but, less expensive than buying everything separately. However, included rental items are often basic, so, you still might be paying more to get your vision.
Pick three to five venues off of your spreadsheet, and, set up a tour with the venue owner or wedding director. Come with a list of questions to ask. Some good questions include:
What’s the walking/driving distance from the ceremony location?
Is the venue near guest hotels, and can you recommend any?
How many people does this space accommodate?
What kinds of aesthetic features do you have?
What kinds of services do you offer?
Does your venue have…? (a tent, ceremony space, bridal room, etc.)
How many hours does our rental cover? What times can we/vendors get in and out?
What are the logistics for pros and rentals?
Do you have any restrictions?
What is your deposit/cancellation/refund policy?