Finding a venue that suites your style and budget can be tricky. The abundance of options out there are overwhelming. But choosing the right venue will set the tone of the day. Below I have put together a list of questions to ask yourself which ought to give you a head start on finding the right location for your wedding.
If you are in need of some help drawing up a checklist for each venue make sure that you incorperate these points below.
- Name of Venue
Capacity: Make sure the capacity fits your event. If you are doing a cocktail party rather than a sit-down meal, the space can likely fit more people.
Availability: If it matters to you.
Type: Such as hotel, barn, restaurant.
Layout: Note if it has space for all aspects of your wedding (ceremony, cocktails, reception). Sometimes this isn’t clear till a site visit.
Rates: Enter the rough info available online. In a later column as you narrow things down, I recommend you create a “My Cost” line (see below).
Website: You can easily go back and remind yourself with photos on the venue’s site.
Restrictions: Does the website list any major restrictions, such as a definite end time, that would affect your decision?
Parking/Transportation: Make any notes regarding free parking, public transit access, or other transportation considerations.
Facility Extras: List here any items included with the venue: A/V equipment, chairs, tables, linens, etc.
Caterer: See if they have restrictions on catering, such as an in-house caterer or a preferred list of caterers you are required to work with.
A word of warning: The most frustrating thing about finding the venue is the initial search. It will take some time before you have a list of venues that tick all the boxes. But with careful planning and understanding your budget and must haves for your reception this process will go much smoother.
Before the task of finding the right venue begins have a look through the pointers below to help eliminate those which won’t work for your big day.
If we remortgage our house we might be able to afford this venue! Make sure that know how much you are willing to spend on the venue. Yes you are probably going to fall in love with that £9000 venue, don’t torture yourself. Stick to a budget otherwise you will end up sacrificing other parts of the day to pay for the venue.
Will this venue be able to contain all my friends and family? Don’t forget to check how many guests each venue can accommodate, whilst this may be obvious it is also a good idea to look at this if you plan on a smaller wedding for example if you have only 50 or so guests and the venue can accommodate 200 the rooms may be a little to big for an intimate wedding. Also just because a venue has a capacity of 150 doesn’t necessarily mean that you would want to try to squeeze 150 people in that room.
Check availably! This may seem super obvious if you have a very specific date in mind. But even if not it’s wise to see if you can secure the venue for any Saturday or Sunday in summer before you fall in love with it.
Location Location Location. It is also wise to keep in mind how far from the ceremony, your reception will be (assuming that they won’t be in the same place), putting your guests on a bus for half an hour can loose you a lot of your cocktail hour and can eat into your time for group shots. Also if the venue is far from any accommodation consider parking for the designated drivers.
But I don’t want sausages and mash on my wedding day! Many venues have a designated catering team who may not offer the style of food or wine that you desire for such a momentous occasion. Because they hold the monopoly for that venue it may mean that their catering prices are quite high compared with a freelance team of cooks.
Will the venue flip the ceremony room for the reception? Something that you may not have considered is how the venue use their space. Is there a dedicated room for the ceremony, reception and dancing/cocktail hour? Or perhaps if there is one room which will need to be flipped all guests will be required to leave the building whilst doing so whether rain or shine.
Time is of the essence… If you and your family plan on dancing through the night make sure that the venue will allow you to do so. Many venues will require music to be off and all guests to depart around midnight. Something to be aware of for those party animal brides out there.
Following both a budget and these points will hopefully make the whole process of finding a wedding venue a breeze.