When it comes to finding the perfect wedding venue, there are so many options from a rustic barn, to ballrooms, restaurants, and outdoor & indoor options…it’s almost limitless! While you’re looking for your dream venue, there are some things to keep in mind such as how many guests you’re inviting, your wedding colors & style you’re going for, and the timing and flow of your reception.
Here are a few things to take into consideration as you begin to tour potential wedding and reception venues!
1. Make sure there’s plenty of space.
Before touring venues, you should have a good idea of how many people you would like to invite. Couples often underestimate the number of guests initially and parents will often want to include additional guests as well, so have that conversation early on so you know what you’re working with. This will also help you determine your budget on so many other elements.
You’ll want to make sure that the venue you choose has enough space to comfortably accommodate your guests. After all, you if you want a dance floor where people can move, make sure you plan for it!
The best way to determine if a venue is large enough for your needs is to visit it when another wedding is set up. That way you can see how tables, chairs, the band or DJ’s equipment, and other pieces all fit. An empty ballroom can look huge, but once you start bringing in everything you will need for your reception it can fill up quickly.
2. Remember your budget
While venues often have their price for renting the space, you will want to think about what is included, or what other items may have additional fees such as catering (if it’s an in-house caterer), tables & chairs, linens, place settings, decor, additional gratuity, etc. Your venue is often the very first thing you will choose and reserve for your wedding day, so if you stay within budget, the rest of your items & vendors for your wedding day will be so much easier to manage. Otherwise if you blow your budget on the venue, you may have to adjust elsewhere down the road.
3. Understand the flow and organization of the space.
Think about the overall layout and consider how you would set up the venue to create designated areas for eating, dancing, and other events like cutting the cake. As you explore the space, try to imagine where each part of the reception would take place. Take things into consideration especially if you’re planning on having your ceremony in the same venue as your reception; how will the space be transformed from ceremony to reception and where will guests flow to Cocktail hour while that takes place.
4. Pay attention to the décor.
If you have a specific color palette or theme in mind for your wedding, make sure the existing décor of your venue compliments it whether you’re going for rustic, chic, modern, vintage, etc. . Ideally, it would be best if the walls, floors, chairs, and other items already in the space could be neutral to go with the colors you choose. If you can, bring along some samples of your wedding colors to see how they would look in the space or take some photos of the space so you can compare to your swatch of colors at home.
5. Take note of the details.
Sometimes it’s the littlest things that are the most important! Take note of how much parking is available near or at the venue. If you love the space, but parking will be an issue, look into alternative modes of transportation for guests, like a shuttle bus or even a trolley. Keep in mind that, while parking issues isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, it may mean additional planning & costs. Ask about facilities & accommodations for guests including restrooms, lounge areas, additional seating such as benches or sofas & chairs throughout the space in addition to table seating. Also keep in mind how close hotels are to your venue for out-of-town guests. If you have elderly guests or guests with needs, check for handicap access.
You’ll also want to check out the acoustics in the venue and make sure it will produce good sound quality for your musicians.
6. Decide on the level of privacy you want.
Some venues hold multiple events at the same time. Some couples don’t mind, especially if it means they get to have their dream venue. But others would prefer a little more privacy to share with their close friends and families. Pay attention to how how the space is laid out and how much distance there is in between event spaces for multiple event locations.
Talk to your fiancé about how much privacy you want at your wedding and how important that factor is to you. If you choose to have your wedding in a public area, like at a park or local garden, just know that passer-by’s may wander past and want to take a moment to watch. If that’s something you’re comfortable with, then by all means go for it.
Staying true to yourselves and finding a venue that is authentic to the vision for your day is just as important as the right decor. If you take the time to take note of the details in a potential venue and see how the space will really work for your big day, you will find the perfect venue for your wedding!