It is no surprise that picking your wedding venue can not only be a challenge but it is one of the biggest decisions that you will have to make. Your venue will determine the setting, the style, and even the colors sometimes. Picking the venue is usually one of the first decisions made and rightly so, your wedding venue will also determine the exact date of your wedding and you will need that for all of your other vendors. We have compiled a list of questions to ask yourself when on the hunt for the perfect venue! [Photo by Anna So Photography, Venue: Maitland Art Center]
“What is my ideal setting?” Have you always imagined yourself getting married on the beach? Or how about in a grand, historic building downtown? Maybe your ideal setting would be in a museum amongst beautiful art? Whatever it is, this will be a great way to narrow down the number of venues that you have to choose from and help you with some other big decisions.
“What is my ideal time of year?” Here in Central Florida, this is a very important question if you want to get married outside. If your wedding will be indoors you may want to think about different holidays and avoid holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas when your guests may have prior engagements. Also, getting married in the “off-season” may score you some discounts!
“How many people would I like to invite?” This is such an important question when picking your wedding venue! You may have your heart set on a particular place but due to capacity issues, it may not be practical. Do your research and find out the capacities of your favorites and this can help you narrow it down some more!
“What is my budget?” Maybe more important than how many guests you would like to invite, you need to think about the cost of renting a space. You may also want to research venues that include catering or rental furniture to save costs down the line.
“What are my priorities?” It is important to remember when budgeting and when picking the venue that there may be other things that are more important than having the perfect setting. If it is more important to you to have amazing food or that incredible photographer that you have been dreaming about, then maybe you should consider a wedding venue that was a bit lower on your list to allow more room in your budget for those things that are important to you.
“What is included in the rental price?” Some venues will include chairs and tables in their rental price and even offer upgrades to the nicer chairs or better linens. Remember when picking the wedding venue, if these things aren’t included or provided, you will have to rent them and that will be an additional cost.
“Does setup and cleanup come out of my time?” When you rent a venue, you will be given a time window of when you are allowed to use the space, for example 4pm-12am. But what they don’t always tell you is that sometimes that time window includes the time your vendors are setting up and picking up and sometimes it doesn’t. In other words, instead of your reception going to midnight, it will be cut short to 10:30 or 11pm to accommodate the cleanup.
“Is there a contingency plan in case the wedding can’t happen?” It is so important to have a contingency plan in writing! This is a plan of action in case something out of your control causes the wedding to be cancelled or postponed. Most wedding venues will have this in their contract but it is important to discuss. Here in Florida, we know all too well about a tropical storm or a hurricane popping up!
“Who will I work with at the venue and will they be present at my wedding?” Most venues will have a representative or a “coordinator” that will be your point of contact. But will this person be there to help on the day of the wedding? We have seen it so many times that a bride thinks that they have a wedding coordinator through their venue and find out a few weeks before that their “coordinator” won’t actually be coordinating the wedding or be there on the wedding day at all. We will always recommend you hire a coordinator, not just because it is our job but because we want you to have the wedding day you have always imagined!
We hope that these tips will help you when you set out to find your wedding venue! Remember to ask yourself “what do I want” first, then “what do I need”, and last “what do they have”. Although it is a daunting task, we are sure that you are going to make the right decision for your special day!