March 6, 2023
Hooray – You’re engaged and ready to start the wedding planning process! Now, where to start? Selecting your venue and date, of course! But, gosh, finding the perfect wedding venue can sometimes feel overwhelming. Trust us, you’ve got this and we’re here to help with a few pro tips.
Picture this: you’ve been poring over this particular venue’s Insta and reviews all day. It has the ideal dressing suites for you and your partner, with enough natural light for the getting ready photos that you’re sure to take with your besties. It’s centrally located with easy-access to the airport and hotels for out-of-towners. There’s room for your full guest count plus a huge dancefloor – a total must-have for you. Plus, the ceremony site is so sweet that you tear up just thinking about saying, “I do” to your fiancé there. That’s it, this is the perfect venue for your big day. You settle on the first Saturday in May because springtime is your very favorite, only to find out that your perfect venue is not even available on that date. Womp-womp!
We want to save you some serious venue heartbreak, my friend. Instead of settling on one date, if possible, select a general month or season that piques your interest. Keep in mind that many venues offer lower pricing for off-season months, Fridays, Sundays or weekdays. Having an open mind could not only save you disappointment, but it could also save you money!
If you have your heart set on also hosting a rehearsal dinner, welcome party or morning-after mimosa brunch at the same venue, you’ll want to consider the availability of the surrounding dates as well.
Pricing, Packages and Inclusions:
It can be a bit tricky to decipher between the offerings at the different venues you’re considering. This is why it’s incredibly important that you spend time reviewing their packages for full understanding of what the venue includes (like tables, chairs, linens, etc.). Be sure to look at what their event staff is responsible for and what food and beverage requirements they have, including any required minimums for in-house catering and/or bar. It’s important to work with a venue and venue coordinator who is transparent about their pricing and fees. Ask if the venue coordinator can provide you with a detailed estimate, including the rental fee, food and beverage, bar, staffing and any additional fees.
Take some time to sit down and get on the same page with your fiancé and any major decision-makers about the overall look you’re going for. For example, if you’re an outdoorsy couple who loves hiking together, go ahead and put an X through the industrial venue downtown without outdoor space for photos.
Once you have narrowed it down to a handful of venues, take into consideration the look of both the ceremony and reception spaces, keeping the ceremony weather backup plan in mind. You’ll definitely want to love plan b for the ceremony just as much as plan a! Choosing a venue that not only goes along with, but also enhances your theme will allow the entire event to feel cohesive and will save you the time and effort it would take to make the venue something it simply isn’t.
Food and Beverage:
Choosing a venue that also handles catering and bar services can be a major plus. Just think – you walk into the venue tour without a date, venue, caterer or bartender(s) and you walk out having checked all four items off your wedding planning to do list. Now *that’s* called getting stuff done!
Of course, you’ll want to learn all about the caterer and their customization options before signing on the dotted line. Often, the venue coordinator can help you to customize your menu to fit your style and wedding day vision. We’re talking Nashville hot chicken sliders as a late-night snack for the newlyweds who met while attending college at Vanderbilt University. The same goes for the bar – can the in-house bartenders make that custom signature cocktail named after your dog that you’ve been dreaming of? So cute!
If the catering and bar is offered in-house, chances are there is going to be a food and beverage minimum to be met. Make sure you get full details on what counts towards meeting that minimum. Again, this is where getting that full quote we talked about is key! If your venue does not offer in-house catering, you’ll want to find out if there is a list of approved caterers to choose from or if any caterer is fair-game. Keep in mind that working with vendors and caterers who are familiar with the venue often will make the planning process much easier.
Some venues include event staff who are very hands-on while others simply have a staff member there to unlock the doors, turn on the lights and make sure the place doesn’t burn down. From creating custom room layouts, to handling catering and decor rentals, to setting up tables and chairs, to cleaning up after the event, each venue has a unique way of structuring their venue’s operation.
Be sure to confirm exactly what the venue staff is responsible for leading up to and on the day of the wedding so that you and your vendors know exactly what to expect. On top of understanding their responsibilities, you’ll also want to make sure you genuinely get along with and trust the venue coordinator because you’ll be spending lots of time together!
Is there an elevator for your fiancé’s grandmother? Air-conditioning for your mid-August North Carolina ceremony? More than a one-bathroom stall for your 200 guests? You want to try and see things from your guests’ perspective. Think of all the weddings you’ve attended and what you would have done differently! This is your time to do things your way and finding a venue that can make it happen is what it’s all about!
Be sure your guest list will fit comfortably in the space and that there are nearby hotels and activities for them to enjoy before and after your wedding, especially if a majority of your guests coming from out of town.
So, are you ready to tackle this planning process? Take these tips and find that ideal venue that makes your heart skip a beat when you think about saying “I do,” and dancing the night away. The rest of your planning will become easier and exciting when you can envision all the little details in your perfect venue. Cheers to venue hunting, friends!
Think WinMock at Kinderton may be the venue for you? Email us at email@example.com to learn more!