Nearly two million American couples get married each year, and a lot of them have made the same mistake. Those couples failed to realize that one thing will be in the background of every single wedding photo that they take. Even the best photographers on earth can’t make up for this major event planning mistake!
We’re talking, of course, about choosing a beautiful wedding venue! The festivities have to happen somewhere – why shouldn’t you gather your guests in the best wedding venue that you can find?
Choosing the perfect wedding venue isn’t easy, however. In addition to thinking about the photos, you also need to think about the season, the number of guests, the costs, and transportation logistics. With so much else to plan and design, shouldn’t one aspect of your wedding planning process be simple?
We’ve created this guide to help take some of the pressure out of venue selection! Whether you’re planning a destination wedding or staying put, these tips and suggestions will make your big decision much easier. Keep reading to take the stress out of choosing where to tie the knot!
Start With a Phone Call
We’ve seen it happen time and time again: a couple falls madly in love with a venue, books a tour, falls more in love, then must give up their dream when they take a look at the numbers. Sometimes the price per plate is too high. Other times the space just can’t accommodate the right number of guests.
You can save yourself a lot of heartbreak by starting with a simple phone call or email to your top venues. You’ll want to ask for the person who handles rentals, bookings, or weddings. They’re not always there seven days a week, so you may have to be patient and wait for someone to call you back.
Make sure to keep a “cheat sheet” of your non-negotiables on hand when you reach out. You’ll want to include:
- Several dates and times that work for you
- The approximate number of guests
- A rough cost-per-plate (or per guest)
- Whether you want catering or will bring in vendors
Those details will get you started when it comes to determining the suitability of the location. Don’t try to justify a space just because it looks pretty. If you’d have to cut your guest list in half, or they only book weddings at 8:00 AM, you might try your second choice.
Take the Tour… Two or Three Times!
Once you’ve made contact and confirmed that the venue is viable, you can schedule a tour and walkthrough of the space. It’s okay to attend as a couple during your first visit. You should bring your family for an additional walkthrough once you’ve narrowed the list down to your top choices.
If possible, see if you can visit a third time, during a wedding. This may seem intrusive, but it’s standard practice. You’ll get a realistic view of what the space looks like set up for the big event.
Pay attention to details such as dining areas, indoor vs outdoor space, dance floor setup, and spaces for photo opportunities. Take note of how many guests are in attendance and whether the venue seems too big or too small. Many locations allow you to customize the space with different tables, so try to imagine all of the possibilities.
Look For Success Stories
It can be hard to accept that a wedding is over after the big day has come and gone. You can use this nostalgia to your advantage during the planning process! Many couples use the time in between the wedding and the honeymoon to leave online reviews for their vendors and venue.
If you do nothing else, read online reviews!
You’ll want to remember that weddings are incredibly emotional. They take months or years to plan and involve a lot of investment and expense. When reading reviews, look for trends, not impulsive, emotional responses to what has gone wrong.
Use this time to create a list of pros and cons for your top venues. What do the reviews suggest they consistently do well? What are the downsides that come up again and again that could be dealbreakers?
Here are specific things to look for when reading reviews:
- Clear communication
- Problem-solving during the event
- Event setup relative to expectations
- Satisfaction with specific wedding packages
- Surprises (positive and negative)
Try to find wedding photos taken at your venue to get a feel for how others have utilized the space. A picture isn’t a review, but it’s worth a thousand words, too!
Find Out What’s Included
To avoid last-minute surprises, you’ll want a clear list of what’s included with your venue rental. You don’t want to pay a deposit only to learn that you’ll have to bring in your own tables, chairs, and dancefloor.
Hiring vendors is expensive and comes with risks. Every additional outside company adds another layer of communication and scheduling. If you’re paying a premium, you’ll want to ensure as little stress as possible.
As a rule, designated wedding venues, such as this location, tend to be all-inclusive. All-purpose venue rentals are often less costly upfront, but unlikely to offer extensive packages. You might want to add up any additional vendor costs before you commit to your aesthetic ideal.
Say “I Do” at the Best Wedding Venue
All you really need to get married are two people who love each other – but a beautiful location also helps! Gathering your friends and loved ones at the best wedding venue can transform your event from a forgettable copycat affair into a memorable aesthetic dream. Celebrate your love in a space that you love!
Looking for some ideas for your life beyond “I do?” Check out the rest of the blog for posts about every aspect of married life, from real estate to health and fitness!