I got started in the wedding world by working for a wedding venue for five years. It was an eye-opening experience. Not only with the cost of the weddings at our venue but how absolutely beautiful they could be! We had a such natural beauty in our ceremony locations and property that even if you wanted to have simple décor, the wedding experience would still be fantastic. This week, I want to share what I learned from working as a Catering Manager for a venue and 10 things to consider when selecting your venue
1. Date availability
This one is pretty obvious but is your date available at the venue? Are there other weddings happening on the property at that time, and is there a discount for booking maybe a Friday or Sunday around your chosen date? Some venues are able to host multiple weddings at a time. At the venue I worked for, we could have as many as THREE at a time! That’s a lot of white dresses! Our team did really well at communicating where our couples would be and when, so that we were able to provide a singular experience for our clients but most venues won’t. Also, our packages for a Friday or Sunday Wedding had more value to them due to Saturday’s being the ideal date. At my own wedding, My Husband and I chose to host our wedding on a Friday because the rental was $400 less than a Saturday evening. Those details can make an impact on your overall experience and are important to consider.
2. Venue Style
What is your personal style or the style of the wedding you have always dreamed of? It is important to take that into consideration when choosing your venue. Are you a Barn Bride who loves burlap and mason jars? Or a more Modern Bride who adores visions of industrial chic. Your venue should showcase the personality of you and your fiancé and tell a story. My husband and I chose a small chapel in Dahlonega with Reception space – Juliette Chapel. Modern with Huge Glass Windows and cedar. He wanted a church wedding and I did not so this was the perfect compromise.
I mentioned earlier about cost based on the day chosen. Also consider the cost of what renting the venue may bring. Some inclusive properties have on site catering, bar, tables, standard linens, really everything needed and it started around $120++ per person. You look at that price tag for a 100 person wedding and you are at $12,000++ – WHOA! Wait what? It seems outrageous. But, when you begin to look at what a venue that does not provide those additional items will cost, that inclusive venue may be the better value. When you consider the caterer, staff, alcohol, linens, and possibly table/chair rentals… it adds up! Even though we put down a rental fee of $1,600 for use of the venue – we had to hire out catering, linens, table settings, etc. When considering the venue options, be sure to do the math and weigh the budget for the better value.
How many people can your venue hold comfortably.? Especially with our new Covid-19 regulations in place, it cuts down on the guest list capacity. Very important!
5. Nearby or Onsite Overnight Accommodations and Transportation
Does your chosen venue have available rooms for your overnight guests? Is there a hotel nearby? Do they offer group room rates with your wedding package? What about a room for you and your fiancé on the night of the wedding? Finally, how will guests get to and from then wedding venue? All important logistical questions to consider.
6. Proximity to the Airport
If you have wedding guests who are flying in – what is the travel time from your venue/hotel rooms to the airport? Is it easily accessible? Would they be able to easily get an Uber or Lyft or would other transportation have to be arranged? Often times this is thought about after the contract is signed so ease of accessibility for your guests will enhance their overall experience.
Are many of your guests local? How will they be arriving? Some venues have limited parking so that is huge to consider if you will need many spaces. Also, if there if off-site parking available – how will guests get to the venue? An added expense of hiring transportation can eat into the budget.
8. Local laws and ordinances
What are the alcohol laws in the location of the venue? What type of staff will you need and what is the venue’s policy? Many venues have curfews due to local noise ordinances. If you expect your wedding to keep the party going, this can be a huge factor in consideration. Also, is there an additional fee for going past the allotted time? Definitely do your research on this one before signing the dotted line.
9. Package Inclusions
What does the venue offer? What perks can you receive by contracting with the venue and is there room for negotiation? You want to make sure you get the best bang for your hard earned dollars and some items may be negotiable depending on your venue.
10. Contract Details
READ THE FINE PRINT! Before committing, make sure you read all of the details in the contract before binding. For instance, my venue required a professional wedding planner to even host a wedding on property. Many venues require liability insurance to be had or specific vendors only. Also, the cancellation policy with each contract. Should something happen, how are you protected and what are the terms for something out of your control. This is so important and we live in a culture of signing our names to things without really reading what we are signing to. This is a huge investment and it is important to read and understand your agreement.
I hope this guide will be helpful in selecting the perfect venue for your wedding day! And as always…
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