Finding the perfect wedding venue isn’t easy. There are so many options to choose from, whether you’re looking for a stunning barn, an elegant ballroom, a cozy restaurant, or a quiet stretch of beach. But you’ve got to have somewhere for your friends and family to gather and celebrate with you, so here are a few tips for finding just the right venue for your special day.
Yes, before you start looking at spaces. Planners are much more familiar with local venues and the capabilities of different spaces. They will have the inside scoop on important factors such as the layout, and the time and items you’ll need to really transform it. If there’s a creative way to make it unique, or a quirk about the space that could make your vision hard to accomplish, your planner will know.
Most people have a vision in mind for how their wedding will look and feel. When searching for venues, you need more than just a spot that accommodates the number of guests you expect. You need to seek out venues that fit the aesthetic you have in mind as well. If you’re planning a modern wedding, look at art galleries, well-designed restaurant spaces, or warehouses. On the flip side, a wedding incorporating more natural elements works well with outdoor or open-air venues such as event barns, beaches, parks, backyards and farms. Choosing a venue that fits with, and even enhances, your theme will enable your wedding to feel more connected to the space.
You really need to know how many guests you’re expecting to invite before you go looking at venues. Your guest list drives your choices for space, and figuring this out ahead of time will help save you from headaches and heartaches down the road. You don’t want to fall in love with a location onl to find it absolutely can’t accommodate your needs. If you choose a venue that is too small for your guest list and then more guests RSVP ‘yes’ than you can fit in the space, you will be in a tough situation. Couples often underestimate how many people they will invite. Remember, your parents (on both sides) will want to add people as well, so have that conversation early to know what numbers you’re really working with.
Having a good handle on the number of guests also really helps you break down your budget, as some costs are very dependent on the number of people you’re inviting.
Your venue goes far beyond simply renting a space will cost. Some venues have in-house catering (like hotels) will charge a price-per-plate. Other event spaces require you to find your own catering services to provide food and drink. Decorations, floral arrangements, and other customizing you want to do with your wedding theme will also drive costs up.
It’s imperative that you figure out your budget before going venue shopping. Knowing how much your total budget is will allow you to break down areas and allocate costs and expenses. Don’t forget that there is a cost to execute your theme or decor. Some venues have a lot of accessories to help you with your decor, while others are bare bones and you will have to provide everything yourself. If adding that on top of the cost of using the space blows your budget out of the water, you’ll either need to scale back your design or look at more affordable spaces.
If you select your venue first, and then realize it’s more than you should have allocated, it’s an uphill battle to stay within your budget when you still have a dozen other people to hire.
If you’re inviting a lot of out-of-town guests or having a destination wedding, look for a venue that also had accommodation options or is near other hotels.
Every venue has maximum capacities, but you don’t want to push those limits. If you have to cram everyone into a room, you sacrifice people’s comfort. Ask each venue you visit how many people they can fit comfortably, as well as what is allowed according to the fire code.
Some venues are full-service, and some you will need to bring in your own vendors and decor. Be sure to price everything out, as renting various components adds up fast. A venue with tables, chairs, and linens included might cost more upfront than a venue where you need to rent your own, but you should get an estimate from a rental company to see how they compare when you’ve added on the price of renting things for yourself. Also keep in mind the convenience factor and how much you want to have to be doing yourself the days surrounding your wedding. Do you have friends and family to help you move chairs around and set tables, or would you prefer to leave that in the hands of the pros while you enjoy getting ready. Always ask for details regarding included rental items. Often they are more basic (white linens, standard flatware, banquet chairs, etc.), so you may still end up paying more to rent items that fit your vision better. If you’re working with a venue that has in-house catering with a food and beverage minimum, be sure to include the tax and gratuity in your budget calculations.
Everyone is on Pinterest searching for everything-wedding. A lot of couples choose venues based off of the style of a wedding they fell in love with online. But it’s important to ask yourselves what feels authentic to you two as a couple, and to choose a space and a design that’s a representation of who you are. Not Pinterest, not your parents, not what your best friends did for their wedding. Your venue is the canvas for your overall event, make sure its the perfect one for yours.
For more about booking River Winds Farm & Estate as your Wedding Venue, click here.