Choosing Your Wedding Venue: Tips For Making This Uber-Important Decision

Planning a wedding involves lots and lots of decisions, and where you will have your affair ranks right up there at the top of the list. With so many different types of places to choose from, this task can seem quite daunting. And it is kind of—but there are steps you can take to make it easier on yourself. Here are just a few helpful hints for narrowing down the candidates. Just take a deep breath and know you may have a few jam-packed weekends ahead, touring the possibilities!

What Type of Venue Do You Have in Mind?

Before you default to the traditional hotel or banquet hall, think carefully about what type of wedding you want and what kind of vibe you are after. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having your wedding somewhere like here—they do weddings all the time, and setting yours up is easy.  There are many companies, for example, that oversee a variety of locations. In California, for example, LA Banquets offers premier banquet halls and wedding venues in seven different locations in Southern California.

But, know there are also many ‘non-traditional’ venues that host weddings, and one of these types of spots may be perfect for the type of event you are hoping to put together, such as an art gallery or museum.

How ‘customized’ do you want the experience to be? Some places will offer more flexibility in styling the room to your tastes.

Put Together a List of Priorities

The more clear you are in what you want out of a venue, the easier it will be to zero in your focus on appropriate ones. Make a nice spreadsheet outlining requirements and a list of potential venues to give you a nice representation of feasible options. Once you have found a group of solid candidates, you want to consider the following:

  • Number of guests it can accommodate
  • Whether different rooms have different capacities
  • Whether you can have the ceremony there as well
  • Guest accommodations
  • Pricing structure
  • Is cost based on renting out the room, per person, is there a minimum amount you must spend, are there set packages?
  • What exactly is included in the price quoted?
  • Do you have to use an in-house caterer, pre-approved caterers or can you choose your own?
  • How are menu tastings handled?
  • Will you require any extra lighting to ensure pictures come out good?
  • Is there sufficient parking?
  • Do you have the option of using your own tables and chairs if you don’t like what is offered?
  • Are there any restrictions on what items you can use in the space, like candles?
  • How are beverages handled, and what are the associated costs?

Don’t Rush into Signing On with a Venue

So, you have been relentlessly searching, and you have finally come upon the perfect venue. You can totally see yourself celebrating here. Relief washes over you that you have come to a decision about one of the most important aspects of your wedding. But, step back a moment, and take a breather. Don’t rush into signing any contracts until you have all the facts regarding costs and other important matters. Not having a full understanding of what is included in the fee, and what isn’t, can leave you with some nasty financial surprises later. Make sure you are aware of any restrictions. What happens to your money if the event is cancelled for any reason, whether due to you or the venue?

What about suppliers? Can you use your own, or are you limited to a list of pre-approved ones? Do suppliers make their way onto such a list because they do a good job, or because they are paying for the privilege? Will you have a main point of contact or will you have to separately communicate with different people on the various ‘teams’ handling your event?

This is a big decision, and it is okay to feel a bit stressed about it—but, with a bit of preparation and forethought, you can get a better idea of appropriate venues, and make your final decision with greater confidence.