Choosing a venue is one of the most important wedding planning decisions you’ll make as a couple. But, too often a bride will fall in love with the beauty of a place, sign the contract and forget that it should be custom-suited just like her dress. Regardless of your guest list and budget, answering these questions before you book is a great place to start your search. Although it may be hard to find the perfect place that fits all your needs, you should look for a venue that suits your style from the beginning and not a venue that will cost thousands of dollars to make it what you want.
Everyone’s style is different, but we want to know what your venue’s style is. Which type of venue did you choose? Let us know in the poll below.
Looking for a wedding venue that fits your needs can be one of the trickiest (and unfortunately, stressful) parts of wedding planning. Happily, once you’ve booked your venue, the rest of the planning process will fall into place easily (we promise!). But how do you even start searching for a wedding site? First, you’ll need to pick what venue “style” most suits your personality. Here’s a mini-glossary of wedding venue types to help you get started. And don’t forget to check out our Vendor Reviews to find the perfect wedding locale near you.
Ballroom: Want a wedding that’s grand, elegant, and formal? There’s nothing like a richly appointed ballroom. Ideal for black-tie weddings with a big guest list, ballrooms (either in hotels or other historic sites), often have in-house catering and rentals to make the planning process a snap. But it’s important to note: When choosing a color scheme for a ballroom wedding, you’ll have to take the room’s permanent fixtures into account – from the carpeting to the chandeliers to the wall color. You wouldn’t want your flowers and other decor to clash with what’s already there.
One of the first things you need to do after you get engaged is book your venue. This week on the blog, we’ll be discussing all things venues to help you find a wedding locale that’s just right for your style and budget. You should start by researching wedding venues in your area and visiting a few. While you’re touring venues, be sure to think about the following questions, and be sure you know the answers before booking.
Ceremony: If you were hoping to host your ceremony and reception in the same place, be sure to find out if that’s a possibility (some venues do not allow ceremonies on premises). If it’s not, are there sites nearby where hosting a ceremony would be possible?
Payment: You’ll want to be well-versed in the venue’s payment policies – obviously what their package includes, but also when payment is due, as well as any taxes or hidden fees (ask about corkage or cake-cutting fees as well). It’s also important to find out the venue’s cancellation policy.
Guests’ Comfort: Your guests’ comfort should be your primary concern. What is the venue’s capacity and will all of your guests be able to fit comfortably? The site should neither be too small nor too big for your guest count. Also, consider your elderly or disabled guests – are all parts of the venue accessible to those who are unable to climb stairs? Make sure that bathrooms are large enough and comfortable (the last thing your guests want is to spend the evening waiting in line for the restroom!), and that the venue has some form of climate control.
Decor: If you’re getting married in a space that’s already furnished, make sure you are comfortable with all of the venue’s permanent fixtures (lighting, carpeting, etc.). You’ll have to make sure that your color scheme and flowers mesh well with what’s already included with the venue. If the venue is more of a “blank slate,” find out exactly what rentals you’ll need to bring in on your wedding day – tables, chairs, dishes and flatware, lighting, etc.
Timing: Is there flexibility as to when your wedding could begin or end or are there set times? When would your vendors be able to enter the space to start setting up and how long will they have after the event for break down?
Vendors: Can you hire any vendors you want or must they be from an approved list? Be sure you’re comfortable with the answer before moving forward.
What questions did you ask your venue before booking? Let us know in the comments!
A detail that can often be overlooked is lighting. While it may not seem like the most important element of your decor, it sets the mood for your reception. It goes without saying that you should avoid any overhead florescent lighting. If that’s all your venue has, ask them if you can bring in candles, string lights, or chandeliers. The lighting at your venue may already be exactly what you want, but if not, there are some ways you can improve the ambiance.
1. Hang a sheer backdrop against a plain wall with twinkle lights.
2. Rent or purchase chandeliers.
3. Drape white lights in a crisscross pattern with a simple chandelier in the middle.
4. Hire a professional light technician to create a spectacular design that fits with your theme/style.
5. Hang string lights from four posts to create a tented feel.
One of the first wedding-planning questions you’ll have to answer is: Should we hold our ceremony outdoors or indoors? There are several pros and cons to holding your ceremony in an outdoor space vs. indoors, so it’s important to weigh your options before making a decision.
Pros: Whether it’s a beach, a garden, a vineyard, or a farm, an outdoor ceremony space is all about natural beauty. Usually there’s no need to add much decoration to an outdoor space, which can help bring costs down.
Cons: You’re at the mercy of the elements and will need to have an indoor space or tent at the ready in case of inclement weather. You’ll need to do your part to make sure your guests are comfortable (check out this post about helping your loved ones beat the heat). And you’ll have to consider your own wedding-day look as well – a long veil and and down hairstyle can get easily mussed on a windy day.
Pros: No backup plan necessary! Your guests will be shielded from inclement weather; plus, no worries about the ladies’ heels sinking into the grass or the hem of your dress getting covered with sand.
Cons: You’ll need to work with the decor of your chosen space. A beautiful house of worship requires minimal additional decoration, but a blank slate-style venue, like a loft space, may require lots of brought-in furniture, flowers, and lighting.