Picking the perfect wedding venue is one of the hardest parts of planning your wedding. There are so many options for wedding venues in Hilton Head, Savannah, & Charleston that it can be truly overwhelming. The good news is, once selected, it’s the first domino in the wedding planning chain reaction. As you start to look around, here are 5 things to consider when narrowing down your venue options.
1. LOCATION & NUMBER OF VENUES
Whether your wedding is local or a destination wedding, make sure you consider the physical location of the venue as well as the number of event spaces that venue has for each portion of your event. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Is it easy for your guests to get to the venue, or will it require added transportation? If you do need added transportation, are you good with that?
Are their hotels nearby? Most of these questions aren't relevant for destination weddings in Hilton Head Island, SC area or Savannah, Ga. There are plenty of hotels, but are they close enough to the venue as to not to cause travel woes?
Will you need separate locations for the ceremony & reception? If so, will the directions to and from each venue be easy to navigate for your guests?
Will you need a separate Rain Plan for an outdoor venue? If so, is it at the venue, or will you have to come up with a separate location
These seem like simple enough questions, but if left unasked and unanswered, these things can end up increasing your budget later to make the necessary adjustments for your guests' experience.
Many people start with the venue before really choosing a style, but the look of the venue should align with what you have envisioned for your wedding day. It seems obvious, but it’s harder than you think. If you are looking for a clean white modern wedding, look for venues that match that vibe and just avoid that rustic barn. The two styles won't mesh, and will have you spinning in wedding design woes later. Choosing a venue that fits your style will help make your decisions later a lot easier.
3. CAPACITY & FLOW
Before you start touring venues, it’s ALWAYS a good idea to start your Guest List first. Know how many guests you are inviting before you go touring wedding venues. If a venue can only accommodate 80 guests and you end up inviting 160, the math just won’t work, and you’ll be in for quite a pickle. On the other hand, if the venue can seat 300 and you only have 60 guests, the room will overwhelm your party. This is where you have to channel Goldilocks and find the venue that is “just right” for your wedding.
In addition to capacity, also consider the Flow of the venue. Is there a progression to the event from Ceremony to Cocktail Hour to Reception? Will it be easy to move your guests from one location to another? The flow of the event is almost as important as capacity. Avoiding awkward transitions for your guests is a great way to keep spirits high and frustrations low.
4. WHAT’S INCLUDED?
Consider what you are getting and be sure to price everything out. Full-Service venues usually include the basics for you (i.e. tables, chairs, linen, china, glass, silver, etc), whereas other venues may be just the rental for the facility leaving you to rent all of those things and more. Be sure to price out both options so you know what you are getting into.
There is a huge misconception that avoiding Full Service Venues and building your wedding from scratch with rentals and vendors is a budget friendly way to go. Think Resort versus Backyard Wedding. In reality, it truly just depends on your selections. With a full-service venue, you may never think about what the plates they include look like, but when you rent everything yourself, you have to select the style of each item which may or may not include that gorgeous designer plate you just can't resist (at a premium cost of course). Building your own wedding from scratch without the inclusions of a full-service venue has the potential to end up being pretty close in price or even more. Just be sure to run the numbers for both options, and like number 5, stick to your budget.
5. KEEP YOUR BUDGET IN MIND
When you are in that whimsical bliss of your engagement, it’s easy to forget your budget. Falling in love with a venue that will take over 60% of your budget will definitely ensure that you spend more than you intended. Remember that Venue, Food & Beverage should account for no more than 40-60% of your entire budget. Any more than that, and you are sure to go over.