If I know anything at all, I know weddings and wedding venues. I better know venues, I worked in venues for over 7 years before starting Legacy.
So! As part of our informal, "where do I start" blog series. Let's talk about how to pick your venue. :)
Before you do anything, make sure you discuss the Big Three first. Knowing your estimated budget, guest count, and wedding goals will save you so much time and headache when searching for your venue.
Here We Go!
Narrow It Down
What style do you want? That Barn venue might be really cool, but your December wedding in a ball gown wedding dress probably wouldn't fit this. Narrow the venues down to what truly fits you.
Does the venue have enough space for all of your guests to be seated? Yup, I said it. It seems like a rational question right? Just make sure you ask it please. :)
Do they have your date available? I really recommend picking your venue before your date, but if there is a specific date you have in mind. Check this first before you do anything else!
Ask the Tough Questions
What do they Include? A bare bones venue (one that doesn't include the basics like tables, chairs, etc) may look like a great price at first, but wait! There's rentals, food, beverage, restrooms, and more! These bare bones venues can be a great way to really customize your dream wedding, but the hidden price tag can surprise you. The best value and least amount of headache come from venues that include all the basic needs (catering, tables, chairs, etc.). You don't have to use all of the inclusions, but knowing they have them really helps.
Do they have a Rain Back Up Plan? I love outdoor weddings and receptions like the next girl, but you always, always, always have to have a PLAN B! No one wants to say the "R" word when planning their wedding, I get it. BUT if the venue you are looking at doesn't have a solid plan b (or plan "r" if you prefer), you might need to keep looking or find your own plan b.
Flexibility is KEY. Is the start time flexible? Can you have a custom menu? Do they allow outside cakes and sweets? Will they let your planning and decor team come in multiple times during plan to, well, plan? Flexibility is KEY. There are always going to be some hard stops, like bringing in your own alcohol (not many places are going to do this), but planning your wedding is a fluid process. If there is flexibility, then great! If not, you may have just crossed another off your list.
What's the bottom line? Some venues and catering can be pretty tricky when it comes to the bottom line. Like I said before, the planning process is pretty fluid, so they probably won't be able to predict the exact outcome. Catering prices change with number of people and menu changes, but you should still have a full understanding of all the fees and charges. Look for attendant fees, service charges, taxes, and any other fees when looking at a quote from a venue/ caterer. If you don't see any, ASK WHAT THEY ARE. If you don't see them, it doesn't mean that they don't exist, it just means they probably haven't told you yet. Just to clarify, I'm not saying that these fees shouldn't exist, they should! People have to get paid for their work and the government will get their taxes from someone. I'm tell you to understand your own price tag so you are not sideswiped with an additional 30% in fees that you weren't expecting.
PICK YOUR VENUE!
Once you feel comfortable and well, in love with your venue, book it! It's the domino that sets the rest of your planning off.
Picking your venue is typically the hardest choice you'll make in the process. Having your Wedding Planner with you through the visits and questions and more will definitely help you keep the frustration level down and the excitement up! I mean, YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED! YAY!
Getting Married in Savannah, GA or Hilton Head, SC and need a planner/ consultant/ coordinator/ general wedding helper/ whatever you want to call me? Contact me today to check on date availability!