The excitement of planning a happiest day may easily turn into weeks full of stress – wedding planning requires lots of patience and creativity. You may find this venture extremely difficult but the key is to be persistent and organized.
Choosing a dress and makeup style may sound like the most important task of every bride, but this is far from the truth. Choosing a wedding venue is what I found the most challenging. If you pick a small, crowded venue, without enough parking space, poor catering and music, don’t be surprised if your day turns out to be not that perfect as you imagined it to be.
If you want to keep things under control, here are some guidelines that can be helpful:
- Name of Venue
- Capacity: Make sure the capacity fits your event. If you are doing a cocktail party rather than a sit-down meal, the space can likely fit more people.
- Availability: If it matters to you.
- Type: Such as hotel, outdoor, historical, restaurant.
- Layout: Note if it has space for all aspects of your wedding (ceremony, cocktails, reception). Sometimes this isn’t clear till a site visit.
- Rates: Enter the rough info available online. In a later column as you narrow things down, I recommend you create a “My Cost” line (see below).
- Website: You can easily go back and remind yourself with photos on the venue’s site.
- Restrictions: Does the website list any major restrictions, such as a definite end time, that would affect your decision?
- Parking/Transportation: Make any notes regarding free parking, public transit access, or other transportation considerations.
- Facility Extras: List here any items included with the venue: A/V equipment, chairs, tables, linens, etc.
- Caterer: See if they have restrictions on catering, such as an in-house caterer or a preferred list of caterers you are required to work with.
It would be good to have at least an approximate idea of the venue style that you desire. Will it be bohemian, old-fashioned, romantic, classic, contemporary or extremely luxurious wedding? Many couples think that they don’t need to decide on a wedding style early on, but it is one of the most important decisions because you might be able to save on decorations and decor if you select a venue that suits your wedding day style.
It is also important to take into consideration the services and amenities that the venue offers.
Consider the following:
Does the venue have a kitchen and can it provide catering to your event? If so, often a venue will waive the facility fee and only charge a down payment along with the cost of food for each attendee. Other venues may not have kitchens. Those venues without kitchen facilities may have a partnership with a food provider that you’re required to use, or you may be free to bring in your own vendors. Many venues have an exclusive relationship with certain vendors, typically food vendors. This can be great if the venue has partnered with a fantastic vendor. If not, it can create a huge headache, and negatively impact the experience of your attendees. If you can’t book a venue that serves food your attendees will enjoy, it would be better to select a venue that allows you to bring in outside food vendors.
Does it have tables, chairs and linens you can use? If a venue has these items, you can save a great deal of money and effort by using what they have, assuming it matches your theme and ambiance.
Does it have a setup/clean up crew? If you’ve found a venue which provides a setup and clean up crew, rejoice! This isn’t always the case. If these services aren’t available you’ll need to build your event team.
Does it have AV capabilities? Some venues have a built in audio-visual equipment for you to use, and others will require you to bring that in yourself.
One crucial phase of wedding planning is not visible to others – deciding on your budget and making financial decisions. Focus on what really matters – your guests’ comfort and your own satisfaction, and hire professional help if you want everything to go smoothly. Not every single detail will go as you planned – but that’s perfectly fine. Don’t let small things ruin this romantic day and always remind yourself that this is the most beautiful day of your life.