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Choosing a Venue {Advice}

Last year, we brought you a series of blog posts on some of our favorite venues and vendors in a series that we were calling "Friendor Friday." This year, we want to to do  a little spin on our "Friendor Friday" posts by bringing you a monthly Wedding Venue to consider. To kick start this series, we want to give you a practical guide to picking the perfect venue.

We are often asked what should be the first thing you decide on after the engagement.  While some people may say it's to decide on a date, we say the number one priority should be the venue. Choosing the right venue will likely determine your overall look and style; down to what type of dress and shoes you may wear. It is much more practical to have a date range and to start your venue hunt with an open mind as to what the venue's calendar looks like.  If it is important to you to have your wedding at a certain venue, then you can be flexible on the date, based on their availability.

Here are some things to consider when venue shopping~

Guest Count

The number of people you will have at your wedding is very important when looking at possible venues. When a property tells you a that they can only accommodate 50 people, they mean it! If you are inviting 100, this is not the place for you, as you will likely have to scramble after you get RSVPs and suddenly EVERYONE wants to attend.  Find a place that can accommodate your total number of invitees, not just the number you hope to have attend.  Again, if the venue is the most important piece of the wedding puzzle, then let it dictate the guest count.

Photo Credit:  MEC Images

Photo Credit: MEC Images

Home or Away

Choosing to have your wedding at a place near home may seem like a practical choice...you don't have to get a hotel, you know the area, you may have connections that could help you with cost cutting, etc. However, when you are close to home you often have a higher guest count, which drives up your overall costs significantly. If you choose to have a destination wedding and take the "show on the road" as they say, you will want to consider the overall cost for each guest, including travel and accommodations, if you are providing this for your guests. This will typically keep your guest count down and can be a big money saver for you in the long run. 

Photo Credit:  MEC Images

Photo Credit: MEC Images

How Much is Included

Venues like hotels and resorts tend to include tons of perks or incentives with their contracts. You will have a minimum spending amount and a site fee, but you will likely not have to subcontract things like tents or tables and chairs. Whereas an estate, beach, or garden will have less of these amenities built in and you will have to piece-meal the entire event together yourself (#WHYyouNEEDaweddingplanner). Be sure to look carefully at your contracts and proposals from the different sites you visit and are interested in, in order to help you know if you are biting off more than you can chew.  Also, be sure to look for any hidden costs that weren't discussed while you were busy falling in love with the view.   

Whatever factors that drive your venue decision, be sure that you are 100% aware of the terms of the contract BEFORE signing anything.  It goes without saying to always insist on everything being in writing so that you don't get trapped in a string of empty promises. Make the best choice that you can while keeping yourself and your vision (and your budget) in mind, as well as your guests and how the venue will accommodate them.

~Kelly & Leslie