Selecting a venue is one of the most important decisions you will make while wedding planning. There are thousands to choose from! Where do you begin? This post is to highlight tips to follow when you are choosing your venue.
1. Find a venue that fits your vision.
Every wedding has a theme or vision that the couple see's for their day. You really can go any way when choosing a venue. Almost any place can be transformed, a barn, restaurant, hotel, etc. The most important thing is to find a spot where you see yourself getting married in. There is something out there for everyone, don't settle until you find your spot!
2. Can I afford this venue?
Unfortunately, all businesses are there to make money. Wedding costs have skyrocketed over the last few years with the average wedding costing around $20,000. Be sure that you inquire for pricing before going to see the venue. If you know you cannot afford $150 a plate, it is probably best to not get your heart set on it. There is something out there for every budget, so don't get discouraged!
3. Know your stuff!
While you are visiting and meeting with venues, it is important to know what questions to ask. Take some time to make a list of questions to ask when you visit each venue. Some important ones to consider are the following:
How long do they allow for the reception?
Do they charge a rental fee?
Are there any restrictions?
What is included in the price? (tables, chairs, linens, etc.)
Do they have a chef on site or do you have to hire an outside caterer?
What time can you get into the venue the day of the wedding?
What time can your vendors arrive for set-up?
Does the venue allow you to leave items overnight the day of the wedding?
Is the service charge and gratuity calculated into the cost already?
If you are choosing an outdoor venue, it is SO important to discuss the dreaded topic.....rain. Before you sign anything you should ask the venue what the back up plan is in the event of rain on your wedding day. The weather is something none of us can control, so if it's going to rain, it's going to rain. Don't set yourself up for that stress the week and day of your wedding. Have a plan formulated before you even sign a contract.
5. Practicality for your guests
This is sometimes the thing we do not think of right off the bat. It is important to put yourself in the shoes of your wedding guests. When looking at a venue take into account their parking area, is it enough room to fit the cars for all of your guests as well as any from another wedding that may be taking place at the same time? Also, are you in Downtown Chicago? Will your guests need to pay for their own parking for the event? Is there a hotel nearby that you can book a block of rooms with? Do they have a shuttle? There really is no right or wrong answer since it is your day, but these are some things to consider.