Finding the perfect venue to host your wedding celebration can be a daunting task. With so many factors to consider – size, cost, amenities, inclusions, etc – venue selection can stress out even the most put together bride. While it’s important to choose a venue first and foremost, make sure you spend enough time doing research to make the right decision. The successful execution of your vision will depend on it! Here are my tips for doing a proper venue search and selection for your big day.
- Gather information from any venue that sparks your interest. Find out availability, pricing, capacity, and all of the options at each location so you can accurately compare your choices. You can never have too much information!
- Use a spreadsheet to itemize the specific variables at each place you are strongly considering – this will allow you to put each venue on even playing field for comparison. Use the spreadsheet to document the costs specific to each place – does one venue include all the tables, chairs, linens and tableware at no additional cost while another has a lower rental charge but requires complete outsourcing of all the reception pieces and a tent rental on top of that? Document all of the fixed and variable costs of each venue to know exactly where your numbers will fall once your headcount is factored in.
- Look beyond the venue website for images and information about the site. With so many wedding blogs online these days, a simple google search will probably turn up several weddings featured online from each venue. This is a great way to really see what other brides did to transform the venue and see an unbiased look at how the location stood up during a real wedding.
- Get recommendations – find out from your friends and family and also from other vendors in the area to see what they have to say about the venues you’re considering. Wedding planners, photographers and florists can offer insightful information since they’ve often worked at many of the local venues in the area you’re considering. These can be great resources!
- Last but not least, look beyond the hotel ballroom – there are so many potential wedding locations that looking beyond the typical hotel venue will open up a world of unique options that will make your wedding really stand out!
Here are some images I’ve taken as a guest at many of my friends weddings who chose unique venues that were personal to them!
An unused putting green on the side of a Maui golf course with views of Molokini and the Pacific Ocean made a stunning ceremony site.
Historic mansions – the former estate of Mark Twain – Tappan Hill Mansion in Tarrytown - made for a lush retreat from New York City with spectacular views of the Hudson River Valley.
A childhood retreat – The club house normally reserved for summer camp in the bride’s Annapolis neighborhood was transformed into a gorgeous ballroom fit for a black tie affair.
A tent – setting up a tent is a great way to maximize the natural beauty of an outdoor setting without worrying about rain and weather ruining your plans. Plus a tent provides a blank canvas to really dress up your event however you see fit!
The classic ballroom – there’s a reason so many weddings take place in a ballroom – they’re setup to accommodate large groups, they typically have a full catering staff, kitchen and bar – and they’re easy to decorate and make your own! An added bonus – no need for a rain plan!
To all the brides out there shopping for the perfect venue – happy hunting!