Editorial Category: 
Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Perfect Wedding Venue

Welcome to the Bride Link podcast, your home for expert wedding planning advice. Today we're going over our cheat sheet that we created for you to help you find the perfect wedding venue. And to do that, there's some questions that you could really benefit from knowing offhand so that way you can ask them when you're on your venue tour. So we wanted to go over what all of these questions mean. So you feel really, really confident when you're doing your venue tour and making your final choices. So first what you're going to want to do is make sure that you download our cheat sheet Freebie so that you have it to use later and then go over these questions with me so you fully understand what you're asking when you're on your venue tour. So the first question that we have is how many hours does the package contain? 


So there's multiple different venues and everyone's going to be doing their business differently. So some venues will offer to have private use of the wedding venue for the entire day. Others will include some extra decorating time the day before or maybe even allow you to do a rehearsal the day before. But a lot of times a venue will limit, the number of hours that you can actually be onsite. And they may even limit the number of hours that your actual event can take place. Possibly saying that your event can be no longer than four or five hours, especially if you're serving alcohol. So what do you want to make sure of is that there's enough hours in the day provided with the venue package for you to be able to do everything on site that you need to do that day. Otherwise you might have to buy some extra hours to maybe do hair and makeup or maybe do some extra photography at that venue outside of the package. So of course it's going to be an extra expense. A lot of times I see venues offer packages between eight to 10 hours for their larger packages, but sometimes it can be as small as four hours if you're having a really quick wedding.


So the next question is, does it include any rental items? This question is huge because it can have a really big impact on your budget and it can also make one venue look like it's more expensive when actually in the long run it turns out to be cheaper because there's so much included that you don't have to pay for outside of the venue fee. So some specific rental items that you want to look for are tables and chairs because your guests, of course they're going to need somewhere to sit. You can specifically ask about the chairs. Are they going to be provided at the ceremony site as well as the reception site or is there only one set of chairs and you're going to have to move them from one site to the other? Some venues will also provide things like linens, every venue is different. And so if you're looking at the overall cost of different venues, you want to include some pricing for rental items. If the venue does not include tables, chairs, and linens. Because that way you can actually get a better comparison on the price. So you're really comparing apples and oranges. If you have the venue that's really just a blank space compared to a venue that does complete setup of tables, chairs, all the way up to linens. And so what you want to do is get those rental item costs. Also consider who's going to be setting that stuff up and then compare the two venues together with those costs included.


Next, how many people can it hold? This is super important because you want to make sure, of course, that all of your guests can fit into the reception hall, but when you're asking this question, you also want to make sure that they can comfortably fit. So for example, at my own wedding, we were told that the venue, I think it holds 150. Well I had 125, but it was really, really crowded because we had a dance floor and a band and without including that extra space that we were taking up, we weren't really thinking about the fact that it was going to make the room a lot more crowded because we just knew 150 was the max and we had 125, we thought we'd be good. It was a little tough. You want to make sure when you're asking how many people can it hold that that also includes things like a dance floor and room for all of your additional tables that you have in mind. Next is what are the restrictions? Everybody's different. I've got some venues that don't allow alcohol on site. Some that won't allow liquor, but they allow beer, wine and champagne. And we have other venues that just have a lot of different restrictions with the type of vendors that they allow onsite. Or they just might have strict rules in general. Maybe if it's a historic facility, they'll have really strict rules on what you can do on the property and you'd want to definitely ask about what the restrictions are before you book. That way, you know, when you're booking, if you have something particular in mind that it's actually going to happen.


The next question would be do you have a preferred vendor list? That goes in conjunction with the question following, are there any in house or required vendors? So let me tell you what the difference is. If somebody has an in house or required vendor, no matter what, you will be using that vendor because it's part of renting the facility. This may or may not have an impact on your price. Some people tend to think that an in house cater specifically might be more expensive. A lot of times it's about the same and it might even be cheaper because they're not going to have things like travel fees but you want to ask about any in house or required vendors for two reasons. Required vendors are of course going to restrict you in your choices that you're going to be able to make for vendors but in in house vendor that comes along with the facility might be able to save you a little bit of money. So for example, a venue coordinator might be able to save you some money if you decide not to hire a day of coordinator. Let me be clear. I really think you should hire a day of coordinator cause there's a lot of things a venue coordinator will not do for you but it still is an added bonus to have a coordinator present the day of and you still need to consider that when you're comparing venues. A preferred vendor list on the other hand is vendors that they know at that venue do a really good job and they kind of vouch for them and say, Hey, if you hire them, they've worked here several times before and we know that they do a great job but you're in no way required to hire them. So you want to make sure that you get a preferred vendor list just because that's the A team that's the people that do an awesome job at that venue and are really, really familiar with working there and probably familiar with working with each other. Next, the in house or required vendors can save you potentially a little bit of money but it does restrict your choices on who you are allowed to have.


Next question. Is there a rain plan in place? If they say no, do not get married there. I repeat. If there is no rain plan in place, do not choose that venue because there's a good chance it might rain on your wedding day. What you're going to have to do if they don't have a rain plan is price things like an additional rental tent and possibly tables and chairs to be brought into the facility, and you're also going to have to think about when you're going to make that decision on whether or not the tent gets set up. So if you're thinking of an outdoor wedding and a field and that's your vision, you might have to decide 48 hours in advance whether or not you want the tent set up because they can't necessarily do that the day of the wedding. So really having a rain plan already in place at the venue can make an enormous difference on the amount of stress that you're going to have. If the weather turns bad on your wedding day. Sometimes the rain plan is just to potentially go inside or undercover as the ceremony takes place where the reception is. That's okay as long as you like where the rain plan is and as long as one exists. So you definitely want to ask that question cause it's really important.


Next question. Do we have any other responsibilities? I have some venues that require event insurance be purchased from the client. I have other venues that say that you have to pay for offsite security. They make the arrangements but it is still an additional fee. I have some venues that, make you haul the trash at the end of the night because they’re a farm and they can't keep multiple weddings trash on site for multiple days because this will attract rodents. And so what you want to do is see if there's any other responsibilities and think about one the stress and time than it's going to take to fulfill those responsibilities or to the amount of money you're going to have to pay somebody to take care of that for you. And consider that when you're doing your venue options. And make sure that those costs are included. So that way we're comparing apples to apples and not apples to oranges.


Next question, how do day of logistics work? You want to be really clear with this because you want to make sure there's going to be enough things like parking. Is there air conditioning? Is it handicap accessible? What time can you access the facility? What time can vendors access the facility? You want to make sure that it's going to be really easy and stress free for you to be able to get everything done on your wedding day. Also I guarantee you if you have a conversation with your venue beforehand, they will be able to tell you a little bit about what a typical wedding day looks like there, and you can see if that's a good fit for you. 


Next, can I decorate days before or does it all have to be done the day of? Let me be clear. If you are asking to use the venue the day before your wedding without paying for it, you are asking for a Freebie. Some venues give this to you, some do not. If they offer you that Freebie, they are turning another wedding down potentially, so not a lot of venues are going to include decoration days, but it doesn't hurt to ask.


Next question, are we able to hold a rehearsal here the night before and that goes in conjunction with the final question. Are we able to hold a rehearsal dinner here? This is the same thing as decorating beforehand. Not every venue is going to allow you to have a rehearsal the day before because they are blocking off that day from booking another event. Most commonly what I see is the venue says yes, if we do not have an event booked the day before your wedding, you're welcome to come in and do a rehearsal. Some will allow you to have a rehearsal dinner for free. Some will charge to have rehearsal dinners and some just won't let you have a rehearsal dinner at all. Every venue is different, but there's different ways to work out your rehearsal. So even if you can't do it the night before at the actual venue, I promise you as a wedding planner, the most important thing in a rehearsal is more about the order people walk in, how you hold your hands, how you stand in the transitions from giving somebody away and when they kiss and when they walk back down the aisle. Not necessarily anything to do with the actual location you're standing in. So if you can't rehearse the day before, don't give up on that venue, especially if it's the venue that you really want because it's okay to rehearse somewhere else.

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So I hope that this cheat sheet helps you when you're looking at different venues in your area and for more expert wedding planning advice, follow us at The Bride Link!

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