Wedding venue shopping tips! Congratulations! You’re engaged. Your first step was finding the perfect partner, and your next step is deciding on where to make it official. To help you on your venue search, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten important things to consider when shopping for a venue. Whether you’re planning a rustic barn wedding or a sophisticated affair – you’ll feel prepared and excited to move ahead with planning your dream wedding.
top 10 things to consider when shopping for a wedding venue
1) Get married, just not to a date. Are you feeling autumn vibes for your wedding day? A spring color palette? Thinking of getting married in the summer when your friends and family are more likely to travel? When you schedule a tour of the venue, be open-minded about the date. You might be considering an October wedding, until you realize how beautiful the venue looks in full bloom mid-summer. Other advantages to seasons include different availability and pricing, too!
2) The search is on! Your perfect venue could be hiding in plain sight! Know the general area where you want to host your wedding? Start with a Google search of wedding venues in that area. You’ll be able to see photos and reviews, as well as the venue website where you can find the most updated information. Websites like WeddingWire charge venues upwards of $15,000 to list, which means that smaller venues might not advertise there.
3) More than a venue – The right venue can also mean big savings down the road. Does the venue include tables and chairs with your rental? What about wedding day support staff? Do they have decorations to borrow, arbors to decorate, a built-in restroom for the comfort of guests, a dance floor already in place? Separately, these can add up to thousands of dollars between rental prices, delivery fees and set up. Ask each venue for a list of what’s included, and highlight the items you care about. Then, see how other venues measure up!
4) Wedding day, rain or shine. Unfortunately, thinking positive thoughts about the weather on your wedding day will only get you so far. As much as the idea of inclement weather doesn’t spark joy, consider your rain plan when shopping for the venue. If an alternate structure doesn’t exist, seek to understand the added costs of renting a tent. Rental fees, delivery and set up charges, as well as tent permits can add up to several thousands of unexpected dollars. Try to find a venue that will give you peace of mind no matter the weather.
5) A space for everyone. Guest count unknown? Between differing views on who should be invited, to guessing the number that will RSVP, it’s hard to know who to plan for. Find a venue that can comfortably accommodate your range from the beginning, instead of worrying about space later on. Ask to see photos of events with a similar guest count for an idea of how the space will look on your wedding day.
6) Catering, alcohol, budget…oh my! Next to your venue, the right caterer makes all the difference. Be sure to ask your venue about their preferred caterers. Are you required to choose their in-house caterer? If so, how does the pricing compare to others in the area? You may save money on the venue, only to realize your catering bill will eat up all of that savings! A preferred list usually includes vendors with a great track record, meaning you can feel more confident with an experienced caterer taking on your event! Similarly, confirm with both the venue and caterer that you’d be able to provide your own alcohol – another budget-friendly move.
7) Creating an experience – Your friends and family have traveled from far and wide to witness you tie the knot. Why not give them an experience to remember? A unique location, beautiful scenery or interesting architecture will give your guests something to talk about for years to come! Let your venue do the work of entertaining and surprising your guests. You’ll be free to get in those pictures and enjoy every minute of your wedding, knowing your guests are doing the same.
8) A picture is worth a thousand words. Speaking of pictures, you won’t want to forget this detail when venue shopping. Your photos will last after your wedding day, so you’ll want plenty of unique and beautiful spaces where you’ll really stand out.
9) Consider your timeline – While the exact time period of your venue rental might seem like a boring detail, it can mean the difference between a relaxed and stressful day. If your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception span six hours, but only eight hours is included in your rental, that means you only have one hour for set up and one hour for clean up. Talk about a circus! Look for a venue that allows 10-12 hours of total time, or even the ability to leave belongings overnight.
10) It’s about the people. Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and you don’t want to feel like “just another number” to someone else. When you book a boutique or family-owned venue, you’ll build a relationship with the owners throughout the coming months or years until your wedding. There’s nothing better than vendors that genuinely care about your day! The more people you have to support you during your wedding planning, the more you can concentrate on what matters – each other.
With the right information, you can conquer your own venue search with confidence. At Sylvanside Farm, we’ve created a comparison matrix that we make available to all prospective couples for use in comparing venues. Take a look and download your own copy here.
Interested in taking a tour of the farm? Contact us today!