The time has finally come for you to marry the love of your life. Congratulations! This is an exciting time in your life, and we hope you enjoy every moment and step of it. As you make your way through the “I do’s,” toasts, dancing, laughing, crying, eating, drinking, and picture taking, you’re going to want to love your surroundings. This is, after all, one of the most exciting and memorable days of one’s life, and the venue for such an occasion should be nothing short of perfect (for you.)
Above all else, you should choose a venue that speaks to your love story, and is a fitting place to begin this next chapter. We’re here to help explain how you can pick the perfect wedding venue, through the following steps.
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Venue
Determine The Budget
This is key to the entire wedding planning process. Without a budget, you can’t know what’s affordable or what isn’t. Without a budget, you’re also at a great risk of booking a venue that’s too expensive, which will affect your choices later – i.e. DJ, photographer, etc.
Make a Spreadsheet
Venue research and shopping will inundate you with numbers, dates, and details. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, create a spreadsheet ahead of time. As you research venues, input the data into the spreadsheet. This will be extra helpful later on when you visit and need to ask questions or make more notes.
Do Not Leave Your House Without a List of Most Important Details
One of the biggest setbacks couples experience while venue shopping is not knowing key details before arriving at the venue tour. Therefore, do not leave your home without knowing the following!
- A vision of your wedding day – Is it in a castle? A mansion? At a resort? Is it a weekend full of activities?
- What is important to the both of you? Food, outdoor ceremony, guest sleeping rooms, music, etc.
- Desired Capacity – Once you know, you can be sure the venue accommodates this many or not, and then put that information on your spreadsheet!
- Desired Wedding Date(s)
- Vendors you will not part with – For example, is your future mother-in-law a wedding cake designer? If so, better be sure you’ll be able to provide your own cake!
- Budget – Reiterating because it’s THAT important
- The type of spaces you’ll need – if you already know you want your ceremony and reception at the venue, then you’ll need to be sure the venue’s your touring can accommodate your needs
- Transportation needs and wants – do you want a venue with free and easy parking? Is it ok if the parking costs? If applicable, will you need a shuttle service?
When It’s Time To Tour You’ll Want to Consider…
Touring time is exciting, and armed with your spreadsheet it won’t be stressful! Yes! To fill out your spreadsheet thoroughly, and to ensure you leave with all the necessary details, consider the following while you tour:
- How does the venue make you feel? If you immediately know you don’t like a venue, don’t waste your time!
- Are your desired dates available? If not, move on.
- How naturally beautiful is the venue? Will it need lots of decor and extra doctoring up to live up to your dreams? If so, keep in mind that will all cost you extra.
- How is the lighting? Lighting really sets the mood, plus you need good lighting for fabulous photos.
- What is the transportation and parking situation?
- Are there timing restraints? Some venues are only available until 10 p.m., for example.
- Not only can the venue fit your capacity, but should it?
- Does the venue layout fit your needs? Remember, you’ve already determined which functions you need the venue to serve, now make sure you find out if the venue can or not.
- What vendor/catering restrictions, if any, does the venue have?
- What are the alternate weather plans, if needed? The last thing you’ll want to deal with on the big day is not having the option to move indoors if the weather turns bad.
- ***Most important – does this venue fit YOU as a couple. Not your guests, not your parents, but the two of you. Because after all, this day is about your love story!
Key Tip – Keep in mind that the venues want your business, so they are going to try to accommodate you as best they can. That being said, you don’t want certain aspects of the wedding to feel rushed, off, or the wrong size just because the venue wants your business. Ask specific questions and request specific answers.
Return Home, Pour a Glass of Wine, and Crunch Numbers + Details
You did it. You researched, visited venues, and filled out your spreadsheet. Now what? Now it’s time to get realistic and crunch the numbers and/or details of each venue (you liked). If some venues are out of your price range, confront this fact and throw the venue off the possible venue list. Just do it. Don’t torture yourself! Same goes for any of the beautiful venues that have any glaring issues – too far away, horrible parking set-up, unable to bring in your future mother-in-law’s wedding cake, etc. etc.
After you’ve cast aside the no-go venues, start adding up the costs of the venues that could work. Keep in mind there’s more to the cost than the price of the venue. If applicable:
- Extra hours
- Any Rentals
- Any Decor
- Extra Lighting (if needed)
- Hardware (if needed)
We know that this process can feel slightly overwhelming, but stick the details and the facts, stick to your budget and wedding dates, and it will all work out perfectly! The more specific and detailed you can get at this stage, the more relaxed and organized you’ll feel later on.
Above all else, never forget that this is a day to celebrate the two of you, to join together two families, and to welcome in a beautiful future together.
For one last piece of guidance, let us recommend a beautiful venue situated in Rye Brook, NY, less than one hour from Manhattan. Set on 114 scenic acres in the Westchester countryside, DA features a variety of indoor and outdoor venues for both receptions and ceremonies and recently won the 2017 Couples’ Choice Award for WEDDINGWIRE. To learn more about the wedding services at Doral Arrowwood, visit here.