For all newly engaged couples, the first question that needs to be answered before all else, is the where and when of your wedding. The location and date of your vows dictate all other decisions including what vendors are available, the style of your wedding, and even the guest count. It may seem like a simple task, but in truth, the process of selecting a venue and date is more complicated than typically expected by new couples. A common misconception is that all venues are the same, when in fact venues vary greatly from one to the next. Today we will walk you through our venue funnel to help narrow down your search. An easy and quick way to work through this process is to take our Wedding Style Quiz today!
Venue Style Funnel:
Destination vs Local: Do you want to get married close to home or do you want to look outside your hometown. Destination doesn’t necessarily mandate that your wedding take place at a tropical resort or a mountain chalet. A destination wedding is, at the root, getting married anywhere other than where you currently live or grew up.
Rural vs. Urban: When narrowing down the setting of your nuptials, weigh the pros and cons of a countryside wedding or one in the heart of the city. Both offer great possibilities and accommodations.
Large vs. Small: The number of guests that you intend to invite plays a direct role in your venue search. The capacity of each venue fluctuates. You do not need an exact count, but an accurate estimate will help narrow your search.
Indoor vs. Outdoor: Determine the importance of having any part of your wedding celebration indoor vs outdoor. Weather is always a concern, so have a backup plan if you are considering anything outdoors.
Ceremony/Reception: Decide if you are having both ceremony and reception AND if you want them to be hosted in the same location.
Style of Venue: There are a variety of venue types for you to choose from. From ballrooms to backyards, your options are abundant. There are warehouses, museums, castles, churches, vineyards. Consider any and all styles that you are drawn to.
After you have worked through those 6 decisions, begin your online search. There are several online platforms that list venues in your market. Base the decisions you have made through the above funnel, so you can narrow your search to a handful of venues. Take the time to read reviews and check out their social media. Once you have a list of viable venue candidates, reach out to schedule a visit.
Other Key Qualifiers:
Date: Don’t eliminate a venue based solely on their availability. We suggest that you remain flexible with your date or even choose three dates that are acceptable to you. When choosing a date, decide what is more important to you – the date or the venue.
Venue Inclusions: No two venues are alike. Each offers different inclusions with their venue rental. When comparing venues, consider all the amenities and services available between your options.
Pricing: Again, we encourage you to remain flexible. Venue inclusions come into play with pricing as well. Do the math to make sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.
If a particular venue has made your cut, but doesn’t list your qualifiers, be sure to get the answers to those questions before you commit to a visit. There is no use in falling in love with a venue that doesn’t align with your needs. We recommend starting with 3-5 venue tours to start. If you don’t find anything that works for you, then attack the next set on your list.
Vendor Policy: Some venues are open vendor, allowing you to bring in all of your own vendors. Some have in-house vendors that you are required to use and some have a preferred list of vendors for you to choose from.
Cleaning Policy: At the end of the evening, who is responsible for what level of cleaning?
Damage Deposit: Does the venue have a damage deposit policy, what is the amount, and how are you reimbursed?
Flipping: If the venue has to be flipped from ceremony to reception, how is that done and who is responsible?
Dressing Areas: Does the venue have dressing rooms onsite?
Restrooms: It may seem strange, but some couples find that it is important to have nice, clean restrooms available.
Cancelation Policy: It is important to understand your options if, on the off chance, your wedding needs to be rescheduled or changed.
Rehearsal: If having a ceremony, ask the venue what their policy is on hosting a rehearsal at the venue.
Once you have found your dream venue, do not hesitate to secure your date. Request a contract and review it carefully. Note the payment schedule and, if need be, ask the venue to accommodate your payment needs. Lastly, we believe that your venue is a great resource for additional vendor recommendations if you are still looking to hire other vendors. Best of luck of your venue search!
Photography Credit: Beatbox Portraits