It’s one of the main statement pieces and probably where most of, if not all of your budget is allocated to, the venue!! Yes bride-to-be’s, you’ve probably dreamt of where you would be saying “I Do” a million times, but for some, that thought hasn’t even crossed their minds. Do you want a quiet ceremony at home? A rustic wedding outdoors? Or would you rather the grand and luxurious, or how about by the beach on an exotic island? The options are honestly endless, but for the bride who is starting from scratch here are my 10 deal breakers for booking a venue:
1. A Venue that doesn’t fit the budget
This one is a bit obvious, it could be the most beautiful venue in the world, but if it costs an arm and leg that you’re unable to afford at the moment, save it for something less costly. The money that you save on the venue can be used for other important aspects of the wedding such as details, food or entertainment. When searching for the venue be sure to create a list of needs and a list of wants. If the venue has all that you need, you can help create what you want on your own for a lesser value.
2. A Venue that doesn’t have a separate area for your ceremony and reception
One of the most important factors on your wedding day is none other than time. Everyone say’s the night goes by in the blink of an eye and that’s completely true! If you’re having your ceremony and reception on the same day then its important to do as much as you can to have zero idle time. I am absolutely in love with spaces that can convert their rooms from ceremony spaces into reception spaces, and adore venues that have separate areas for just your “I Do’s”. This way, when you’ve sealed that first kiss, you can head right into cocktail hour or start taking your family portraits (your choice). With this option utilized, there’s no need to worry about where the best man is or whether your parents are stuck in traffic. Ceremonies outside of the reception hall, although beautiful and perfect for photography, do sometimes cause delays or a lot of time where your guests don’t know where to go or what to do between the ceremony and reception, often causing more of a hassle when you want things to be simple and seamless.
3. A Venue that doesn’t accommodate weddings of different faiths
Have you ever heard the phrase “we don’t accommodate those ceremonies at our venue” ? We did, while venue shopping. While we obviously did not move forward with that venue, we did move forward with telling all of our recently engaged friends and family that this business didn’t deserve their money either. Be sure to pick a venue that respects your beliefs and you as well.
Photo Via Munoz Photography Featured On The Coordinated Bride
4. A Venue that doesn’t provide quality food and beverage options / packages
Ladies, ladies, ladies – hands down, the quality of food and beverages provided at your wedding will literally make or break your event. If the venue doesn’t have great beverage or food options available for dinner and cocktail hour than maybe it isn’t the best place to invest your money into. You get what you pay for, so please be sure that you’re being provided with nothing less than the best. Bridal Expo’s at your venue are the best way to get a taste of what your venue has to offer, some even provide you with samples on the spot when you’re visiting the hall for the first time. Basically, try not to get stuck with average chicken, fish and beef options, try to get the most out of your venue that you can.
5. A Venue that doesn’t have a contingency plan
Rain or shine a wedding has to go on, but does the venue you’re obsessed with have a contingency plan? If not, you should definitely start having that conversation to see how they move forward in case of certain events. If it rains,will the wedding be moved from outside to indoors without the guests noticing it happened? Or will chairs be moving back and forth while guests are in between? If it snows, will the grounds of the venue be cleaned so your guests aren’t walking on slush in their brand new heels? Depending on where you live and the type of climate you are used to, it’s very important to ask questions like this, it’s always better to be safe then crying in your wedding dress in the rain.
6. A Venue that doesn’t have a parking lot or valet
Who likes circling around the block for thirty minutes before finding parking? Definitely NOT your guests. Even worse, who likes trying to remember where they parked after a night of dancing and drinking? To my surprise, there are many venues out there that don’t accommodate parking for your guests, which could cause stress on the event day when they’re decked out from head to toe and in five inch heels.
7. A Venue that doesn’t have adequate suites for the bride and groom
Your bridal suite will be your little escape from the hectic night, where you’ll probably take some behind the scene selfies and for some brides this is where you’ll get dressed, if you choose to do so on-site for pre-wedding photos. I’ve seen some large suites with lots of accommodations from buffet styled food with drinks and champagne to some really cramped spaces where the bridal party was practically sitting on top of each other. Be sure to check out the size of your suite prior to booking your venue just so you have an idea of what you have available the day of your event.
8. A Venue that doesn’t allow outside vendors
A common trend now-a-days is the venue only allowing the use of their preferred vendors and approved caterers. Although this could seem helpful in terms of not having to shop around, there are also many downsides to this route. What if you already had a florist in mind? What if your family wants to provide all the food for the special day? Be sure to ask the venue if you’re able to use outside vendors for your event prior to booking before you’re bound to an agreement you were not aware of.
9. A Venue that doesn’t have protocols for multiple events on the same day
Another bride sharing your venue is not the deal breaker, it’s all about the set up of the hall as well as the quality of the rooms. Whether you like it or not, venues need to make money, which mostly means your wedding probably wont be the only event happening that day at your venue, but the question is, does the venue make you feel like the only bride there? What matters the most is how the venue executes multiple events. Will you run into another bride? Will you have to stand to the side while you both are trying to take pictures at the same location? Are there two event rooms right next to each other, or is each room on a different floor? If they’re right next to each other, make sure to ask whether the walls are soundproof, because for some, you can literally feel the floor shake from the event that’s being held down the hall. Or even worse, you can clearly hear what the M.C is saying, word for word. Trust me, that is something you don’t want happening on your wedding day or even worse, hearing a bump and grind song during your mothers heart felt speech – awkward!
10. A Venue that has an outrageous rental fee
Ever wanted to get married at a location thats not part of the norm? Maybe in a mansion, or at an aquarium or a beautiful ceremony in a park. Well if thats your vision, be sure to research the rental fee for such places. For venues that aren’t from a traditional catering hall you almost always have to pay a rental fee just to use the space, which doesn’t even include the food and beverages. This number can range from anywhere from 10k to 20k or even more depending on the location and what you’re looking for. Be sure to research what you’re getting yourself into before you set your heart on one of these unique spaces, because you don’t want to break the bank on just land, and then have to pay another set of payments towards food, decor, florals and more.
Remember ladies, venue shopping is one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning, so be sure to always trust your gut instincts and more than anything, have fun !!