7 Steps to Picking the Perfect Venue
Stress is a part of weddings, but are you stressing over finding the just-right venue that suits the wedding of your dreams? The planners at Weddings & Events By Raina have come up with a go-to checklist to help you find your perfect venue.
Maybe your significant other and you can take turns making each of these steps into a date! Focusing on one thing at a time with a good bottle of wine and cheese tray might help each of you decompress over those things that seem important at first, but with some thought and discussion, really aren’t that big of a deal when it comes to your dream wedding day.
__ Create the guest list
The first thing you will want to do is sit down with your significant other and create a guest list. We recommend making a list of people who absolutely NEED and those you WANT to invite (this will be affected by your budget). Finding a venue that is big or small enough for your estimation will be necessary in weeding out venues that won’t work. Guest numbers fluctuate throughout the planning process so don’t worry if it seems fluid at first! It IS! This is not your final number of guests.
__Finalize the budget
The next step you will want to take is creating a budget. This is a very important step that is often overlooked in the pre-planning stage of a wedding. We suggest sitting down together as a couple and laying out a detailed budget. This will give you a better idea about how much you are willing to spend on a venue. If someone is helping to pay for your wedding, you can do one of two things. One, you can ask them how much they are willing to cover/donate to your wedding fund. Two, you can show them your detailed budget and ask them to cover a few sections, for example, the flower portion of the budget. We get it, talking about money can be uncomfortable but it will be worth it in the end.
__Decide on a date
Will your date be flexible by a few weeks on your date, or is it set on one specific date? This is an important step in confirming a venue. If you want to get married in April, but there are no April dates left, will you be willing to move to March or June? Or is this a deal-breaker? If you know up front that you must stick with a specific date, you can take care of this step by phone and not waste any time visiting those venues that can not accommodate your date.
__Decide on entertainment
After the tedious decisions about the budget and guests have been discussed, it's time to talk about the party! This is the fun part but it’s also a very important step. With your significant other, decide whether you would like to have a DJ or live band. Some venues will only allow DJs and would prefer you to use their in-house DJ. Keep this in mind once you start venue shopping. With either of these choices, make sure to budget for it!
__Create a needs/wants list for venue shopping
Woohoo! Now you’re getting closer to start considering specific venues. This can be super fun but also super stressful if you aren’t exactly sure of what you are looking for in an event space. Before you take time to go out to shop for your venue, create a venue list with two columns: everything you might need on the left; extra things you might want on the right column to create your dream wedding. Some examples of things you can add to your list might be: Are you looking for an indoor/outdoor venue? Are you looking for a venue with a garden or a ballroom? Will you want your fur babies to make an appearance on your wedding day? There are many things to think about while making your venue checklist, because you and your partner will need to individualize this to fit your specific lifestyle and wedding. Remember, each of you may have to give in on some things, so deciding on your priorities up front will help you choose between needs and wants later on.
__Create your own list of questions
As you start considering venues; ask each one the same questions up front. Thsi will allow you to easily compare the venues. A few good example questions would be “How many indoor/outdoor restrooms will be available for my guests?” “What is their rain plan for my big day?” “Is everything handicap accessible and/or pet friendly?”. One thing we suggest is for our couples to stalk the venue’s website and social media to get a feel for the venue before visiting in person. While you’re visiting their websites jot down any additional questions you may have. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; venues love for you to ask questions and get as much info up front as possible.
__Start the venue shopping!
Keep your lists handy: Remember to consider your budget, guest list, and entertainment on your list. Remember to enjoy visiting the different venues, this should be a fun thing for you and your significant other! Be sure to keep notes and take pics of what you loved and disliked about each venue. This will allow you to add any questions you forgot to ask while you were there.
Once you have visited a few venues, make another nice date to compare notes on which venue will be the best fit for your big day!
We hope this took some of the stress off your plate and gave you some clarity about planning for your wants and needs for venue shopping. Remember, the entire team at Weddings & Events By Raina is here to help you if you need it!