Selecting Your Wedding Venue
The following article was written by Jaime Gilliam, Venue & Catering Manager for Revolution Mill Events, and was originally published in Triad Weddings in January 2018.
Selecting your wedding venue is one of the first major decisions you’ll make as an engaged couple. Your venue sets the tone for the rest of your plans and will likely comprise much of your wedding budget. Consider the following tips to help you confidently make your decision and reduce planning stress!
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
Know your approximate guest count, wedding date options and approximate budget before starting the search.
ENVISION YOUR DAY
Your venue lays the foundation of telling your unique love story on your wedding day. Chat with your fiancé and other decision makers about the style and aesthetic you have in mind. Are there any essential features the space must have?
RESEARCH AND TOUR
Use online resources and Triad Weddings to find local wedding venues. You should be able to narrow down options by the framework you set in the previous tips. Each venue has its own character and charm, and a site visit will help you determine if it is the right fit for you. Save time and find out as much as you can about a venue before you go visit. Contact your top picks in advance to set up a personal tour. Document the details by taking notes and snapping photos to help you make comparisons.
Gather as much information as possible!
- How long is the venue rental?
- What amenities are included, such as tables, chairs and linens?
- Are outside vendors permitted?
- Are there any décor or grand exit restrictions?
- Are there enough parking spaces and restrooms to accommodate the guest count?
- What is the rain plan?
- Does the venue itself photograph well and provide pretty portrait spots?
- What will the overall guest experience be like?
Since catering goes hand in hand with your venue, it’s important to consider options during the early planning stages. There are several benefits to choosing a venue with an exclusive caterer. The venue and catering team will work together seamlessly. You’ll typically have one point of contact to coordinate the venue, catering and rental details which makes things easier for you. However, if there is a certain caterer you’d like to work with or you have a specific vision in mind (like food trucks), you’ll want to look for a venue that allows outside vendors.
COMPARE APPLES TO APPLES
The frustrating thing about the wedding venue search is that you’re usually comparing apples to oranges. All venues include distinctive services and packages, so as you research, try to organize the information in a way that’s easy for you to understand and compare.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCT
As true with most decisions, if something feels right (or on the other hand, doesn't feel quite right) you should trust your instinct! Look at the big picture - while you may not like every single thing about the venue, if the pros outweigh the cons it’s likely a good fit for you. Make sure you feel comfortable with the staff, as they are going to be the ones to ensure your day runs smoothly. Be sure to check out online reviews!
Request a contract and take the time to read it thoroughly. Confirm your agreement of date, times and details to be provided by the venue are in writing. Be sure to understand all the terms, fees, restrictions and cancellation policy. Now it’s time to sign the contract and pay your deposit to officially lock in your date!
Congratulations, you can check this important step off your planning checklist! Your remaining details will start falling into place now that you’ve made this big decision.