Just a Cinderella searched for the perfect-fitting glass slipper, couples today can have quite the adventure on their hunt for the perfect venue that fits their style, vision and budget. And if you’re having a destination wedding, that hunt may feel like an African safari.
Everyone always says, “Once you find your venue the details will just fall into place;” however, finding and securing a venue is no easy feat and the earliest phases of planning. If you are struggling to navigate the venue selection process, Christina Baxter Wedding & Events is here to help and provide guidance across these five tips from our expert team.
If you’ve been overwhelmed by the venue selection, you are not alone. The questions start swirling and sure enough you are exhausted and intimidated at the thought of making choices that will define the feel, design and scope of your special day and wedding weekend.
To start, define the basic factors that are of the most importance to your wedding vision:
- Indoor or outdoor pending your preferred season or venue availability?
- What time of day do you want to celebrate?
- Will you be using a different location than the ceremony?
- As you consider the overall space, think capacity available about how much is required to accommodate your needs. Venues can look deceptively large when they are empty.
- How many guests do you anticipate will attend?
- What other vendors may also need space? Such as a DJ or band and the food service set up: buffet, food stations or seated meal.
Pick the Date or Venue. It is JUST like the chicken or the egg–which comes first!? Depending on the city in which you plan to wed, venues may be a commodity and their availability may dictate your wedding date, if your heart is set on a specific location. However, if the specific date of your wedding is of more significance, you will be able to eliminate any venues that cannot accommodate your preferred date.
Define YOUR Wedding Style. Spend time brainstorming with your partner and family about the overall style you wish to convey to your guests. Our team works with couples cull out the important components that set the tone for any wedding event. We can simplify it into a few components:
- Are you traditional or non-traditional as we consider a formal ballroom or a beachy soiree?
- How formal (or not-so-formal) do you wish to be? Black tie, white tie, bohemian, casual chic or beachfront?
- What other flourishes of your personality will inhabit the space during your celebrations?
Facility Amenities & Rules: Every space you visit will have their own amenities, rules and regulations. Before we get too deep into “fluffy stuff” there are some basic, logistical questions that will provide helpful detail for venue considerations. First and foremost, ask for a specification sheet, brochures, flyers or links to information related to capacities, included amenities and the pricing schedule. We also recommend asking for floor plans from previous events held in the space with a similar guest count. That ensures enough space will comfortably accommodate all seated guests, music, a dance floor, etc. The “maximum capacity” stated on paperwork may only account for standing receptions or lectures. You must be certain your can achieve your vision given the size and scope of the space. After reviewing those pieces, a handful of questions will give you the necessary background to make some decisions:
- Can the space house the ceremony AND reception?
- How close is the reception location to the church? (if applicable)
- Can all festivities take place in one space?
- Is there a bridal suite and or grooms quarters for getting ready?
- What is parking like?
- Do they have a designated caterer? Can I bring in an outside caterer?
- What kinds of site-specific modifications are allowed? (ie: ceiling installations, decor, furniture needs, lighting etc)
- Are there additional fees we need to know about up front?
- If it’s an outdoor plan, how will you accommodate a rain plan?
- What is the restroom situation?
- What power supply can you provide? Or, do we need to provide our own?
The more detail focused you make this step, the easier time you will have deciding on a final location.
Cost. This can be the most prohibitive or the most defining piece of the wedding planning puzzle. With the dress, invitation suite design and event style leaning heavily on the venue selection, there is more to the numbers. We recommend doing the research and asking for a pricing schedule before making any commitments. There are a host of details that coincide with the venue’s cost structure. Our team draws from years of experience across many of the eastern seaboard venues to creatively incorporate what the venue can offer with our couples’ vendor teams. Critical topics to discuss with the venue include:
- The deposit, refund and cancellation policies and payment terms
- What exactly does the total cost include?
- Additional fees! Most venues add fees for cleaning, damages, incidentals, per hour overage for starting and ending time needs and on-site rentals (tables and chairs)
- Minimum guest guarantees and confirmation timelines. Each venue is different and offers unique amenities, but will require different windows for confirmations.
We’re here to guide you through determining your non-negotiables and defining the details of the day that are critical to you while staying true to your style and vision. At Christina Baxter Wedding & Events, we play a supporting role for our couples throughout each step of their planning, starting with the venue selection process.
After our initial interview where we listen to your interests, needs and vision, we are able to automatically make some recommendations and review other options that consider your budget, logistics, capabilities, and rules and restrictions. We give our couples the freedom to explore as many venues as they wish, but also offer a guiding hand from our industry experience to facilitate a positive venue experience with ease in destination wedding locations.
Contact us today for an initial consultation to start planning your wedding or to hand off the stressful details of venue selection and beyond to our award-winning team. Call 843-749-2807 or email email@example.com.