One of the first things you’ll think about after you’ve gotten engaged (besides the dress of course) is find your perfect wedding venue. From the styling of the space to the timings on the day, the majority of your decisions will ultimately hinge on your choice of wedding venue. So what should you look for in your reception site? Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when looking for a perfect venue:
- Is there enough room? It sounds obvious, you need to make sure that the space is large enough to accommodate the number of people on your guest list. Remember, it’s not how many people you can stuff in there, it’s how much room will they (and you) need to be comfortable. And remember wedding essentials — tables, chairs, a buffet, a bar, the band or DJ setup, the dance floor — can take up a lot of space. Even if you choose an outdoor site, you’ll need ample room on the lawn, in the arboretum, or poolside. The best way to assess the size of a site? Ask to see the space when another wedding is all set up, or at least see photos.
- Do you have enough privacy? Privacy will vary from venue to venue. For example you’ll have much more privacy if you have your wedding and reception on a private cruise or wedding charter. If you’re having a daytime event in a public spot, such as a park or beach stranger may top to stare or even take pictures (no joke, I was actually asked to pose with strangers passing by at my own wedding). So if this isn’t okay with you you may want to look at booking your wedding at a private estate or golf course. You may also hold the reception at a restaurant that will allow you to buy it out. Keep in mind that if you book your reception at a banquet hall, ask if there will be any other events going on on the same day. If there are you may get the feedback noise from rooms close to yours or have uninvited guests “accidentally” wander into your celebration.
- Do you need a great view? Of course you want your venue to be beautiful, but what do you want your guests see when they walk into the room? Is it the city skyline, a stunning vista of rolling mountains beyond the windows, or the crashing sea, exceptional locations with a view are always a plus. If there’s no view or a view isn’t on your top 10 list, look to a place’s decor and make sure it suites your own wedding decorations and theme.
- Can you have your ceremony and reception there? Do you want to have the ceremony and reception there? This is a good question to ask yourself. Most wedding ceremonies take place at a different venue, especially if it’s a religious ceremony. Then after the ceremony the wedding party can have pictures done and then join in on the reception later. However, if you’re wedding is on a boat, you may want to have both the ceremony and reception on the boat. This is wonderful for the guests because there isn’t any down time or waiting around in between festivities.
- Ask questions before you commit… to the venue! Before you commit to any venue, ask to see a full breakdown of all the costs in an itemized list. Pay close attention to what is and what ISN’T included. Ask what happens to your money in the case of cancellation of either party. Also, be sure to ask the venue about suppliers. Do they insist you use spacific suppliesrs? Can you set up the venue yourself or is this something you need to hire the venues staff to do? Finally, be sure to know who your main point of contact will be throughout the process and on the actual day itself. This will give you peace of mind and make life much simpler in the end.