Tips for Choosing the Best Wedding Venue

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The question has been popped, and the planning begins.

And now that you’ve decided to get married, you must next decide where to get married.

But how do you know which venue is best for your special day? Here are some tips for picking the perfect place to tie the knot.

#1: Start Early

The most popular places go fast — as much as 12-18 months in advance. For the best chance to lock in your first choice, book early.

Another reason to choose early is that your venue sets the tone for the rest of your planning, from your wedding decor to catering. The sooner the venue is solidified, the sooner you can move on the rest of your decisions.

Start by getting referrals from friends and vendors in your area. Look at photos from recent weddings to visualize how your wedding might look in different locations.

#2: How Many Venues?

Some couples get married in a place of worship and host the reception in a second location, while others feel it’s more convenient to hold both events in the same place.

If you will need two venues, consider the distance and travel time when planning start times. If you use a single venue for the ceremony and reception, make sure there’s enough time and space available for both.

#3: Set a Date

This is one area where a trade-off may be necessary. Which is most important to you, to get married on a specific date, or to get married at a particular place?

If the date is your top priority, you will need to cross off any venues that aren’t available on that day. If your heart is set on a favorite venue, you may need to set your date based on when that location is available.

Booking your wedding on a Friday or Sunday, or during off-peak seasons may save on rental costs.

#4: Create Your Guest List

This can be somewhat tricky, as not everyone you invite will be able to come to the wedding.

A good estimate helps you book a venue that will comfortably hold everyone, without spending money on extra space you don’t need.

When shopping for venues, ask about guest count minimums and the maximum capacity for different event setups — seated, dining or standing.

Once invitations go out, keep your venue updated as the RSVPs come in. You will need to provide a final guest count ahead of time, so don’t be shy about sending “friendly reminders” to stragglers who haven’t yet responded.

#5: Set a Budget

One way to keep from overspending is to decide ahead of time how much you can afford. You might want to gather quotes from a few places so you’ll know what’s realistic.

Think about what is included in the rental fee. A quote that looks more expensive upfront may actually be the more cost-effective choice if it also includes things like planning, catering, beverages and other services.

#6: Match Your Style

Formal or rustic? Modern or casual?

Your venue should complement the overall tone and color scheme of your wedding.

Ask your venue if any decorations are available in-house, what you’re allowed to bring in from the outside and whether any items are prohibited.

#7: Take a Tour

All of the pictures and second-hand opinions in the world cannot replace an in-person visit. Schedule a walk-through so that you can experience the atmosphere first-hand and get acquainted with the staff.

If possible, visit prospective venues when they are set up for a wedding, so you can visualize how your event would look. Take pictures and ask lots of questions.

#8: Think About Transportation

This is a big part of creating a great experience for your guests. If you have people coming from out of town, include directions when you send out invitations.

  • Identify nearby hotels to recommend and find out if any of them offer attractive group rates.
  • If your ceremony and reception are at separate locations, provide directions for travel between them. Consider offering a shuttle service if the route will be challenging for out-of-towners.
  • Make sure your venue has enough parking and look at the proximity of parking to your event. Consider offering valet services or make similar arrangements for older guests if needed.

#9: Find out What’s Included

As noted above, some venues offer a variety of services along with your event rental, while others have special requirements you’ll need to meet.

  • Planning: Does the venue have someone to help you plan your event, or will you need to hire someone on your own?
  • Catering: If the venue offers food and beverage service, schedule a tasting in advance to make your selections.
  • Other vendors: Some venues have a preferred list of photographers, florists and other vendors you’re required to use, while others let you select your own.
  • Timing: Find out how many hours you have. How early can you set up? What start and end times are allowed? Is there a clean-up deadline?

#10: Special Considerations

Finally, here are a few other details you’ll want to discuss with prospective venues.

  • Lighting: This is especially important for your photographer and also sets the mood. The time of day, whether your event is indoors or out and the presence of windows will all make a difference here.
  • Acoustics and electricity: Your musicians or DJ will be interested in these. There should be enough outlets to handle a PA system and other electrical equipment you may be using.  
  • Special needs: Make sure your venue is accessible for guests with disabilities, and that your menu includes options for those with dietary restrictions. Have a few festive non-alcoholic beverages on hand so everyone can participate in the wedding toast.
  • Watch the weather: If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, be sure there’s an indoor space nearby just in case. If it’s a hot, sunny day provide sunscreen, umbrellas or a canopy so everyone will feel more comfortable.

 

Les Bourgeois Vineyards offers the perfect place to celebrate your nuptials on a breathtaking bluff overlooking the Missouri River.

Contact us to learn more about our event space and full-service catering.