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The Event Planner

Choosing your wedding venue: What to know before you book

Hooray! You’re engaged and your mind is filled with all of the things you need to do to get the wedding planning started. Dress shopping, browsing wedding inspiration on Pinterest, setting a date, finding your perfect venue… but STOP right there!


Don't get lost in the venue hunt by being so enamored by the views or the fancy chandeliers! There is so much more to consider.

Before you settle on that mountain top venue or the reception space in the heart of the city everyone’s raving about, first and foremost....enlist the help of an experienced wedding planner!!! Then, take the time to consider these six things before signing on the dotted line:


There is nothing more disappointing than having your heart set on a specific wedding venue and the date is not available! Yes, bask in the moments of your engagement, but set some time aside with your fiancé to choose a date for you wedding. Especially if you want a specific date and you do not want to consider other days. A good example of this would be if you want to get married on the anniversary of your first date or the first time you both said I love you. But whichever date you choose, lock it in so you can then start your search! Don't forget to be aware of any holidays around your date or any big local events going on near your venue that could impact available hotel accommodations and traffic


Think about where you want to have your wedding. Have you dreamed of a chic, upscale, wedding in the heart of the city? A rustic, rural, farm wedding? Or a simple, but elegant wedding in the suburbs? Whichever you choose, when making your venue decision it’s important to think about the logistics. Will the distance to your venue cost you travel or hotel fees for your planner or your vendor? Will you and your wedding party require hotel accommodations the night before after the ceremony rehearsal & dinner and to be at the venue in the morning for set up or hair/makeup? How about the night of the wedding?

If you choose a ceremony space that is quite a distance away from the reception space, include detailed directions and a map for your guests, and allow plenty of time between the ceremony and the reception time for travel. Also, if you have a hotel room block, think about where the hotel is located in comparison to the ceremony and reception venues. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “It’s my wedding and I’ll have it where I want it!” And yes, it’s so true, however, those little details will be appreciated by your guests, you will have a better turnout and it will make for a more enjoyable experience for all!


Trust us on this piece of advice- you are going to thank us later! If you have a confirmed list of 200 guests in a space that holds 250 people - you and your guests will feel like sardines stuffed in a tiny can! You don't want to be that couple that booked a venue with space with a "capacity" of 250 people, however, when they added the guests, vendors, dance floor, buffet, cake table and other extras to the room, it becomes hot, crowded and very uncomfortable. No one enjoys being in that kind of environment!

We love the venues we work with but so many times we find they tell couples "Yes, this space can accommodate 250 guests!" but you have to remember that their job is to get the venue booked and they don't always share the reality with the couples about how many it will actually accommodate comfortably once all of the other elements are added.

Friends, don’t let this happen to you!

So, when you are asking the venue manager questions, make sure to ask to see photos of a past wedding with a guest count similar to yours!


Whether your plan is to get married outside on the lush greens of a golf course or to have your reception in a courtyard of a romantic Italian villa, the one element we cannot control is the weather. Although rain on your wedding day is said to be good luck, it can certainly put a damper on your outdoor wedding dreams. Make sure the venue you choose has an indoor ceremony space that you love just as much as the outdoor space, in case of inclement weather. However, if you are dead set on having your wedding outside rain or shine, be sure you are providing an adequate covered and enclosed contingency option, such as an event tent with side walls. One or two beautiful chandeliers installed for overhead lighting, uplighting to add a touch of color to a white tent, and loads of lush florals and draping can give any plain white tent class and luxury. What you want to avoid is having to do what we call a room flip! Where you have to transform your ceremony space into your reception space after the ceremony. This will not only cost you more money in labor but it is more time consuming and frankly, it doesn't look good to have to ask your guests to stand to the side (or worse, outside!) while they wait for the room to be moved around. 


We love amenities, especially when they add to the fabulosity of your wedding day! Honestly, who doesn’t?! When venue shopping, find out what’s included in the price. For example, you believe you have found the perfect venue. It has everything you want- the perfect crystal chandeliers, beautiful ceiling to floor windows, an outdoor patio overlooking a lake, and enough space for the entertainment you want and all of your guests. Then you find out once you get to the office that you have to pay $5 per chair for the ceremony and $8 per chair for the upgraded Chiavari chairs for your reception. You have to set up all of the tables and chairs yourself. There is a $250 fee if you want to have your ceremony rehearsal the day before. You cannot have the cake you want from your favorite bakery because the venue has a preferred bakery and it’s a $3 per plate up-charge to use the gold rimmed chinaware- or else you get the plastic wear. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of this, however, know and understand what you’re paying for so there are no surprises. Or our motto is, if you have an amazing planner, anything is negotiable.


Every bride has had a vision of what she wants her wedding day to look like – the colors, the decor, the “in the moment” feelings, and so much more. You want your venue to scream perfection! When venue hopping, make sure things like the colors of the venue’s carpet, wall paint, or decor will not clash with what you have in mind. If you choose a theme of romance for your wedding and the colors are blush,  gold, and ivory, a venue with green/tan colored carpets and dark wood stained walls will not work! It’s your wedding day and everyone is going to take lots of pictures. You want to look back at your photos and have no regrets! 

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