What to look for in a wedding venue

It’s one of the elements, besides your wedding dress, that you’ll need to book well in advance. Whether you are planning a destination wedding, a backyard wedding or a traditional one, choosing your venue is most likely at the top of the list. If you’ve never had a chance to plan an event before, here are a few things to think about:

  • Style/Theme: Many brides have a theme for their wedding and a colour scheme. One of the things you’ll want to think about is if the event space fits the theme or the aesthetic you are envisioning for your wedding. Wedding styles can range from classic/elegant, to country, glamourous, modern or romantic. You can also have a garden, rustic, or vintage style, just to name a few. Choose a venue that fits the aesthetic vision you’re considering.

  • Budget: Wedding venues can be pricey, so don’t forget your budget. Many of the venues have wedding packages for their brides. Check to see what the packages include, as some venues don’t provide the full service (i.e. catering, bar, and staffing). You will want to see if there are food and beverage minimums, site fees, and any other fees that they may have. In your budget, make sure you include both the room rental, the decorations, and the food. Don’t forget the taxes and gratuity!

  • Restrooms: Usually an oversight but still an important consideration, restrooms are always something you should think about. There’s nothing worse than attending an event with 300 people and finding out that the venue only has 4-bathroom stalls. No one wants to wait in line at a wedding to go the bathroom.

  • Capacity/Space: Have a guest list in mind when you’re scouting locations. This will help you determine how much space you will need at the venue. All venues have a capacity limit so choose a space that will hold the amount of people you are inviting to your wedding. You will want to make sure you have enough space for tables and a dance floor if you plan on showing off your dance moves in the evening. Take into account all other elements of your wedding that will require space: DJ/band, cocktails, bar etc. You may also want to look into whether the venue has a specific restroom for the bride/bridal party that you can use.

  • Location/Accessibility: Location is key. When thinking about the venue location, many couples think about the comfort of their guests. How far is the event destination from the church or the location of the ceremony? How long will it take for your guests to arrive to the destination? If you choose an event venue in the city, also think about parking and how far the guests will have to walk to get to the event location.

  • Catering/Food: Ask if the venue offers catering or if you will need to bring in your own caterers. The venues should have some wedding meal options to show you. Always do a taste test before selecting your meal option. Once you choose a venue, many of the halls will provide a tasting menu so that you can see what will be served the night of the big day!

  • Decorations: Ask the venue about decoration options. What do the tables and chairs look like? What colour options do they have for table cloths? If you want something different, are you able to bring in what you want?

  • Temperature: Check to see if the venue has sufficient air conditioning or heating. If it’s an older building, they may not have the best cooling/heating system. You and your guests will want to be comfortable at the venue.

  • Sound system/Lighting: Ask about the sound system and the lightning and find out what options they already have. Sometimes venues already have mood lighting options available instead of just the standard overhead lighting. Also check to see what the venue has in terms of a sound system (speakers, microphones etc.).

  • Event Hours: Find out how long you will be able to rent the venue for the event. Some venues will want the guests to depart by midnight.

  • Privacy: Banquet halls generally have more than one room to rent. You’ll want to see how much privacy you will have at the venue. Will you be able to hear the party next door? How far apart is your banquet hall from others in the same venue? Privacy at a destination wedding is a bit more tricky – there will inevitably be someone peering in on your beach wedding or walking by your wedding. So keep this in mind when you're in your planning stages.

Although there are many details to consider when it comes to wedding venues, asking the right questions will help you choose the best one for your needs.

Which wedding venues are you considering for your wedding?

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