WEDDING

5 TIPS FOR SELECTING YOUR VENUE

Wedding

Choosing our venue was, without a doubt, the most stressful part during the wedding planning process for Brendan and I so far. It was one of the biggest and overwhelming decisions in our planning early on, and cost nearly half of our overall budget. We knew that celebrating the love we have for each other with all the wonderful people in our lives all in the same time and place will likely never happen again, so we wanted something so unique and special.

After who you’ll marry, where you’ll choose to marry is the next big decision to make and it truly sets the tone for the whole affair. We decided together, that booking our venue would take priority before making any major style decisions. We wanted to assure that our venue set the tone and theme for the wedding, and would determine our overall décor and style – like which florals we would have, the linens we would choose and even the look of my dress. Here are five main things Brendan and I considered before we booked our venue!

Budget

Selecting a venue that fits within your budget can be extremely stressful. There were many times I got so discouraged trying to find the perfect space that fit within our financial needs. Don’t waste time looking at places that are too expensive and will blow through your budget.

Although, keep in mind that the venue, especially if it includes catering will be 40-50% of the total wedding cost. I highly encourage you to combine the estimated cost of the venue fee with your potential food, beverages and rentals cost. If the estimate for all these items amount to less than or equal to 50% of your budget, then having a wedding at the location are you considering is a viable option for your budget.

It is so important that you and your fiancé have a full understanding of what these items are likely to cost to determine if the venue is within your budget. Rental fees should be a major factor when defining the estimated cost of the venue. Rentals can be a huge expense when not included and could offset the budget if not accounted for properly.

Size

Planning a major event with over a hundred people in attendance is quite an undertaking. It can be difficult to look for venues without knowing numbers. Brendan and I sat down with our parents and made a list of “must have” and “nice to have” guests to get a range of our initial guest count. Our budget has ultimately determined a number we are comfortable with and helped us narrow down to who truly matters.

 While we still have a large list, Brendan and I believe the traveling factor will naturally help us narrow our guest count to our closest family and friends. My biggest hope as we plan our wedding is that the atmosphere is initiate and romantic. I envision looking out to our loved ones at the ceremony and seeing each face and remembering how they personally impacted our lives together as a couple in some way.

Travel

Brendan and I both enjoy traveling and were always partial to the idea of a destination wedding. Brendan has family connections in Washington, and I remember visiting nine years ago as a young teenager and absolutely falling in love. I have spent every summer in Washington with Brendan and his family since 2008 and it is a place that has truly grown on my heart. Two years before we got engaged, we took my family there for the first time and knew they had the same feeling about Washington as we did.

For our wedding, we felt that our friends and family would enjoy traveling to this northern pacific gem just as much as us every summer. When we finally had the opportunity to tour or venue grounds we immediately knew that it would be the perfect fit. To us, this location perfectly represented both sides of our families and we love that

A destination affair is going to be so much fun, but it definitely means a smaller percentage of our invitees will attend. We are expecting about a 50% attendance rate but this is just an estimate. To try to increase our turn out, we sent the save the dates eight months in advance in hopes to increase our attendance percentage.

Style

When it came to planning our wedding, we knew that we didn’t want to get married on a golf course or in a banquet hall. We wanted to escape our desert environment and be surrounded by nature and since we wanted hard liquor served at our wedding, a winery was out of the question. Our venue is a stunning unique space among a desolate lush green area.

What drew me in was the expansive outdoor landscapes with waterfront views. I’m naturally drawn to neutral, organic and very simple aesthetics. Since our venue is naturally beautiful it will allow me to keep decorations minimally romantic with lots of greenery, candles, and ivory flowers.

When choosing our venue, one key factor Brendan and I focused on was the tone of the space because it will set the mood that our guests can expect to experience. We wanted to ensure that the venue we selected embodied our combined vision and is an accurate representation of who we both are but ultimately gives our guests a memorable experience that extend beyond our ‘I do’s.’

Service

Our venue only holds one wedding a day which was a factor that was very important to me. This allowed me to use multiple spaces on the property, at no additional cost as well as all the property staff. We will have our ceremony, cocktail hour, reception and post-vows celebration all at different areas on the property which is something I love.

Our venue also includes majority of our rental needs such as table, chairs, linens, dinnerware, silverware and drinkware. It’s important to do your research on what is included with the venue you are interested in and consider your budget. If you’re looking for a raw space, it’s very essential you have a clear understanding of how much it is going to cost you if you have to bring everything in. The last thing you want to do is blow your budget on a beautiful venue and then have to skimp everywhere else. Before booking the venue, call desired vendors to make sure everything fits within your budget.

Before Brendan and I decided on our venue, we wanted to make sure they could support our major wedding “must haves”. We made a list of our top priorities and what was most important to us for our wedding day. For Brendan, that was an open fully stocked bar and for myself ensuring the venue had a beautiful outdoor ceremony and reception options was a must. We had to work very hard with our venue on the noise or end-time restrictions, as well as the reception location. This laid the major groundwork for considering this venue as our wedding location.

Overall, the first question when it comes to venue is budget. The look of the venue is important, yes, but if you look at venue without establishing a good working budget then you’ll either blow your imaginary budget, or go venue poor and can’t do anything else or suffer serious heartbreak. It is so important to establish an estimated number of guests and how much you want to spend. This process should be enjoyable and stress-free as possible, the last thing you want is a hardship as expenses start to take over any excitement that should come with planning your wedding. But I promise once you figure out the venue, everything else falls right into place.

If you’re engaged and hunting for venues, how are you going about this process? Do you find it’s been a smooth ride or are you facing daily anxiety attacks? I’d love to hear your process and what you think is most helpful when searching for the perfect venue!

Image via Style Me Pretty.

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