If you're like me, you had an exact vision of what you wanted your venue to look like before beginning research. Don't you guys remember my first post on getting wedding inspiration? For me, I wanted a really bright open space with maximal windows (or even better, outdoors), gold chivari chars, and I wanted to stay far away from a traditional ballroom. I had lists of themes, inspirational images, and photo opps. I was going to rock wedding planning's butt. Little did I know, once I actually started to figure out logistics, there were a lot of shock moments like:This venue costs HOW much? You have to pay more for chivari? This venue isn't available til 2050? Maybe an all-inclusive traditional ballroom isn't so bad afterall...
To avoid you the shock and any pre-mature work, today I wanted to talk about how to choose the perfect wedding venue including things to consider before booking your wedding venue, honest questions to ask while deciding a wedding venue, and also a free printable to help you find your dream wedding venue!
Before the venue reels you in with its complementary bridal gift or the top-notch view of the city, stay as objective as you can and do your homework. Do not bring your emotional giddyness into this yet (I thought I would start on a happy note. Jokes.) But in all seriousness, wedding venues are expensive and will probably be where the bulk of your budget goes so be wise. Start with these basic questions to make sure this venue is feasible and something worth actually considering:
- Can we afford this? Will I have enough money in my budget to pay for the rest of the wedding?
- Is it available for my date?
- What is the max capacity? Can it fit my guests' needs?
- What are the restrictions? What happens if it rains (for outdoor venues)? Can I bring my own dessert table? Can I add Christmas lights?
- What is included? Is there a bridal room for our bridal party to get ready in? Is a cake cutting fee extra? Are silverware and linens included? Is there a discount for hotels or shuttles?
When E and I first started planning, we both agreed to do a backyard wedding. Because how cute and fun and charming and talk about CHEAP would a backyard wedding be? Wrong. We quickly learned that there were a lot of extra hoops to jump through, fines to pay, and things to consider for the so-called cute/fun/charming/cheap backyard wedding. For example: we would need to rent a kitchen and generator for the caterer, fans, lights, and portal pottys for the guests, confirm appropriate landscaping and parking, on top of renting literally everything (tent, tables, chairs, silverware, etc.) The list went on. Don't get me wrong, some brides can rock the details and not break a sweat. For E and I, it wasn't practical considering we were planning long-distance and couldn't sort out those minor details nor did we want to worry about Grandma complaining about the heat, kids covered in mosquito bites, and girls heels all sunken into the grass.
Now that story may not be relevant for you and you might be the bride who can rock a backyard wedding, but there will most likely come a point in time when you need to choose practical over something else. And that's okay, practical does not have to mean "no fun or cute ideas allowed." You can still have the wedding of your dreams as long as you choose to make the best of the situation (and you won't have the debt or rain or chaos to follow you after.)
Let's not forget that you have a fiance who also gets to have an opinion that may not be aligned with yours. Just because he thinks that ivory is the same thing as white (eye roll, men) or doesn't know what a centerpiece is, he is still allowed to provide input. Don't look at me, you're the one marrying him. Jokes aside, the last rule is to be nice. :) Consult with your fiance and bring him into the process! The extra set of eyes can help poke holes into places that are in your blind spot. Two is always better than one. Don't let a disagreement frustrate you, in fact that's a good opportunity to justify why you like your venue versus his. If you don't have a strong argument, maybe he's right...
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, MAKE A LIST
Pro/con lists are everything, especially when you are stuck between two really great options. Writing down the pros/cons for each venue can ultimately help you choose the best one - which is the best feeling ever and you can finally move on to the fun stuff! Here is a free printable you and your fiance can use when it comes time to make the final decision. Feel free to pin, print, and share as many times as you want!