Top 5 Things To Consider Before Booking Your Wedding
Congratulations on your engagement! Finding your soulmate calls for a celebration filled with friends and family, so let the wedding planning begin! But where do you start? Typically, the first steps in the wedding planning process begin with picking a venue. Picking the location of your wedding reception is one of the largest decisions you’ll make for your big day. We, at the Avanti Mansion, better known as “The Simplified Planning Venue,” have created a list to help you make that decision a little easier. We hope this article brings you some valuable information and at the very least brings up a couple key questions to ask your potential wedding venue before you make any big decisions. And if you haven’t yet, be sure to read our other popular article on “How To Save Money On Your Wedding” so you can make sure you don’t overspend when picking your venue.
Here are the top 5 things to consider BEFORE booking your wedding venue:
1. Availability: Date vs. Venue
One of the first things you’ll do to start the wedding planning process is to go straight to a calendar and try to pick a date. You and your fiancé may have a specific date in mind, but that doesn’t mean that the venue has that date available. So, what is more, important to you; Your dream venue? Or that special date you picked on the calendar?
Being flexible with dates, days of the week or even the time of year of your event will make your wedding venue search a lot less stressful. Saturdays in the summertime are prime wedding season in most parts of the country, so these are usually the first dates to go. If you want to guarantee a specific date, you might have to book your wedding two years in advance.
However, if you are more flexible with your date, most wedding venues usually offer cost savings for different days of the week or seasons. Your budget will also thank you! Ask your potential venues if they offer a lower event minimum or other booking incentives for days of the week other than Saturday. Winter weddings may offer even more savings!
Before reaching out to wedding venues, it’s crucial that you and your fiancé establish a budget and approximate guest count for your reception. Everyone has a maximum amount they are comfortable spending on their wedding, and its best to be open and honest about your budget, so you can find a venue perfect for you. It will make your venue search much more productive!
Usually, the budget is something couples already have in mind and know to ask about, but different venues price their services differently. The majority of venues will have some sort of minimums required to meet in order to book that venue. Some will have a person minimum, event minimum, or food and beverage minimum. You will want to make sure you know what items are counted towards these minimums, and how your guest count relates to them. For example, it’s likely that a venue’s minimum for a Friday night is within your budget, but if you’re estimating 250 guests to attend, your guest count may push your pricing past the budget you had anticipated. In that case, ask the venue for wedding specials they may offer to help ease that cost.
Charges such as, gratuities, service fees, administrative fees, and taxes are often costs that get forgotten as well. Find out specifically which of these are applied at each venue and factor them into your wedding budget.
3. Venue Spacing & Multiple Events
When visiting potential venues, you’ll want to consider the overall layout. Will your guests be separated during dinner? Are there separate areas to have a cocktail hour? Is there access to both indoor and outdoor spaces? Many venues, such as a hotel or a park, may be open to the public on your wedding day. For this reason, it may be necessary to ask if your venue is on a private or public property, depending on how important privacy is to you.
Your potential venue will need to know your approximate guest count in order to determine if they can accommodate a party of your size. For example, your venue may have a room available on the date you requested, but that room may not accommodate the size of your party.
Another consideration to be mindful of is if the venue has the capability to offer you exclusivity. It is very common for wedding venues to hold more than one event at the same time. But like we said earlier, it’s the little details that can make all the difference, and some venues have options available to guarantee your privacy and exclusivity!
Good Food = Good Mood! But does your venue offer catering? That is a BIG question you will want to have the answer to. If the venue has their own onsite catering, that’s great! That means there’s one less vendor to search for. If not, find out if there are large enough spaces within the venue for a caterer to come onsite.
When it comes to your wedding day, you will, of course, want the food to be delicious. Quality is extremely important and wedding food has made a positive comeback throughout the years. Modern venues now pride themselves in offering fresh, restaurant-style cuisine for you and your guests. Every venue or caterer may also provide different styles of dinner service such as sit-down, buffet, family style, cocktail style, stations, etc. Try to determine which styles you and your fiancé are open to because the price of each style of service can differ.
When it comes to your wedding menu, every single caterer does menus differently. As crazy as it seems, some venues only offer one menu to choose from. Others offer no menu at all and ask that you create your own from scratch. Many vendors will offer you a selection of pre-designed menus to choose from, which makes planning your meal much easier. Make sure to ask your caterer if you are able to customize your menu, make substitutions, or add special recipes that you want to be included on your special day.
Keep in mind, with a stand-alone wedding venue, it is not common for them to provide food tastings prior to booking your date, so learning about the different menu options is crucial. In addition, venues with attached restaurants usually have separate wedding menus that again, you probably won’t be able to taste in advance.
Be sure to talk to your venue about their food quality, ask to tour their kitchen, and read reviews about the venue’s food online. It’s important to trust the professionals!
If you want to know more about the top new 8 wedding food trends to try, then click here.
5. What does your venue include?
Lastly, we want to talk about the extras. What added perks does your venue include? A key feature you will want to make note of is whether you can have the ceremony and reception at the same venue, or not. Having an onsite ceremony has a lot of benefits, with most ceremonies being in the evening time with the reception immediately following afterward, but you will want to find out how private the site is. Do you have that space all to yourself, or will you be sharing it with neighbors and pedestrians walking by? Also, some private venues may have a “first come, first serve” policy for their ceremony sites if they only have one location available, so make sure to plan in advance.
Another venue aspect you may want to indulge yourself in is having your own bridal suite. Your own private space to get ready in and freshen up throughout the night may seem like a small detail, but you will be happy you have it on the big day!
Believe it or not, some wedding locations can also provide different vendor services or recommendations. (DJ, photographer, cake, flowers, invitations, linens, etc.)! Hiring these trusted professionals will add so much convenience to your wedding planning process by not having to spend countless hours finding these vendors yourself. If your venue offers these services in-house, you will have the added convenience of not having to pay a bunch of individual invoices so close to your wedding day. For some, these small amenities can create all the difference!
You will also want to take note of what the parking situation looks like for your guests. Does the venue have a large enough parking lot to accommodate all of your friends and family? Is there a parking free? Some venues, especially in city-settings, will require you to pay for valet parking.
The last services we want to highlight are rental services. Asking about rental items is a big area that couples tend to forget about. Some of the major rental items to ask a venue about are tables, chairs, china, silverware, glasses, linens, centerpieces, card boxes, cake stands, and table numbers. Many venues include these in your event pricing, but some may charge a fee. Each venue is unique when it comes to the items that they include. It’s important to know this in advance so that you can budget for these items. You may even have to provide these items for yourself or through another vendor.
I hope you enjoyed this article and it brought you as many new ideas as I could slide into it. Regardless, if you are in the Buffalo, New York area looking for wedding and catering services or are a soon to be bride halfway across the world, we would love to hear from you and answer any questions we can.