How to Thursdays: Picking the PERFECT Location!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hello Lovelies!!!

Today I will just drop a couple of tips on how to go about selecting the perfect wedding venue.

Okay there are three MAIN things that will ultimately be a deciding factor for where you will settle on for a reception venue. The first thing is: 


A few "How-to Thursdays" ago we talked about selecting your wedding style and theme. Some people will determine their wedding theme AFTER they find their venue but most people have a theme in mind AS they search. If you want a more springy, garden affair it is more likely you will look for an outdoor space or a venue with many windows that would allow a lot of sunlight to enter the room. If you want something more glamourous and extravagant you would lean more towards fancy hotel ballrooms with large crystal chandeliers. If you wanted something more vintage and classic, a museum or historic mansion would be a nice location to look into. The list can go on and on but at the end of the day it is important to keep your theme in mind (if you have one) when searching for a reception venue because it makes it easier to bring your idea to life when you start off with the PERFECT backdrop!


The guest count is CRUCIAL when searching for a venue. You dont want to pick a venue that is only meant to contain 250 guests but invite 400, that would leave more than half of your guests without seats AND possibly violate the fire code. That is not something that ANY couple would want to deal with on their wedding day. So in order to eliminate these kind of mishaps find a hall that can seat all the guests you want to invite OR tailor your guest list to the venue. A really NICE venue that will seat 700 people is going to be A LOT harder to find than a really nice venue that seats 300. This is where it gets really tricky. Many of the larger hotels can seat up to 1,000 people in a seated reception arrangement BUT most of these hotels WILL also charge you per person/plate. This is something to think about when creating your guest list: Can I afford to have ALL these wedding guests?? Which takes us into the MOST important determining factor...


Okay, so your budget is literally the be all and end all in determining which wedding venue you will select. Primarily because you should not use a hall that will cost you more than you have or are willing to spend. It's important to do your research and know what the market is in the area you are planning to get married in. For example, receptions in metropolitan areas are going to cost more than receptions in small cities. Also, be as realistic as possible when creating your budget! If you have always dreamed of having a reception in an hotel ballroom or a  royal castle it WILL be way more expensive than a church hall or VFW recreation hall (NOTHING is wrong with that AT ALL.) But I just ask that you be as realistic as possible with your budget because if not, you will end up feeling dissappointed and unhappy. So in order to avoid that do your research, get a feel for the market in your area and THEN decide how much of your budget you are willing to spend on a hall. That way you will be able to make a more educated decision.


*RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!! I can NOT say this enough, with the wealth of information at your disposal with just a click of a button there is absolutely NO excuse for not knowing what venues are available and what they cost. Get on your favorite search engine and search for church halls, catering facilities, museums, hotels, gardens, and universities that may host wedding receptions. Get on the phone and call around to ask for pictures, prices, and set up appointments to get a closer look!

*ASK AROUND! Never underestimate the knowledge base of your co-worker, neighbor, or church member. You never know! You could just simply ask "Hey do you know of any wedding reception sites in the area" or ask them if they have been to any weddings lately and find out where they held the reception. Dont be shy! You have to be pro-active when it comes to planning a wedding!

*GET A PLANNER! One of a wedding planner's duties is to help you find a location AND vendors. This is what they do for a LIVING. Your wedding planner should be able to provide you with a list of possible venues based on your theme, guest count and budget. Simply because they are more familiar than you are with the wedding industry.

*BE CREATIVE! If budget is NOT on your side and you have to settle for a venue that is not exactly what you have always dreamed of, get creative!! Think of ways to achieve the look you want in ANY venue that you select. 

*DONT FORGET ABOUT FOOD! MOST venues will require you to hire their caterers or provide you with a list of suggested caterers you have to choose from. If you are like me, and plan on serving your guests jollof rice and assorted meats (HAHA!), then this is something you will DEFINITELY have to consider. There are some places that will allow you to bring your own caterers as long as they are licensed and insured but not ALL, so be prepared to ask your guests "Chicken or Beef?"! 

*PARKING! Many people may overlook this seemingly small detail, but it is important to consider parking. If you have a downtown wedding and dont arrange for parking for your guests, be courteous and let them know they will have to park in a garage or meter at their own expense. Most of your guests will not mind but it is still a good idea to let them know.

* MOST IMPORTANTLY....dont go overboard!! Don't allow yourself to be pushed into choosing a wedding venue that is out of your price range. It doesn't matter how dreamy the reception venue is; if you overspend on your wedding, you'll start your marriage off on bad financial footing.

Here are a few other questions you may want to take with you and ask when you go on venue visits!

Do they have adequate coat check and bathroom facilities?

 Is the wedding venue wheelchair accessible? If not, are there many stairs to climb? 

How close is the parking to the ceremony and reception rooms?

What's the cancellation policy?

Is there a payment schedule? What kind of deposits are required

Are there any hidden costs? (Before you sign the contract, read it carefully.)

What are the overtime charges?

Do they have a liquor license?

Will they allow you to bring your own liquor? (This is usually cheaper, even with the customary corkage fee.)

 Is there room in the wedding venue for a band and/or dancing?

 Does the wedding venue already own a sound system with adequate speakers or will that need to be rented?

Is there a space for the bride and groom to change and/or relax?

Where will you take photographs? Is there a park nearby, or do the coordinators have recommended spots on the grounds?

Who will be supervising and troubleshooting before the day of your wedding? Who will be supervising and troubleshooting on the day of your wedding? Can you meet them now?

Where can your guests park? Are there extra fees for parking? Do they have valet parking?

Is the wedding venue convenient to public transportation, especially in big cities? How long will it take your guests to get there?

Especially in museums or private clubs, are there limitations on decorations? Do they limit food and drinks to only certain areas of the wedding venue?

Are candles or other open flames allowed?

Where did you have your wedding reception or where is your dream location?? Talk to me!! 

P.S. If you're wondering....I'm DEFINITELY going to do a post on the Royal Wedding sometime in the upcoming weeks, loll! It is ONLY right!!

Stay Beautiful My Loves,
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Skinny Hipster... said...

lol Africans and guest counts= it is well. That has to be the major problem I see myself encountering ):

Bex said...

PARKING! This is a very important one that people neglect to consider. Take the wedding that I attended this weekend for example. The venue itself was an AWESOME pick, but the parking arrangements were TERRIBLE. It was a huge lot, but there was no structure to it; no lines to organize the parking, so many cars were haphazardly parked. And there were puddles everywhere from the uneven paving so you had to hop skip and jump just to keep your gown from being ruined with muddy water. All of that just builds frustration and sets the tone for your mood before you even enter the celebration.

Minimal parking where you have to circle the block 15 times before you find somewhere to squeeze in are just as annoying and will ruin your night before you even get inside.


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