Choosing your wedding venue is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make during the planning process. According to our 2018 Real Weddings Study, booking a venue was the most expensive decision couples made while planning their nuptials.
But other than the budget, you may be wondering what else to look for in your wedding venue. Of course, you should be searching for that special feeling of finding “the one,” but there are other factors to consider as well.
Before you book your wedding venue, make sure you ask all the right questions and ask to take a tour of the property. As you walk through your potential wedding location, be on the lookout for these certain things.
See our list of what to look for in your wedding venue below and you can try this out.
Know The Capacity Limit
It sounds obvious, but when it comes to what you should look for in your wedding venue, this is so important. Make sure the room or space is large enough to accommodate the number of people on your guest list.
The site may look enormous when it’s empty, but wedding essentials—tables, chairs, a buffet, bar, the band or DJ setup, the dance floor—will fill it quickly. And, of course, your guests will need some elbow room.
The best way to assess the size of a site is to go see it when another wedding (with a similar guest list size) is all set up. On the other hand, if you decide that a special site, like your favourite bar or your parents’ garden, is the only place you want to celebrate, you can always work backward and tailor your guest list to match the venue.
Consider The Privacy
Privacy varies widely by the venue, as does the importance couples place on it. If you’re having a daytime event in a public spot, such as a park, beach or botanical garden, be prepared for strangers to trek past your party.
They may smile, wave and come by to offer their good wishes. If you’re okay with that, book your dream venue. If not, consider a more secluded alternative like a lawn on a private estate or golf course. This caveat isn’t just for outdoor weddings, though.
Banquet halls and hotels often hold more than one affair at a time. If there’ll be other events going on simultaneously in nearby rooms, you may hear karaoke-loving guests belting Madonna through the walls or guests may meet them over the hot-air dryers in the bathroom.
If this bothers you, try to schedule your wedding when there won’t be another one next door. If that’s impossible, visit the site on a dual-party night and see how the sound carries—and whether there are any other major problems before you make a decision.
Alternatively, you could rent out a restaurant or gallery for your reception so your party is guests-only. Ask about available security at your site to keep wedding crashers at bay.
As special of an occasion as a wedding may be, it doesn’t mean that you have to serve the guests lobster tails and filet mignons. The venue may have its catering services with their servers that are included as part of the venue rental package. If you decide to hire a catering from a third-party service, does the facility have a kitchen where the food can be prepared and kept warm until served?
Does the facility allow only specific outside catering companies to work there?
Keep in mind that some facilities require you to select their in-house catering or may charge an additional fee if you choose to acquire the food elsewhere. The same goes for the wedding cake.
You may be charged an additional fee (known as a cake-cutting fee) if you bring your cake instead of having the venue’s bakery department make a cake for you.
See If There Is A Good Lighting
Light can make—or break—the mood and space. If you’re marrying during the daytime, double-check that your venue has plenty of windows. Who wants to spend six hours in a dark room when the sun is shining?
If you’re planning an evening affair, make sure the room’s not too dim—or that the lighting can be controlled for the big entrance, dinner and dancing. If you’re marrying outdoors, say, at dusk, will you be able to set up candles or other lighting if necessary?
To ensure your venue has good lighting, we also recommend visiting the site at the same time of the day you’ve chosen for your wedding. Even if the space looks romantic by candlelight, you may be surprised by the sight of that outdated carpet during the day.
If you only check it out in the evening, you’ll also miss a chance to see how the sunlight streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows completely transforms the room.