If you found your way here, we know your wedding is one of the most planned days of your life. You want to make sure that before you get started in this process that you are seeking the best advice and that you are doing it right. While, where you choose to have your wedding may only seem to be important the day of, it will be captured forever in your photos and videos. We want to help you to make the right decisions, and to shed some light (literally and figuratively) on some areas that you might not think about when you start planning your big day.
Keep in Mind Your Vision
Before you start calling venues, take a moment to sit down and envision what you would like your wedding to look like. If you always saw yourself in an elegant dress and your groom in a black tuxedo, a modern art gallery would be a better choice as a venue. If you wanted something laid back and fun, you might not choose a fancy ballroom. Use your wedding vision as an idea to narrow down the list of venues and find a venue that fits your style.
Talk to your significant other and decide what feels most like you both, and go from there. Then when it comes time to actually visit wedding venues you already know what you are looking for.
While other people may be involved with the planning, for a decision as big as what venue you should choose, the choice should be yours. Tell loved ones they can help with smaller details and decisions about the day. But for the most part this decision is on you as the couple.
Your Guests Matter
You have narrowed down your list to the most important people. (If you haven’t done this already you should. Having an exact number for the venue when you plan to tour is very crucial.) Call ahead and see how many people your preferred venues can accommodate. Don’t waste time at venues that will have you cutting guests that you know are important to have with you on your special day. Falling in love with a space and figuring out later in order to fit you need to cut family or friends will be difficult.
Your guests comfort is also an important factor. Will guests be able to see the ceremony well from where they are seated? For outside venues, is there shade available if the sun is very hot (especially for elderly guests).
Also, ceremony spots that require long walks or uneven terrain to access will be nearly impossible for older or handicapped guests. Are there golf carts available? Are there elevators in older buildings and venues? Aim to be handicap friendly, not just handicap accessible. Check with your venue and your guests before you get locked in.
What is the Backup Plan?
Don’t be unrealistic about the weather? It’s the one part of your wedding you have absolutely no control over. Make a plan for your “worst case scenario”, speak to your venue and don’t sign any paperwork until you are comfortable with that. Be specific in your questions about inclement weather. Do they plan on moving you to your reception space? Will tables and chairs already be set and visible? These are things you want to get comfortable with now, and not be surprised about on the day of your wedding.
Ask about Preferred Vendors
Having a team that has worked together in the past makes the day run smoother. Some venues actually have certain vendors that they will not work with, as well as ones that they prefer.
If you are choosing your photographer before choosing your venue, they may have suggestions of venues with the best spaces for getting ready, portraits, etc. They may know the lighting or flow of another is preferred in photos.
On the flipside don’t just take your vendor’s word for it, make sure to check reviews on multiple sites to ensure that you are pleased with certain vendors and details.
Investigate Venue Rules
Your first visit you should be asking specific tough questions. Are there special restrictions on decor, noise, video/photography or lighting? Are there restrictions on capacity or parking? What are the heating or air conditioning situations like? For example, are there extra heaters for tents or drafty barns? Are there hidden fees for extras like additional hours or set-up and breakdown fees?
Make a list of non-negotiables BEFORE you head into your meeting. Some of these items might be readily available on venues website or paperwork, but to be certain you should still double check and ask when you have someone face to face.
Trust your instincts, if vendors, keep heading you off at the pass or answers are “it depends”, these are big red flags and you might want to pass that venue on.
Ask Morby Photography
We are happy to help with any questions you may have about certain locations, venues and vendors. We visit the same spaces often and can point you in the right direction. Please don’t hesitate to ask.