More than any other element, your venue will truly set the atmosphere for your wedding. Since this is one of the first major decisions most couples make in their planning process, it’s important to clearly determine what you need from your venue.
You want your guests to be comfortable and relaxed at your wedding, so consider a venue that gives you a strong element of versatility. For instance, a venue with indoor and outdoor spaces can allow guests to move easily from one space to the other, stepping out for air or coming inside if it turns chilly. Similarly, a venue that offers lots of nooks and spots for sitting or gathering will make it easier for guests to go with the flow and enjoy conversations. Versatility helps keep the party going by giving guests lots of options to explore.
Your Style and the Venue:
If you’ve chosen a style for your wedding, for instance, “rustic,” then look for a venue that allows that style to flourish. Discuss décor, lighting, and audio options with your venue manager to get a clear understanding of how much you are allowed to dress up the place. If you haven’t chosen a theme or style yet, but fall in love with a venue, then simply work backwards and let the details of the venue help inspire your theme. If you find a beautiful vineyard with Spanish influences, for instance, consider how you could work some Mediterranean décor, color, and thematic elements into the rest of your wedding.
Study the Package:
Before signing a rental agreement, be sure to read through the fine print carefully. Ask about fees that may not be disclosed, such as corkage or cake-cutting fees. Discuss potential vendors with the venue operators, and find out whether you must use approved vendors or are free to bring your own. Don’t forget to ask about the total amount of hours, including set-up and take-down, that are included in the venue rental- many places will charge hefty overtime fees if the party runs long.
Venues typically fall into two categories: those that provide catering and other services, and those that allow the couple to bring in any vendors they prefer. For more information, see our pages on choosing a Full-Service or BYO Venue for your happy event.