Searching for your perfect wedding venue can be both exciting and daunting! You are newly engaged and ready to start the first step of wedding planning, but how will you know if it is the PERFECT venue?
A lot of venue hunting is going with your gut and making sure that the space fits your ~vibe~, but there are also other things to consider. Does this fit my budget? Does it fit my needs? How many guests can it truly comfortably hold? Don’t worry! Uptown Events is here to help you with our list of tips and questions to help you ensure you are making the perfect choice for your special day!
Let’s Start with the Basics-
Budget is a huge part of picking your perfect venue. Your venue should be about 20% of your overall budget. This is a huge investment, so be sure to check out our blog on budget guidance to help you decide what an Austin wedding will cost you!
Definitely ask about the costs– rental fees, fees for additional furniture or time, food and beverage minimums, etc. We recommend trying to collect this information before you even tour. No reason to see properties that do not fit your needs!
Next, does the venue fit your guests? Having an idea of how many guests you will be inviting and/or actually attending is a great idea to have before looking at venues! If you are expecting 200 people, why would you look at a venue that can only accommodate 125?
Pro Tip: Different types of food service require different set ups! Plated meals can help save space in a venue, because you do not need to accommodate buffet or station tables. Be sure to ask about guest count accommodations for different meal styles!
Selecting venues to tour–
Once you have your budget and guest count locked in, you should be able to eliminate a few options that just don’t fit! Our recommendation is to physically tour 3-4 rock star venues that fit your needs best. Overwhelming yourself with too many options can cause decision paralysis and make it harder to commit. If for some reason those venues don’t fit the bill, add another 2-3 to the list!
But once you’re there, what do you ask..
- What is the time block? Are there fees for adding additional time?
A normal wedding day is usually around 12 hours. Starting with hair and makeup and ending with your getaway! If the time block is shorter, would you be okay with getting ready at a hotel and then heading to the venue? Are you okay with the additional fees required in order to get ready at the venue?
- Are we able to have a rehearsal at the venue? Does this cut into our time block?
- What is included in the rental?
Some venues include tables and chairs, some don’t. Some include bar services, others include food which typically means they provide china, napkins, tablecloths. It’s always a great idea to know what all you get with the space!
- Are there getting ready spaces for both partners?
Ask yourselves: do these fit my needs? Some couples have larger bridal parties than others. No need to try to squeeze 14 people into a tiny room the size of a closet!
- Is the venue ADA compliant? Let’s make sure everyone feels welcome and accommodated.
Okay, things are looking good. Let’s talk about the nitty gritty!
- What are your decorating restrictions?
Some venues do not allow you to hang things from their walls or ceilings. Is this going to interfere with your décor vision?
- What are your alcohol rules and regulations? Are we able to bring our own alcohol?
This is a big one! Each venue has a different set of rules about alcohol. Being familiar with what you can or can’t do on your big day is important! Some venues require you to run all alcohol purchases through them, which plays into your budget, so make sure you’re aware of this early on.
- Do you require security and/or wedding insurance?
These are additional fees that you need to take into consideration when building your budget. Knowing up front if you will need to pay for these items can help you stay on track as you plan!
- Here’s a big one– What is your rain back up plan?
Some venues are able to accommodate rain plans indoors, others require a tent. A rain plan tent can be a big investment, so it is a great idea to be aware of this expense before signing a venue contract. A rain back up plan is a must, so make sure to prioritize this one!
- Are my guests allowed to leave cars overnight? Do you have restrictions on large scale transportation like buses?
- Do you have a recommended vendor list? Are we required to work with vendors on your list, or are we able to choose our own.
A recommended vendor list can be a huge time saver, but it is a great idea to know how flexible they are before signing on the dotted line.
Each venue is unique and attracts different couples! Finding the perfect venue can be a hard task, but being prepared to ask the right questions can definitely help prevent future potential challenges. There will be pros and cons to each venue, so take the time to discuss as a couple and make the best decision for YOU! We wish you the best of luck on this exciting step of your planning journey. Cheers!
Written By: Alana Harrison