It’s the greatest day in anyone’s life, and you only get one chance to get it right. Although quiet, low-key weddings are always popular, the majority of weddings require a lot of planning. One of the biggest decisions is the choice of the venue. For some couples (those with a lifelong connection to a particular church, for instance) it is easy. For others, it is a matter of weighing up a tangle of possibilities.
Like it or not, the first thing you have to do is to set a budget for your wedding, and include in that the maximum figure that you can allow for the venue. It is a fact of life that there will always be somewhere you really like that is just above your budget and you will always persuade yourself that it is affordable. But if you can only afford $5,000 there is no point in even considering that dream venue that will cost you $8,000.
List all the features that are important to you. This will include such things as:
- We all have a dream location in mind. Try to be clear about what appeals to you: religious or secular, urban or rural, grand or homely, etc.
- Will the venue be suitable for your guests as well as you? A city venue will make it easier for guests to travel and find accommodation. In Baltimore, for instance, a hotel like the Marriott Baltimore can provide accommodation for guests as well as host the wedding.
- Have you already decided a definite number of guests, or can you adjust numbers to fit? You don’t want to rattle around in a hall that is too big, or risk offending people by leaving them off the guest list.
Research and Compare
Make a spreadsheet or chart listing all the factors you are looking for along the top and the possible venues down the side. Look here for an example. Conduct your initial research online, giving each venue a score for how closely it matches your requirements. To be super efficient, give each factor a weighting value and multiply the value and score together.
Draw up a shortlist of venues to visit. Have a detailed list of questions to ask the management. Remember to ask about how the flow of the different stages of the day will be managed in the available space. Revise these scores based on what you have now seen.
Ensure that you know exactly what is included in the quoted price. You need to compare like with like when it comes to the financial commitment. Be quite clear about whether you have to use the venue’s own caterers or are free to bring in your own choice.
The Crucial Moment
Signing the contract with the venue is one of the biggest steps you will take on the way to your wedding. It’s a scary but exciting moment. Plan carefully and you need never regret your choice.