One of the elements of having a perfect wedding is finding a venue that meets the couple’s desires. It might seem like something simple but it is actually a big deal. It is very important that the couple sits down and discusses exactly what they are looking for in a wedding venue, before they go out looking for one. The worst that can happen is making a hasty decision that will later be regretted.
The first thing a couple should do is make a draft budget for their venue. It is very easy to sign up for a very expensive venue then later on realize that you do not have the funds to pay your exclusive DJ.
The second thing is to write down what you two want in your venue. Research for any venues that fit your tastes. Check out their websites, talk to friends who know the venues and ask for their opinion. If you have any questions about a specific venue, you can send an email to the specific place and get to interact with them. Inquire about their marketing packet which will definitely offer more information for the specific venue.
As you research for your wedding venues, ask yourself these key questions:
- Can we afford this venue? Budget is very important because it determines if you can actually get the venue or its all wishful thinking.
- Is this venue available on the date (or month, or time of year) that I want? Some venues have online calendars, others you can email for rough availability. And always double-check their availability at the site visit.
- Does this venue’s capacity fit our estimated guest list? Sometimes venues stretch what’s possible in order to make themselves more attractive to all couples. One way to discreetly figure this out is to ask at the site visit: “What number of guests is most accommodated in this space?” Just because you can fit 150 people into a room, doesn’t mean you should.
- Does this venue’s layout fit my needs? For example, if you’re doing ceremony, cocktails, and reception all in one venue, does it have three separate spaces for all of those events? If not, do they recommend a “flip?” The typical “flip” is changing the ceremony space into the reception space during cocktail hour, when guests are in another area. Flips are a great way to make a venue work for you. However, make sure they are done at the venue often, and ask how they are done.
Does it require a space that is weather dependent (such as an outdoor space)? This is where you can recognize potential hidden costs and hidden issues. It’s also important to talk through the flow of the ceremony if you’re having one there. Where is the couple kept prior to the ceremony? Are there multiple places if they don’t want to see each other beforehand? Where do people march in from?
- Consider location. Does the location of the venue allow for guests to get themselves there via walking or public transportation? If everyone is driving, is there ample parking (paid or unpaid)? Again, transportation can be a fairly big line item on your budget if you’re shuttling people to and fro.
- Does this venue have any catering restrictions? Sometimes a venue makes you use one exclusive caterer (who is usually really expensive—and therefore means this venue pushes your budget too far).
- And finally, does this venue fit your general vibe? This is a hard one to nail down, as it’s usually a gut feeling and completely depends on the type of wedding you’re hoping to have. If you’re looking for a casual Barbecue wedding, a historic, marble hall isn’t the best fit.
It is important to be open to possibilities until you do a site visit. This is also where you should consider decor. Is the venue naturally beautiful and impressive, so it doesn’t require additional lighting? Or is it a blank slate that will need lighting to warm it up, and additional decor?
Make sure you’ve either made room in your budget for that, or that you prefer the space as-is.
Now that you’ve done your preliminary research, you’re all ready to narrow your options and do some site visits!
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