Overlooking the obvious questions of where, when, price and size, here are a few things most couples don’t think to ask when beginning their venue search.
The ring is still gleaming on your finger and the word is out, you are officially off the market. You’re not sure where to start but you do know that venues and good vendors sometimes book a year in advance.
To rehash the obvious and important questions, let’s review.
Where: Hometown, regional or destination
When: Availability that is consistent with the time of year you prefer to get married.
Price: Is the venue within budget?
Size: Will the venue accommodate my anticipated guest list spatially?
The truth is, you will consider hundreds of little details when choosing a venue after beginning your search. Here is a list of those not obvious questions that you will discover matter after you begin your search.
Does the venue set the mood of your wedding vision? While that may sound strange, a well-designed space should evoke a mood and make you feel something when you are there. Example: I may appreciate a modern museum upon visiting, but it would not mirror a feeling of comfort or mood I would want on a special occasion. For someone more metropolitan, it would be perfect. The same as barn venues garnered popularity because couples that visited felt like they were visiting a farm from their childhood and it brought back positive memories or connection with humble living. Sure, anyone can select a banquet hall that is the right size or within budget, but it you’re wanting to capture a mood, your venue is a sure bet on where to start.
How convenient is the venue to you and your guests? Realtors have that saying, “location, location, location.” Now that I own a venue, I’m constantly admiring well-acquainted properties that would make great venues. Knowing the ins and outs of location and convenience, my pretend exercise of “what if this were a venue” quickly becomes a “likely not.”
An example is a lovely bed and breakfast I stay when visiting my daughter in Oxford, OH. Yes, it’s a college town, known for its Miami mergers (college students who marry). Yes they have the occasional wedding at this B&B, but the logistics make it a challenge, the owner admits. For one, there are not enough surrounding hotels to keep up with the ebb and flow of college semesters. The Bed and Breakfast is a large colonial style house, but doesn’t have a large undercover space, therefore, a wedding here involves a lot of rentals, particularly a large tent to house a reception. Look for our upcoming blog that elaborates more on the importance of convenience.
How helpful will the venue staff be at your event? Yes, there are “venue only” spaces where you are essentially renting just the space and maybe some tables and chairs. If you’re a big DIYer or have a full wedding planner, that may be exactly what you need. However, for the vast majority who have never planned a wedding, a helpful venue staff will make your day so much smoother. That is why many venues across the country are including day of coordinators in their wedding packages. See our upcoming blog that elaborates more on this.
Does the venue leave a lasting impression? True, your décor, entertainment and food choices will certainly bring the wow factor to your wedding day, but when you tour a venue, and say wow when it’s just the shell, imagine the elevation when all the splendor comes together. Your venue is the backdrop; the stage, so to speak. If it has history or a story, you are just adding more flavor to your wedding day experience.
Is the venue exclusive? In a world of members-only clubs, everyone is looking to be somewhat exclusive. It is good business sense for venues to do a high volume of weddings as they are in business to make money, but there are some venues that keep their numbers low for various reasons. I have a friend whose son married several years ago at a venue that only did 10 weddings a year. The property was so unique and they loved the exclusivity of it. Don’t be afraid to ask your venue how many weddings they do a year. Remember, it’s not necessarily a bad thing if your venue is popular, but if you like to be different or don’t want a space that could feel overdone, venues with lower volume just might be for you.