How To Choose A Wedding Venue

Choosing a Venue for Your Wedding

Your wedding is your first joint statement of style as a couple, so it’s important to choose a location that conveys the spirit and style of your future as Mr. and Mrs. Whether you have your eyes set on a vineyard, city loft or remote beach, here are 7 must-read tips for securing a fabulous wedding venue.

1. Choose Your Location
Self-contained locations provide all the services you'll need at your wedding, from food and beverages to tables, chairs, china and staff. Some hotels or country clubs are ideal for brides who want convenience and ease when planning. Off-site locations provide few to no services, so catering, party supply rentals and vendors are arranged separately. Private homes, historic houses and barns are great venue options for brides who want complete customization.

2. Consider Customs
If your ceremony can take place anywhere, it may be best to find a venue big enough to include your reception. It’s easier and more budget friendly to hold the ceremony and reception at the same site, as you don't have to move flowers and decor elements from the ceremony to the reception. It's perfectly workable to have your ceremony and reception at two different sites, as long as they are within 20 minutes driving time of each other. If your ceremony and reception sites are far apart, consider providing transportation, such as vans or buses, for the guests.

3. Pick A Date…
If you want to marry outdoors on the beach in Maine, exchanging vows in July or August is optimal. Holding your wedding during the "off-season" can also work, as rates and availability may work in your (Think: a ski resort in the summer when the meadows are covered with wildflowers). In fact, rates and availability may be to your advantage. 

4. Then Pick A Time
Not every celebration needs to include dancing until 3AM. A mid-morning wedding followed by a celebratory lunch is an offbeat approach that will save you some costs with the venue. On the other hand, an outdoor wedding held at dusk is incredibly romantic.

5. Decide If You Want To Extend Celebrations
Consider whether you want to host additional events in addition to your wedding ceremony and reception and how these will mesh with the venue you have chosen. Many couples like to make their wedding into a weekend-long celebration, beginning with a rehearsal dinner and culminating with a post-wedding brunch and send-off for the honeymooning couple.

 6. Is Your Wedding One of Many?
Know whether there will be another wedding on site the same day as yours. It's best to have the venue on an exclusive basis. However, if this is not possible, make sure all logistics are well orchestrated to avoid confusion among your guests, band members, florist, and other suppliers and to ensure no one arrives at the wrong celebration.

7. Read The Fine Print
Just about any site will require you to sign a contract outlining the terms of service. So before you sign, inquire about the site's rules and restrictions in terms of food service, decor, music, parking and so on. These details can impact your schedule on the big day. Be sure your contract also outlines the dates and times that your rented room will be made available to you, what you are allowed to do in terms of decorating and lighting and when you will need to vacate. It's also important to ask about all possible hidden charges, from coat check and valet parking to fees for using an outside cake baker, before signing on the dotted line.

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