Voted the Best Wedding Venue (Gold) for 2019, 2018, & 2017 by Salem’s Oregon Statesman Journal.
Choosing your wedding venue is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make during your planning process for your wedding day. Whereas, for some weddings it may be the most expensive decision for that day as well. So this decision of your venue and location plays a big part before you make the other decisions that will follow. There are a few choices that make a bigger impact than others, and one of the biggest is your venue.
Most of the different aspects of a wedding are optional, from wearing a suit or a veil, to ditching the wedding favors, to an elaborate wedding cake. However, there’s one thing you can’t skip– a venue! After all, you’ve got to have somewhere for your friends and family to gather and celebrate! To CELEBRATE the occasion of your wedding is so important because the details of your day are planned around where this event will be held. This is the place you will never forget and will refer back to for the next 50 years.
Finding the perfect venue isn’t easy. There are so many options to choose from, from a countryside chapel to an elegant hotel. Here are some tips to help you find your dream venue.
1) Choose a wedding venue that aligns with your vision.
The venue you choose for your big day can really set the tone for your event, whether you choose a casual beach or a crystal ballroom. Choosing a venue that fits in with, and brings out, your theme will make your wedding feel more connected to the space. It is likely you, as the bride, have been dreaming about where you will have your wedding with your dream partner. It is OK to have visions in the past, but now it is time to try and find that right place. Settling on the basics of your wedding will help you and your spouse narrow down the many venues out there, and find the one that’s right for you.
2) Should you choose a traditional wedding chapel with a bell to ring after the vows or a non traditional place like a vineyard on a hillside?
Do you still dream of coming down the aisle of a church covered in rose petals in much the same setting as your grandmother was married? The traditional wedding chapel/church holds a special spirit and reflects the tradition of how weddings were done going back hundreds of years. Whereas nontraditional places are becoming more popular today. However, these types of weddings can be an expensive decision as it’s not cheap to prepare a vineyard or beachside location.
3) What is your guest list number that the couple came up with?
Remember the amount of people you invite is never the number of people whom will actually attend on your wedding day. Sad to say, after all the bother you put into sending out an RSVP note along with your invite, and that your guest take the time to send back. Always scale down on your attempted list of guests. You need to give your caterers the realistic number, not the dream number. This is an expensive decision especially if you have a caterer that charges by the plate. You will pay for every plate you order whether the guest shows up or not. Expensive!!
This is one of the early items you must have planned out before you choose your venue…what is the expected count of who will attend? Having a firm number and staying with it will save you a lot of headaches. Knowing your number of guests will help you break down your budget, as some costs are very dependent on the number of people you’re inviting.
4) Stay on your budget no matter what.
From the start of planning your wedding day until the day of the wedding itself, stay on your budget. It is very hard to do and easy to lose track. If this all works out for you, it will amazingly control your stresses to the end. If your venue cost blows your budget out of the water, you’ll either need to scale back your design and extras, or look at more affordable spaces. Some venues are unrealistically expensive, so be very careful. You may think this is the one when you arrive but once you see the price you may need to move on. This is a very common mistake. You need to keep your budget in the front of your mind until the end. Once you know the cost of your venue, you will be more comfortable taking the next step of planning your food and decor. Remember you still have to budget for the honeymoon as well.
5) Think about what is included in the cost of your venue.
When you’re looking at venues that are full-service versus places where you can bring in your own vendors and decor, be sure to price everything out. A venue with tables, chairs, and linens included might cost more upfront than a venue where you need to rent your own, but you should get an estimate from a rental company to see how they compare once you’ve added on the price of renting things for yourself.
Remember that the venue may have the basic items for rent (white linens, standard flatware, banquet chairs, round and rectangle tables etc.). You may still end up paying more to rent items that fit your vision, whereas if you find a venue that has those items for rent at their site, this could be the best choice because that will take away some of your stresses and cost less.
6) Narrow down when to have your wedding date.
Booking a wedding venue means that you’ve officially “set the date” for your big day. You may already have a wedding date in mind, or you may be able to be a bit more flexible if your date is taken. Either way, one of the first steps in choosing a wedding venue is to narrow down a few dates that you know will work for you. While saying that you’re getting married “next summer” is a good start, the best advice before you start looking at venues is to have a few dates in mind for your special day. You will be surprised that many wedding venues get booked one year in advance.
7) Weigh the pros and cons.
If you fall in love at first sight with a particular venue, that is a great or special feeling. However, don’t feel too much pressure to sign on the dotted line during your initial tour. It’s best to take a step back, tour a few venues, and discuss your options with your future spouse and family. Think about the pros and cons of all of the venues you toured, and work together to come to a decision on your top choice. Every place has pros and cons.
8) Sign the contract for your venue.
When you and your future spouse have agreed on your desired venue it is time to sign the contract. In most cases you have to pay half down on the venue to save the date and that portion is nonrefundable. Those words “nonrefundable” are a bit scary, so make sure you are 100% satisfied with the venue and your date for the event.
Now you have made the most important decisions you’ll make during your wedding planning process. It is worth taking time to CELEBRATE this accomplishment. You picked the venue and the date!
You can have a very special dream wedding at affordable prices. To make the most of your wedding, start with an affordable budget, then work within it to make your wedding the best for you and your future spouse. Next, decide on your venue and add as many do it yourself ideas (DIY) that you can to make it a pleasant environment for you and your guests.