From the traditional to the unusual, great party spaces are out there. Here are some tips to help you find and book that just-right site for your wedding.
Do your research.
Check out wedding blogs, wedding magazines and your local newspapers for top-notch wedding and special events venues in your area. Look for unbiased checklists that give you a selection of places, their amenities and their costs. Narrow down your top choices and take trips around the same time of day as when you hope to host your wedding. You’ll get a real feel for the atmosphere and environment of the site, and you’ll have an easier time envisioning your wedding taking place there.
Look at the color scheme.
If you’re on a tight budget, look for a ceremony site that really resonates with the style and feel that you want to create for your Big Day. If the decor, style and colors coincide with the colors of the venue you choose, the less you will have to spend on flowers and decorations to fit the theme of your wedding. Notice the patterns and color schemes used on the floors, walls and fixtures.
Find two-in-one locations.
Try to find a ceremony site that also has a place for your reception. That way you won’t have to worry about the cost or hassle of transportation from the ceremony to the reception, your vendors won’t charge you for extra travel time and expenses, and you won’t have to stress about anyone getting lost.
Inquire about extras.
Take advantage of all those little extras your venue may have to offer and remember to have them added to your contract. This could include, decor mirrors, bud vases, containers
, candle votives, lighting, furniture, and even audio-visual equipment. Such included extras—rather that add-ons you're charged for—can add up to bigger savings.
Consult a wedding planner.
No one wants to be surprised with unforeseen costs, which is why you really can’t underestimate the knowledge your event planner will have to price comparisons in the area you are planning to host your reception. It may seem like a splurge to hire a wedding planner, but that expense can end up saving you a good chunk of money and time. A wedding planner has all the right contacts, knows all the best venues and can help you negotiate the best price for your site. They can also help create or modify a practical budget that aligns the quality of services available, with your wedding day style, the type of menu you plan to serve and the amount of guests you plan to invite.
Get a contract.
You absolutely need to get a venue contract. You need to know exactly what you’re paying for and exactly what you can expect from the venue. Venue contracts should clarify the terms of liability, insurance and cancellation policies, so you'll know what to expect in worst-case scenarios. You should consider hiring a wedding consultant with expertise in the area where you are looking to book your venue to help you negotiate the best possible terms of the agreement. A wedding planner will know what to look for as far as red flags, hidden fees and pinpoint any additional expenses that could cut into your budget. In addition, a wedding planner can provide insight as to whether sacrificing or negotiating a lower price in lieu of additional services or menu items will affect things like the quality of food, staffing levels and guest comfort.
Overall, each caterer/venue will have their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages and a wedding consultant will advise couples to sign an agreement they are happy with and without any hidden surprises that could effect their budget or the quality of the event.