Looking for a wedding venue? Or a venue for your event? While pretty much every aspect of a wedding is optional, from wearing a suit instead of a dress to ditching the flowers to forgoing the wedding cake, 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!
But finding the perfect venue isn’t easy. There are so many options to choose from, whether you’re looking for a barn, an elegant ballroom, a cozy restaurant, or a quiet stretch of beach.
Here are a few tips to consider when searching for a venue:
Talk to a Wedding / Event Planner First
Planners are much more familiar with the capabilities of a space, the layout, and the time and items you’ll need to really transform it to the ideal venue look and feel for your event. If there’s a creative way to make it unique or a quirk about the space that could make your vision hard to accomplish, your planner will know!
If you’re planning a modern wedding, look at art galleries, well-designed restaurant spaces, or warehouses. On the flip side, a wedding incorporating more natural elements works well with outdoor venues such as parks, backyards, and farms. Choosing a venue that fits in with (and enhances) your theme will enable your wedding to feel more connected to the space.”
Know Your Guest List
Knowing how many guests you’re expecting to invite before you go looking at venues will help save you from headaches and heartaches down the road,if you choose a venue that is too small for your guest list and more guests RSVP ‘yes’ than you can fit in the space, you might be in a tough situation. Couples often underestimate how many people they will invite (or how many their parents will want to add!), so have that conversation early to know what you’re really working with. This will also help you break down your budget, as some costs are very dependent on the number of people you’re inviting.
Remember Your Budget
It’s more than just how much renting the space will cost, since venues with in-house catering (like hotels) will charge a price-per-plate. Decor and floral design will also drive the cost up.Know how much your total budget is, as well as approximately what your design will cost to execute. If adding that on top of the cost of using the space blows your budget out of the water, you’ll either need to scale back your design or look at more affordable spaces.Break down your overall budget by category, prioritizing more funds for vendors that are a higher priority. If you select your venue first, and then realize it’s more than you should have allocated, it’s an uphill battle to stay within your budget when you still have a dozen other people to hire! Not sure how prices break down in your region? Consult with a local planner to get information that’s more specific than the national averages often found online.
Consider Your Guests’ Experience
If you’re inviting a lot of out-of-town guests or having a destination wedding, look for a venue that’s near (or connected to) a hotel, And remember their comfort within the venue, too. The maximum capacity of a room isn’t often a comfortable amount of space, so ask the venue how many people they can fit comfortably.
Think About What Is Included
If you’re looking at some venues that are full-service, and some 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 when you’ve added on the price of renting things for yourself, remember that the included rental items are often more basic (white linens, standard flatware, banquet chairs, etc.), so you may still end up paying more to rent items that fit your vision better. If you’re working with a venue that has in-house catering with a food and beverage minimum, be sure to include the tax and gratuity in your calculations. The gratuity on food and beverages in South Africa is 10%.