When it comes to wedding planning, people don’t rack their head much on wedding reception venue and it is one of the last requirements to be addressed. Most people allot least importance and care to it and perceive it as an easy task until it is very late. It is ideal to fix and book the venue as early as possible; the venue that we yearn can be booked before we make a move.
The process of choosing a venue is crucial as it sets the tone of the wedding and is the place all the plans are finally executed. It is also an incredibly overwhelming process; there is a long list of requirements that venue needs to satisfy like; it should be affordable, it should be accessible, the location of the venue should be convenient for the guests and top of all you need to like it.
Thus there are a lot of important questions to ask and this piece of writing intends to throw some light on all venue related issues, trivia and information. Give it a read to figure out how to choose a wedding venue that is the best fit for you.
Things to Consider
While organizing an event, you are confronted by many choices and decisions. Choosing a venue is the one decision that will have the largest impact on the successful execution of your event. Before you begin your search, there are a few things about which you need a strong understanding like budget, the number of attendees and type of event.
Once you have the three things fixed, you can begin your search for a venue. Booking the venue at least six months prior will ensure that you have the date of your event set in stone. According to the date, arrange the timeline of fixing the venue to preparing it for the final day. Finding the right venue for your event can take up quite a bit of your time. Thankfully there are a few shortcuts to help you save time:
- You can contact the area’s local convention bureaus and travel websites to inquire about venues near you that best suit you.
- Use an online tool, such as Peerspace or Unique Venues, to help you browse through the many venues to find the one right for you.
Fix the amount that you wish to spend and use it to filter out the venues that are off your bounds. You may want to keep the venue cost down to allow more room in your budget for food and beverages and entertainment. If you start the venue hunt before fixing the wedding date can be advantageous to you. It can be a great negotiating tool, as certain days of the week tend to cost less, if your date is flexible you can opt for the less costing day.
There are a lot of factors that make a venue convenient to the host and the attendees. For example, if attendees of a wedding are within a limited geographic range, a venue within a reasonable distance from most attendees’ homes or places of work is the way to go. On the other hand, if many attendees are travelling from out of town, hosting the wedding reception at a venue which is near the airport will be beneficial. If you can splurge a little more and house the attendees at a single location, it is easy to manage and is risk-free. Hosting the event at a hotel thus mitigates the need for valet parking, the transportation charges and possibilities of attendees coming late or not making it to the ceremony.
The attendees should be given proper information about the venue and directions to reach there. Nowadays people prefer to follow GPS than cryptic direction maps. Make sure that your venue is listed in GPS and is accessible via a smartphone. Nowadays mobile apps are available that can inform the guests with maps, a right direction to the venue, an up-to-date parking arrangement information, and local attractions. You can also set up such a mobile event app and worry no more. Whova is such an app that usually supports interactive indoor maps and also driving directions and parking instructions. It allows attendees to conveniently navigate and find the exact building as well as indoor booths.
Pay special attention to the existing decor and interior design inside the venue. Scrutinize the architecture and interiors of the building to make sure that it goes with your wedding theme. If your wedding theme is traditional, you need a venue with interiors and infrastructure that resonates with the theme. For example, it is inappropriate to host a traditional themed wedding in a glass building. The less the ambience matches the desired feeling of your event, the more decorating you will need to do to make up for it.
Apart from having a pleasing look and good design check for added amenities the venue offers. Wedding venues these days has country clubs, garden estates, water fountains, in house event managers and amphi-theatres. See if the venue can customize the infrastructure or packages to fit your specific needs.
Services and Amenities
In addition to the appearance of the site, it is also important to take into consideration the services and amenities available at the venue
- Check if the venue has a kitchen and can it provide catering to your wedding reception. Often a venue will waive the facility fee and only charge a down payment along with the cost of food for each attendee. Some venues may not have kitchens and such venues may have a partnership with a food provider that you are required to use, or you may be free to bring in your own vendors. It can be really beneficial if the venue you choose has partnered with an outside food vendor; many venues keep an exclusive relationship with certain vendors, typically food vendors. If it’s not the case, it can create a huge headache, and negatively impact the experience of your attendees. If you cannot book a venue that serves food your attendees will enjoy, it would be better to select a venue that allows you to bring in outside food vendors.
- Check if the venue has had tables, chairs and linens you can use for the reception. If a venue is providing these items, you can save a great deal of money and effort by using what they have, assuming it matches the theme and ambience of your wedding.
- Check if the venue has a cleanup and housekeeping crew. If your venue does, it is again some burden off your shoulders. This is not the case always; if these services are not available then you will need to hire cleaning staff separately and this is added expense.
- Check if the venue has it AV capabilities; some venues offer built in audio-visual equipment for DJs and screenings. If the venue you choose has these facilities, you can be relieved of the trouble finding and transporting it from outside sources to the venue.
Having a precise idea about the number of people attending your wedding is a crucial factor that helps you to narrow down the options. When you have the number of attendees to expect, then fix the venue according to its capacity. For example, if you expect 200 guests, fix a venue which can accommodate a little over 200 people, that way you can anticipate and be prepared for an unexpected guest turn out. But the margin between the expected number and the number you book should be paltry; if you book a venue with a capacity of 500 for 200 guests you are wasting money and overpaying. Also, there are other factors to consider like fire and safety codes that the venue has to abide by.
If your venue has in-house F&B facility, enquire about the food and beverages they serve so that you can decide whether to avail their services or to hire outside caterers. Also, find out what is the food and beverage minimum that are offered at the venue and get this information in writing. Know the market prices of these F&B services compare it with other venues and also talk to people in F&B business to ensure you are not overpriced.
Ensure the venue has a parking lot and a valet parking. Parking space is a huge deciding factor as many people choose whether to go to a place or not according to the parking available. If the venue that you wish to rent does not have a proper parking space, which is otherwise perfect, see if you can arrange a parking space near that venue. If your venue is quite big or if it is in the happening area; chances of finding a parking facility near it is high. Find parking lots nearby which attendees can access and use without much trouble. You can rent out or reserve nearby parking lots for your attendees and either include the cost of the ticket prices or have attendees pay when they park.
If there is no parking available, you are not completely out of luck as you have alternative options. You can make use of online taxi services like Uber or Ola to provide credit to new users and to ferry them to venues. You can avail their service by setting up a discount code and sharing it with the attendees; this eases the transport arrangement and it also encourages people to use carpool.
You could offer valet parking for the event, even if the venue does not provide it. If you want to make the wedding reception upscale, providing a valet helps.
There are mobile applications that can coordinate events and members involved by linking them with one another through a group chat or an event bulletin board. Whova is such an easy to use event app that can help coordinate.
The layout of the venue comes into picture during the ideation of the types of activities that you plan to include and the amenities that are required for it. When you have a shortlisted the venues; check the floor plan of each venue to narrow down your options. Get an illustrated floor plan of each venue, and walk through the features at least once, making note of important things such as the rows, aisle, the platform and also the outlets and the placements of AV equipment.
The layout and floor plan plays a vital role in glitch-free execution of the event and will greatly affect different aspects of your event:
Fix what kind of traffic flow you want in the venue and see if the design and layout of the aisle and other walking spaces are in-sync with it. Know the areas that will be high traffic at the event. Keep this in mind when choosing your venue, make sure that high traffic areas like the buffet or dance floor is equipped to handle any kind of traffic. If you have plans like dance, DJ or speech by friends and relatives; you will either need a stage or a spot that can be altered for such an event.
Accessibility refers to the possibility that everyone, especially those with special needs, can access the building and its amenities. Check the guests’ list, consider old guests and people who are unwell while fixing the venue. Find out the area to which the majority of the guests belong and the venue near it so that it is easily accessible to most of the guests. Also, you can arrange accommodation for guests coming from a distance at nearby guest’s homes; that way you don’t have to pay extra on arranging accommodation. If your guest list includes children or babies, make sure restrooms at the venue are furnished with diaper changing stations. If you will have elderly folks as your attendees, consider finding a venue that is ADA (adenosine deaminase) compliant or has minimal stairs.
According to some online surveys, many venues will not even do business with you if you do not furnish valid insurance. There are several venues that require a certain amount of liability as well as the demand to make them additionally insured for the event.
Have you ever attended an event which was so loud, it was hard to hear others, causing you to strain your hearing and lose your voice? That is caused by poor acoustics and substandard types of equipment. Acoustics simply means how sound travels through the venue and how it is heard. A low ceiling will make the venue seem cosy but it have bad acoustics properties making the venue sound louder and look packed. On the other hand, if the venue is very big, with a lot of distance between walls, will result in echoes or reverberation of sound.
Acoustics are not considered as a deciding factor, although if you are not satisfied with a venue’s acoustics there are a lot of ways you can improve it. You can upgrade them by making good use of gadgets like subwoofers or amplifiers and the walls can be plastered to reduce echo. Before making a decision visit your venue and check your sound system and check how it sounds by having some music tracks played. That way you can check if the sound system is satisfactory and if not, the ways to improve it.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when choosing your venue for a wedding reception. However, if you consider the above when doing your research and follow it meticulously, you will find the perfect venue for your event.
Before you make any venue decisions, the first thing you need to do is make a draft budget. Don’t sign a contract with a venue, regardless of the price, only to realize down the line that you have no money left for something you earlier planned.
Prepare a spreadsheet where you can track all of your research on wedding venue ideas so that you can organize it and then review it without much trouble. All these will help you narrow down your options further and make the right decision.
The most exasperating part of finding a venue is the initial research. You cannot make decisions by just browsing the venue websites; the original might not have the slightest resemblance to the one quoted in the site. The sites offer a variety of information in various places, and sometimes they don’t offer any information at all, which is even more fun.
Try not to get your spirits dampened by this. If the venue’s site is not providing relevant information; make use of the spreadsheet to track the information you still need and reach out to the venue authorities via email. Often venues are stingy with info online, but if approached, they have a marketing packet ready to share that has a lot of the initial information you are looking for.
Also See: 5 Things Consider Renting Wedding