On The Hunt For Your Ideal Wedding Venue? Here's a few things you should know . . .
You're engaged! One of the very first things you're going to do is decide whether or not you need a venue to hold a formal reception for a traditional wedding celebration. If you do, be aware that every venue is widely different in their approach to holding weddings. This list won't cover everything you might require, but the most important things to know are what you should ask about when you meet with a banquet manager.
- Your potential Guest List. Find out the capacity limit of the venue and try to know roughly what numbers your attending crowd will have. Don't try to cram in more than the limit allows. Alternatively, you shouldn't rent a higher priced, oversized space while you have a quarter of it's capacity showing up. Several out of town guests will want to spend the majority of their time talking and catching up. Allocating time between your ceremony and dinner will allow them to chat without any loud music. Hence, are there separate eating, drinking and gaming (outdoor) areas? A significant elderly attendance as well as children also bring their own considerations. For instance, will the venue be too far away for some (will they get lost), and will you have a plan in place for those driving home late at night (and after drinking) once your reception ends?
- Are you getting married in a church or on-site at the venue? If not a church, most wedding venues will have a separate area for ceremony's to take place. You'll need to know seating capacity (especially if it's indoors) and if there are any p.a. systems in place. With some p.a. systems, you need to pay extra to use them, and some will even have a code that is required before they can be used. This over-the-top security issue is something most couples forego in favour of their own audio system or their own DJ (and audio system) whom they trust. With any existing p.a. system, as it applies to you, it will be untested, so it may or may not work the way you want it too. (You won't know how it's been treated by anyone before you or if you will even like the sound that comes through it.) In any case, be sure you know exactly what this will cost you and what you can expect altogether for your ceremony. If there is no p.a. system in place at all, you may need to ask about an on-site electrical outlet for any electronics required during the ceremony. As well, you will need to ask about the setup and rehearsal the evening before (is there another party in your space the night before?) Overall, you can discuss what they provide on-site (such as separate area's for bridesmaids and groomsmen to get ready), and whether or not everything you've envisioned will happen the way you want it too.
- Are you looking for Spectacular Views around the property, or is a fancy ballroom at a centrally located hotel (for your guests to stay overnight) more appropriate? Do you want your primary wedding photos at the venue or somewhere else? Lighting inside the venue can also be a consideration depending on the age of the room. Do you want natural light pouring in through several windows for an earlier daytime / evening reception, or is the warm light from chandeliers in a ballroom more suited to your style? Hint: ask to take a tour of the property during the time the majority of your guests will be in attendance. Then envision them dancing and moving around. Will they have enough light to do so - or even enough elbow room? The space in a room fills up very quickly when all is finally set up. Be sure to imagine all of the tables / chairs, your vendors and their tables, and your guests inside all at once!
- Is the venue All-Inclusive? (ie: how much does the venue actually provide?) What is the cost for their facility and what factors are involved? Is the cost a part of their dinner packages? Do they have an earlier shut down time due to municipality regulations or the neighbors around them? There are far too many variables to list here, so ask lots of questions.
- Other considerations . . do they have all of the Decor you'll need (ie: wedding colors?), full catering including a coffee/tea/snack table available after dinner, liquor/license and bartenders, and of course, will they set it all up and take it all down after? Depending on the venue, the question about clean-up is important. If you're not clear about who is responsible for this at the end of your evening, you could be caught doing it yourselves! Will they require you to have insurance for your event, or does their insurance cover you and everything else? How much is the deposit up-front? What are their terms for unforeseen cancellation and what will it cost you? Make yourself a list, and be sure every question you have has been clearly answered before you sign a contract. And - READ their contract carefully. There are often stipulations within their Terms and Conditions you might not expect, and it could be very costly to you if any of them are broken.
All inclusive venues are definitely going to cost you alot more, but they are also doing all of the work to prepare for your big celebration. In addition, seeking the services of a qualified wedding planner will also help lessen the stress considerably for you and your wedding party. If the venue doesn't provide them, a planner can usually provide the linens, decor, table settings, and more for the look or theme you desire on your big day. At Medallion Sound, we have several suggestions for excellent wedding planners here in Winnipeg and can help you out with some direction, if needed. (The one thing we still provide that most decorators today won't, is our fabulous venue up-lighting.)
If you have no preference at all about who serves you on your day in every capacity, then an all-inclusive venue may be the way to go. But, if you prefer a certain caterer, musicians or DJ, photographer, etc, then you will want to go with a venue that allows other professional vendors to come in and work their magic. This also gives you the ability to set your expectations and cost separately for each vendor - and will most often be the better deal for you overall. The peace of mind knowing you will be able to tailor your day from each and every vendor you hire, is more than worth the time for the research you'll do.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what your budget will allow . . . and you will need to set a budget. Other factors like plenty of parking, event privacy (is there another event happening in a hall next to yours?), enough bathrooms and overnight accomodations will all be issues you'll need to address in your venue hunt and wedding planning. When you become a client with us, you get the benefit of a wedding planning package that covers up to 1 year in advance, what you can expect from us during this time . . . and of course, lots of excellent advice on vendors and everything else! We also have a budget plan and tracker software that enables you to effortlessly keep track of your outgoing expenses. So before you're steered in the wrong direction by someone who doesn't have your best wedding day interests at heart . . .