Week 1: Not too big, not too small… but just right.

We are going 3 bears style but I am not talking about porridge… I am talking about the venue, of course! This wedding season is winding down {sadly} and I have been thinking a lot about some common mishaps that happen during the wedding process and on the big day. I have been doing weddings for the last 3 years and I have learned so much and I want to share that with all of you 🙂

So, for the next 10 weeks I am going to talk about

“10 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Wedding!”

The first issue I want to address is what size venue to book for your wedding & reception. I think a lot of couples jump on booking a venue quickly out of fear & cost. What I mean by this is, couples get so wrapped up in booking the venue as fast as they can for fear that they will not have any other options. They often book the venue before they even have an accurate headcount for the amount of guests that will attend. The second reason couples jump to fast in booking venues is that they hear a price that sounds too good to pass up… without doing their shopping around. Here is the low down- Yes, venues to book up because there is a limited amount of golden Saturday evenings per year {52 to be exact} but most venues do not book an entire year out and you have some wiggle room. If your heart has been set on the same venue since you were 8 and dressing up in your mother’s wedding gown then you may skip to the end of this post but if you have an idea in your mind that is flexible then continue on 🙂

Treehouse Wedding

Amanda Lloyd | Washington Wedding Photographer

Your best weapon in shopping for a venue is a Wedding Planner! {I had to plug that, #sorrynotsorry} But for those of you that prefer to fly solo then you should start your research by looking at lots of options, I am talking 25-30 options. Check out Wedding Wire, Google venues in your area, search Pinterest with Specific keywords {like your city and the style of wedding you want // Seattle Treehouse Wedding} and lastly look at websites for photographers in your area. When you go on their site search for weddings and try to narrow it down with keywords. Wedding Photographers are the next best thing to Wedding Planners because they shoot on location, duh. It is a 2 for 1! You get wedding inspiration while also figuring out the lesser known venues, which also means they may charge less!

When you get a nice little list of venue options then you can start to narrow it down. Put your favorite 6-8 venues at the top of your list and start cold calling. I prefer calling to e-mailing because I like to talk to the person, get a feel for personality and professionalism, and the response is immediate. Ask if they can e-mail you price lists and sample contracts {if not already on the site} and most importantly ASK if your wedding date is available.

When you have reviewed the contracts {read every detail, these things can be sneaky} then get an idea of what the price will be and how many people it can accommodate.

Okay, this part is crucial… How many people can your venue accommodate? I know, you may be thinking, “I have a tentative guest list of 125, but wow, I can have up to 300 guests for {insert crazy cheap price here} that is cheaper than the smaller venue!! More for my money, baby!!” This is not good. It sounds good… but it is not good. Your venue must be compatible with your guest list. A venue that seats 300 but will host a wedding for 150 is going to feel empty. There is no amount of pretty decor that will fill that void.

On the flip side is the “perfect” venue that seats 100 but you want to put in 150 because it is just to perfect to let go. I can promise you that your guests do not want to sit 10 people to a 60 in table. They won’t be able to lift their arms to eat their food and everyone will have to synchronize getting up and down from the table. No venue is worth your guests doing the potty dance because they don’t want to have to squeeze between tables and chairs to get to the restroom. {What is even worse is when this happens and the wedding is buffet style, it is awful. Trust me, I have seen it} The second the venue says, “We can get 150 in here but it is going to be a little tight,” you need to check it off the list.

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Lousiville Wedding Blog

Because I feel like writing more… here are some more tips when you go to look at your venue:

– Pick a venue that is not too big and not too small.

– Take into account your guest list and if you will be allowing a +1 for your event.

– Consider if you are allowing children to attend, if so, make sure they have enough room around their table to not bother the next table and so they can wiggle around.

–  If your venue is outdoors in the Fall/Winter you need to make sure that the venue has enough tents on stand-by to accommodate all of your guests. If you plan an outdoor wedding for 200.. then it rains and you can only get a tent for 100. Well, lets just say that is not a desirable situation. If the venue can not accommodate enough back-up tents for your wedding then move it down the list.

– Research, research, research… and never settle on the first thing you see. {Wedding Planner Tip} if you can’t walk away from a venue then you have no solid ground to negotiate the price. Wedding Planners rarely pay the price listed on the contract {another reason to hire us} but you also have some ability to negotiate, it may not be in price, but it could be in additional services, like the venue not charging for rentals. So, if you can not walk away from the venue, they will know it… and you may get everything as is, no negotiating.

– Always go view the venues with other venue’s information on hand. Know your research. NEVER be rude, pushy, or a know-it-all… but do approach the venue knowing what other places in your area are offering and bring that up politely in conversation. Specifically ask for what you want. Hinting will not get you answers.

– Lastly, know what you are signing before you sign it because once you do it is costly to go back. Is there a clause that says if you go over your number of guests that they will charge a fee? Do they state that you can only purchase flowers, food, rentals, etc. through their venue? Do they even allow flowers? What do they say about music? Does it need to stop 1 hour before clean-up? Do you want your party to end an hour earlier then you were thinking? If not, then you need to talk to the venue about that. All of these things will dictate how you go about finding your other vendors. {If you have a wedding planner, they take care of all of this stuff for you}

Okay, that is all for now. Please leave comments and questions and I will be happy to answer them!

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About sayyesevents

I am a lover of all things pretty, a strong drink, a long talk, a stack of magazines, a hard crossword, an early morning walk, a big challenge, and a cozy snuggling with my daughter.
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