There are just SO many options when it comes to choosing the perfect wedding venue. Just like any of your wedding vendors, your venue also has to be the perfect fit for you as a couple.
If you have somewhat of a vision for your future wedding, you’ll have an idea of which types of venues you’ll be open to seeing. Ask yourself “What is my theme?” “Does the venue aligned with theme?”
Very often, I get inquiries from couples who haven’t pinned down a venue yet and are still on the hunt for the right location. They’re already feeling slightly overwhelmed and most often than not they had hardly realized the abundance of options they had, more than they thought. Now, that doesn’t get more scary, it just allows for more places to narrow down your search, making sure you’ve seen what’s out there. You did your research. For example, who knew you could get hitched in this cute coffee shop on the west end! (Google Propeller Coffee Co.)
Here’s a verbal roll of some venue options off hand;
Hotels, Wineries, Estates, Castles, Museums, Industrial Spaces, Warehouses, Restaurants, Banquet Halls, Cottage, Backyard, venues smack in the middle of Downtown Toronto, venues in Hamilton, Cambridge, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Kitchener, Muskoka and tons more.
So what are the things you need to consider when shopping around?
How many people? – How many guests are you expecting? This is one of the make or break things and cuts the list of options down greatly. Venues can only hold a maximum capacity and if you are looking for more space, that venue is not the one for you. On the other hand, you don’t want to use a space that’d for 150 guests for only 50 guests. You want it to be just right, just cozy and intimate enough for everyone to hear everything and dancing their hearts outs. Determining a number will also help in forming your budget. Many parts of a wedding are a variable cost – meaning the cost will change dependant on number of people. Biggest example of this would be dinner, each guest will need their own meal portion.
Location – Do you have any out of town guests coming in? If so, you’ll have to take in where they will be staying and if there are accommodations in close proximity to the venue. Your guests will be appreciative you had kept their needs in mind and you’ve already enhanced their experience by taking the initiative to inform them of the subject. Parking should also be taken into consideration.
Location can also mean ANYWHERE in the world. It could be the perfect time to invite your closest family and friends to a destination they’ve never experienced. All in all it will depend on your family dynamics and how scattered your guests are.
I once had a client who told me they wanted to plan a destination wedding far from where their family lived so there was less chance they’d come! It was the first time I had heard that but they said, when you have such an abundance of family of which you don’t know personally, you’d rather they just not show up.
Indoors or Outdoors? – For peace of mind, some couples will opt for an all indoors wedding ceremony and reception. Less stress and anxiety when worrying about thunderclouds rolling in and rainstorms. If you are choosing an outdoor space, is there an indoor backup space at the venue readily available and is it aesthetically pleasing and lines with your vision?
Limitations – If there are certain aspects you want to include on your wedding day, you’ll need to know of these beforehand. The more you have an idea, the better prepared you are. For example, not every venue can accommodate a fireworks show at the end of the night. Ask your venue what is and what isn’t permitted. Sparkler send offs are hugely popular right now. Confetti makes for a fun candid photo but if your venue doesn’t allow it, there’s not much you can agree. Even details like throwing rice for traditional ceremonies may have limitations.
Food – Food is such an important part of your wedding and it’s one that your guests remember and you want them to remember it because it was delicious not because it was overcooked and dry. Most venues have their preferred caterers. If you are looking to bring in and serve a different cuisine (Eg. 10 course Chinese cuisine or Pakistani Buffet) you’ll have to make sure your venue can accommodate this and if there are any additional fees for bringing in a caterer.
Know What You Are and Aren’t Paying For – Have a really clear idea of what your money is going to. Things that most people don’t think about are in-house tables, chairs, cutlery, linens and napkins. These items are standard, yes, but can vary from venue to venue. To some couples, decor and the grand look of their wedding reception room is high on their list. If you are trying to achieve a design you’ve seen on Pinterest, you’ll likely need to rent tables, chairs, charger plates, linens and napkins from an external supplier. Keep it in mind as it’ll effect your budget in a big way. Read over your contract and get it proofed by your wedding planner! We’ve looked over many contracts and know exactly what we’re looking for so just ask.
Scouting for your wedding venue is the first and biggest step of your wedding planning process. After all the venue and catering usually covers 40-50% of your total budget. Once you’ve locked down your venue, you’ve locked down your date! This is one of the most exciting steps. Now you can tell EVERYONE your wedding date and it’s going to feel amazing!! Good luck!