Tips for finding your Wedding Venue
Maddie Miller of the Bell Event Centre in Cincinnati was kind enough to take the time to make a list of tips for finding the right wedding ceremony and reception venue for you which I have incorporated with my own thoughts from my experiences with our couples. There are so many things to consider beyond just the look of the venue, menu and price. Here are some thoughts:
Is the location convenient for your guests? You will want easy access off the highway or close to where the majority of the people are coming from. Is it close to the ceremony location or do they have the option to have the ceremony and reception all in one place? Does your reception venue have a relationship with some local hotels and possibly offer a shuttle or have readily available cabs to take people home? You of course want to be sure everyone has easy access to a ride home so nobody becomes impatient and drives if they shouldn't be. Is there a charge for parking? Are you close to local nightlife for an after party for you or your guests? Most wedding receptions end around 11:00 or 12:00 which leaves another 2-3 hours for after party time.
Some wedding venues require a lot of decoration to dress them up. There is nothing wrong with this but you need to consider the cost of the lighting and decor and work it into your budget. Other venues have a style that speaks for itself with naturally beautiful architecture and decor. Look for photos of what your venue will look like for a reception and get ideas for color schemes and lighting. It's exciting for your guests to go someplace unique and unlike other venues. If that doesn't fit into your budget, look into decorating your venue to look different than people have seen it before. Feature the unique aspects of the space. Look for unique features such as stain glass, marble floor, vaulted ceilings, etc. This adds to the ambiance of your wedding reception. Be sure to consider the lighting and architecture when looking into a photographer. A less experienced wedding photographer may have a hard time manipulating the lighting in different spaces while also capturing the features of your venue. It’s also a good idea to see photos of your venue that the photographer has taken. Decide if you want an indoor or outdoor area for your ceremony, reception and cocktail hour. Keep in mind that your guests of all ages will need to be able to handle the weather outside that time of year. It may be wise to only have part of the day outside such as the cocktail hour. Be prepared to use a tent if you do plan anything outside just in case of rain.
Many venues charge extra for any number of items such as linens, chiavari chairs, table ware, glass ware, serving cake etc. Know what you want and what is included so you can plan your budget accordingly. You may prefer to bring in a specific caterer that you like. There are also many advantages to an in house chef such as the familiarity with the kitchen in the venue. They also work hand in hand with the same venue every weekend and are familiar with the staff, expectations and requirements. This should make it so you do not have to be the middle person in any discussions. This adds to the quality of service that will leave an impression on you and your guests. Top of the line service is everything on your wedding day both for you and for your guests.
This person should be more than a person you can ask questions. They should be someone who guides you through the evening. They should communicate with your wedding vendors so you don't have to and be able to handle anything that comes up. They should be familiar with the venue, know what works there and what does not. Plenty of places have a warm body as an event coordinator but few have a person who proactively makes your event a night to remember for the rest of your lives.
Your venue is a lot more than just four walls, a dance floor and a bar. When your guests walk in the door, it sets the tone for what they will expect for the rest of the evening. Set the bar high and make sure the staff is ready to over deliver on that expectation.
Best of luck in your wedding planning!!