Picking a wedding venue should be the first task you tackle after getting engaged (unless you are hiring a planner to assist). When comparing different venues, there are several items you need to consider:
Selecting a date depends both on your preferences and the venue’s availability. However, other considerations — such as if you are hoping to have a certain flower or decor item incorporated, or if you are hoping to utilize a 3 day weekend — may influence your decision, too. People book venues early, so be sure to start this process as soon as possible. However, once you have a date that aligns with both parties, all your other details can fall into place!
Vendors all have their favorite venues for a number of different reasons: accessibility to power, load-in policies, friendly staff, etc. In fact, vendors consider the venue a major component to their success! For example, photographers love venues with abundant natural light. Ceremony spaces that are in shade or a soft sunset really make a photographer’s work much easier because the canvas creates a dynamic image. DJs love venues where there is ample power located throughout the space. At PalmWood, vendors appreciate all of these elements of our venue, as well as our welcoming staff; they love working with our team!
Think of your guests’ perspective when selecting your venue, too. Convenient parking and accessibility is very important to guests. Knowing their car is parked in a safe, lit area really keeps people at ease during the reception. The cleanliness and aesthetics of a venue should play a role in your decision, too. What impression will the space give to your guests (and restrooms are a part of this, too!)? A venue with family restrooms with changing tables is a must!
Your budget will obviously help direct your venue selection. Disclosing budget restrictions with potential venues may help the coordinator tailor an experience for you. And don’t count a venue out right away without having a discussion about how to get the most for your money; perhaps the time of day, length of reception, or an alternate space can accommodate you for less money.
Consider all the items you will have to outsource if you go with a particular venue. Here at PalmWood, we do ask that the host pick out their dance floor to suit their preferences and budget. Dance floors have become very personal, as a typical dance floor often isn’t enough anymore. These auxiliary costs may already be built into your budget.
Obviously, your expected guest count matters when choosing a venue. If the guest count is large, a small and intimate reception space will not work. Conversely, if you have a small guest list, a cavernous ballroom is not the best.
Ceremony & Reception Location
Some brides want to host a ceremony and reception in the same venue. For one, it’s a great way to save money, but it also creates an easy transition for your guests. Be sure your expected guest count can be accommodated in both the ceremony and reception spaces.