Selecting a Wedding Reception Venue: Top 15 Things to Consider

historic wedding venue

Here‘s how you don‘t want to choose your reception venue, “eeny meeny miny moe”. As the hub for your wedding day and the biggest part of your budget spend, you want to make sure that your selected venue space meets all your wedding needs and expectations. And considering how many options there are out there, navigating through them efficiently is mission critical. Is it a challenge? Absolutely. Do you need to stress about it. Not with our handy checklist! Here are the top 15 things you want to consider in making your final decision as to where you’re going to be spending your big day.

The Venue Selection Checklist

1. Your Budget. Before you even step out the door on your search for the perfect spot, sit down and figure out how much you can and are willing to spend on your wedding. Don’t forget to include into the equation all the spend outside of the venue cost itself, i.e. photography, planning, entertainment, decor, etc. The average total budget usually works out to double your venue spend, and that’s just to cover the standards.

2. Your Expected Guest Count. Understanding your expected guest count upfront is important. Consider only venues that can meet your capacity requirements comfortably, while leaving room for all other logistical needs, like a designated dance floor.

3. Experience. How long has your venue been in business? How long has the current Management been in place? Given how much spend goes into your venue rental, you want to book with a space that comes with a strong reputation and experienced Management. Ask for referrals from previous couples and do your due diligence by searching for online reviews.

4. Fine Print. Before getting excited about a space carefully review their entire venue offering. Don’t be afraid to ask to see a contract to read through all the fine print. Assess what’s included with your package and what’s extra. If you’re on a tight budget look for a place that offers all your standard reception needs, like tables, chairs, linens and dinnerware. If you have a substantial budget and are looking for a customized event ensure the space will allow you to bring in all your own rentals at no additional fee.

5. Exclusive Vendors. Find out upfront if the venue has a list of exclusive vendors, especially if you’re considering a customized event. An exclusive vendor list means you are limited to selecting suppliers the venue has partnered with, with no option to bring in your own resources. If outside catering falls under restricted selection, do some research into the caterers in question.

catering

6. Permits. Are any special permits required to hold your event? If so, are you responsible for managing the process or will the venue handle it on your behalf and charge back the cost to you? Common permits include photography and alcohol serving permits.

7. Restrictions. Are there any event related restrictions you should know about? Whether it be an early end time, noise constraints or restricted candle use, make sure you are aware of all the things you can and can’t do on the day of.

8. Construction. Are there any plans for venue updates or upgrades? If so find out when they are scheduled to occur and when they will be complete. The last thing you want is for any part of the space to be under construction on the day of your wedding.

9. Neighbors. Take a look to see who or what resides around the venue. Is it something that could potentially impact your event? For example, if you’re planning an outdoor event and the venue of interest is near an airport make sure you’re familiar with the noise levels you can expect on your wedding day.

10. Style or Theme Fit. Does the overall look of the space fit the style or theme you’re planning for your wedding? Consider the color scheme throughout the space and make note of the flooring / carpet and all permanent fixtures. If these things don’t work with your target style consider moving on. It costs a lot of money to transform the look of a space.

wedding style

11. Onsite Coordinator. Is there an onsite resource who will be responsible for your event from start to finish? If so make sure you meet with this person before signing the contract, to ensure you’re comfortable with their personal offering. An onsite coordinator is someone you’ll spend a lot of time with and who’ll play an integral part in making sure your day comes together as planned.

12. Space Exclusivity. Will your event be the only one hosted within the space that day? Ideally you want complete exclusivity of a space and its resources. If multiple event accommodating venues are something you’re considering, assess what areas will have to be shared, i.e. entrances and bathrooms.

13. Outdoor Venue. Indoor Option. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding assess what the indoor backup plan is in case weather becomes a factor. If the answer is a tent, confirm who will be responsible for arranging for one and any additional rental requirements that come with it. Remember to factor in the additional cost of the backup plan into your budget.

14. The Extras. Review all the extras that a space offers that others may not. Pay special consideration to locations that can accommodate an onsite ceremony in a designated area, as well as one that has a great spot for your wedding photos. Minimizing travel from location to location on your wedding day always goes a long way in how successfully the day pans out and how stress free it is.

outdoor wedding

15. Plan Your Visit. Before going to any venue visits take the time to think through all the things that are most important to you for your wedding day as a whole and from your selected wedding venue. Write down any questions that come to mind, remembering no question is too silly.

Happy Planning!

kasia-signature

DIY Wedding Wednesday: Sweet Treats – Bottled Powdered Candy Favors

Here’s a question I never thought I’d be asking, “Wanna make fancy Fun Dip?”. Well today I’m asking because that’s essentially what this DIY Wedding Wednesday boils down to. With just a little creativity, the right mini bottle and a … Continue reading 

Product Spotlight: Votive Holders – Small Accents Packing a Big Decorative Punch

Whoever said you need to go big to make a statement was seriously mistaken, as far as wedding day decor goes that is. Sure big and bountiful is always lovely. But small need not mean simple or dull, especially not … Continue reading 

Wedding Reception Tips: 7 Must See Custom Seating Displays

There are seating plans, a must do at every wedding, and then there are inspired displays of creativity that just so happen to also guide guests to where they need to go. And it’s the latter that bring to an … Continue reading 

DIY Wedding Wednesday: Petals and Place Cards

I’m of the practical kind so a decorative accent that does double duty as a functional informative wedding accessory is top of my list. Take for instance today’s how-to feature. With the pairing of a floral accent and a coordinating … Continue reading 

Have a Seat: Place Setting 101

If I had to narrow down what makes for a jaw dropping wedding into just two words I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to say “the details”. (It’s not a coincidence that’s the name of this blog.) It’s the events … Continue reading 

Wedding Planning Tips {Plan by Color}: Something Blue

Robin’s Egg, Powder, Sky, Periwinkle and Navy. No matter what shade of blue suits your fancy, today’s installment of our Plan by Color series has a bit of inspiration to match them all. From one of our all time favorite … Continue reading 

DIY Wedding Wednesday: Pearls and Lace Aisle Marker

Raise your hand if you like pretty things. My money is on all hands up in the air. And if I’m right than today’s DIY post is sure to be a big hit. Blending some of the most classic wedding … Continue reading 

Wedding Planning Tips: Finishing Touches – Ceremony Aisle Markers

It’s the start of a fresh week and we’re kicking it off with ideas for the most important of new beginnings, your wedding day ceremony. Today we’re talking about taking your ceremony location from basic to exceptional with the addition … Continue reading 

Wedding Theme Inspiration: Burlap Chic

To say that I’ve got a thing for all things Shabby Chic would be a serious understatement. In fact I’d go as far as to say I’m full-fledged obsessed! But mine is not a one girl club. From home to … Continue reading