After creating a wedding budget, your first big decision is choosing your wedding venue. Choosing your wedding venue is a big decision as it impacts your entire wedding – number of guests, theme, menu, and more. Review these factors before signing that contact:
You need to consider your guests and how they will arrive. If most of your guests are coming from out of town, transportation needs to be readily available. Your venue also needs to be somewhat close to a choice of hotels. And most importantly, that venue should be easy to travel to the hotel from the reception without having to leave bread crumbs. A good option here is to consider a venue that also has cottages and rooms available. Hotels and destination locations like Pere Marquette, Hermann Hill, and Cedar Creek Center etc. are all good choices.
If you are choosing a location where the wedding is held outdoors is there an “indoor” Plan B option in case of bad weather? What does it cost to move to this alternative Plan B.
Weddings where everyone is crammed into too small a room is the last thing you want. Be sure to create a tentative guest list to estimate how many people you anticipate. Most times you can expect about 80% of those invited to attend.
Choose a venue that matches the look and feel that you desire – classic ballroom elegance, rustic and outdoorsy, or something you can add your own personal touch. A naturally beautiful place will save you money on decorations. I also recommend to find a place that provides a multitude of photo locations. Sometimes it can be in the general vicinity – like downtown, and other times it can be on the property of the venue itself like at Lake Creek Winery, Crown Valley Winery or other wineries.
This is an extremely important issue. Do they have experienced professionals on staff to assist with all the details and make sure everything runs as you expected? If they have an event coordinator, that person will assist with all details of the venue. (Note: this is not your “wedding” coordinator – that person is responsible for ALL the details of your wedding, not just the venue.)
Does this venue offer food in-house or can you hire your own catering company? Do you want the flexibility of bringing in a food truck or choosing your own catering company? Does this venue only allow you to choose from a selection of Preferred Catering Companies? If, in-house, do you have a wide choice of food options that will appeal to all your guests – and does it taste good! And finally, take a look at the price/per person. Be sure that you include gratitude and tax, which is normally added to the per person expense and that can be as high as 30-35% more.
Is a basic bar service included? What does it include? Is it a generic brand of alcohol or house wine? Can you upgrade to a premium service and what does it cost?
Watch the extra costs. Do you need to pay for a dance floor or a cake cutting charge? Do they provide water service at the tables. (Many places no longer include this.) Ask what is included and not. Ask about rehearsal times and if they are included in the quoted price. Find out if they provide extras in the price. Holiday Inn at Six Flags provides a free bride’s room and overnight accommodations, plus much more.