Selecting the Perfect Wedding Venue

Selecting the Perfect Wedding Venue

Weddings at The Willard Intercontinental Washington DC

Looking for the perfect venue is synonymous to finding the perfect home. You should feel connected to the space, and it should reflect your unique sense of style and personality.  And just like a home, as soon as you step one foot into the space, you should instinctively know that this is the perfect place to welcome family and friends to witness and celebrate the love you share with each other. Allow me to share with you some wedding planning tips to help you select the perfect wedding venue.

FLEXIBILITY & CONSIDERATIONS:

When searching for the ideal venue, be flexible with your dates. Popular venues are booked 12 to 18 months in advance (with Saturday dates being the first to be contracted.)  If you are unable to reserve a Saturday date, consider a Friday, Sunday, or weekday.  Other flexible options:

  • Consider the time of day; possibly host an early morning wedding versus the traditional evening wedding. 
  • Ask your venue about non-peak seasons which varies by each location; this provides the opportunity of open dates and sometimes a better value.

In addition to the venue’s aesthetics and character, consider its location and the feeling it imbues. Will your wedding be in the center of a bustling metropolitan city, quaint suburb, or charming rural area – such as a farm, winery, or mountainside? The investment and experiences surrounding each of these locations vary and depend upon your expectations of your special day.

In a Couple’s search for the ideal venue for their wedding, here are a few tips to consider:

  • Does your venue have the capacity to host your ceremony & reception?
  • Regarding capacity, does the room size they are recommending provide adequate spacing?
  • Is your venue location equipped to provide all your needs: e.g., catering, linens, chairs, etc.? Will you have a separate vendor for these essentials? Note:  If you select a venue that requires you to find your own catering services, get a list of recommended caterers and the guidelines for caterers to work on their premises.
  • For an outdoor ceremony, does the venue offer an inclement weather alternative?
  • What are the rules and regulations of the venue?
  • Will they require you and your vendors to have liability insurance?
  • Are there fees for using vendors that are not on their preferred list, etc.
  • How many weddings do they host in a day?
  • Will your space be used by another Client before or after your wedding?
  • What are the hours the venue space is available to you? Setup time? Hours for your actual wedding? Breakdown time?
  • Is there a noise ordinance if hosting outdoors?

Luxurious Wedding Chuppah for Jewish Weddings

WHAT RED FLAGS SHOULD COUPLES LOOK FOR IN VENUES? 

You want the search for a wedding venue to seem effortless, however, you may incur a few detours along the way that will make you proceed with caution or pivot in another direction.  In my years of planning, I have discovered that not every venue brings value or creates an experience that my couples deserve for their wedding. So, as you are touring and gaining insight, please proceed with caution with venues that inhibit these offerings:

  • Limits access hours for your vendors to prepare and setup prior to the wedding; a venue offering less than 2-hours of setup time creates challenges on wedding day.
  • Hosts multiple events in a day, especially an event right before your wedding; again, this does not provide adequate setup time for your special day.
  • Venues that offer cookie-cutter services will not provide you with a unique experience that you are seeking. These types of venues lack initiative to think outside of the box and will see you just as every client that has graced their premises.
THE WALK-THROUGH

As you approach your wedding day, it is highly recommended to involve your wedding vendors collectively to tour your wedding location so each can collaborate in unison on the logistics, staging, and décor.  It is a team effort to create this once in a lifetime romance for you that has a multitude of moving parts.  Vendors such as your Planner, Floral Designer, Lighting, and Prop Designer are highly recommended to meet and discuss their role for this major league team you have created.  Another I highly recommend is your Photographer to visit the venue to determine light effects, to pin-point distinctive locations for portraits, and to determine if their portrait logistics will work with the overall event timeline.

I hope these tips help you to find the venue that is right for you to say “I Do!”   

(Photo Credit:  Procopio Photography.  Real Weddings by Perfect Planning Events.  Location, The Willard Intercontinental Washington DC)