In this post, I wanted to educate current & future bride's on a few things that you absolutely should keep in mind when considering your wedding venue. I would say personally, I typically consider the "pretty" prior to the logistics. I just can't help it!! If you're anything like me, and even if you're the opposite, I hope that this venue booking advice helps you with your wedding venue selection process.
1. Determine how you feel about the weather.
This is a big one. If you know straight out of the gate, that rain or any other inclement weather is your #1 worst fear for your wedding day, eliminate that stress from the picture completely. If I were you, I would only consider indoor venues, or venues that have both indoor or outdoor options that you are comfortable with in case of inclement weather. Tented receptions also provide a roof over your head in the case of weather, however they may still feel the impact of a hard rain or harsh wind.
2. Consider the venue's parking arrangements & if you will need to provide your guests with transportation.
Maybe your venue is a luxury hotel in the middle of a busy city, or maybe it's a bit more remote on a few beautiful acres of land, or perhaps on a sandy beach-front property. Regardless, the number of parking spaces and whether or not parking is even permitted is very important to consider. If there are a limited number of parking spots, chances are these will need to be used for your vendor team on wedding day, and that you will likely need to provide your guests with some type of transportation. This would also entail deciding on pick-up/drop-off locations, and ensuring that guests have all of that detailed information readily available either on your website or on a "details" card enclosed with your invitation. Transportation doesn't come cheap, so it is important to consider the associated investment when evaluating the overall "venue" price.
As an extra tip, transportation is important to lock in sooner rather than later! No one needs the stress of booking your perfect venue to realize there's no local transportation services available on your wedding day.
3. Think strategically about where your venue is physically located.
I know this one seems like common sense, but there's a lot to unpack here. Where is the venue physically located? Is it miles away from the nearest town or within the heart of one? This is so important when it comes to nearly all of your vendors. If it's not easy to get to, chances are there will be upcharges on your vendor's pricing to factor in gas mileage/transportation of their product or service. Getting married in Key West sounds like a dream, but don't forget that most of your vendors you sign with will likely be based out of Miami or greater South FL - this probably means added costs in hotel rooms and gas mileage!
4. Consider when you are allowed into your ceremony/reception venue on your wedding day.
Venues with luxury bridal suites are everyone's favorite - but how early are you allowed on-site on the wedding day? If you envision getting ready at your venue's bridal suite, surrounded by your best friends, champagne, & some upbeat throwback jams you want to make sure you have the venue for the full day. Some venue's only allow access beginning at 1 or 2 pm, which would entail your hair and makeup artists to help you get ready off-site. If you are having bridesmaids, you will need to consider where you will all be sleeping that night before, as well as getting ready that morning if you aren't getting ready at the venue. Some brides have their eyes set on some fun getting ready photos inside the venue's bridal suite, and if that sounds like you I would ensure that that either gets baked into your wedding day timeline if you don't have access to the venue all day, or that you choose a venue that allows you to be there all morning.
5. Do your research on nearby accommodations.
Regardless of whether or not you're saying "I do" in your hometown or in a european chateau, you will need to make arrangements for out-of-town guest accommodations. I would advise you to do some light research on the area surrounding the venue to ensure there is a nearby hotel that meets your standards and that will allow for either a room block or a group rate. This is especially important for all destination weddings. This also directly impacts YOU as the bride, as this might be where you and your groom stay on your wedding night!
So, before you fall entirely in-love with the look of a venue, I advise you to take into consideration the above advice. This isn't meant to deter ANYONE from their dream wedding venue, but rather to educate you so that you can make the wisest, most-informed decision for the location of your fairytale night.