(Closed) Choosing a wedding venue – Just getting started

posted 6 years ago in Venue
Post # 2
Member
30400 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

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blushingbluegrassbride:  

1. Establish budget

2. Decide on rock bottom “must be there” guestlist.

3. Find venue that can accomodate that number of guests (or more) on our budget.

Post # 3
Member
1603 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

The first step is definitely establishing a budget.  Establish a rough estimate of guest you need to accomodate.  Decide whether or not its important to you to be able to use your own caterer, as lots of venues don’t allow this, and this will quickly narrow your search.  Decide if you want to have your ceremony & reception in the same location, as this will narrow your search too.  Then decide if you want a venue that offers outdoor space for either the ceremony, the reception or both.  Then just go from there.  

I found that when I actually started looking at places within the parameters of my budget, guest list, and musthaves, it was easy to narrow it down.  I knew I wanted an outdoor ceremony, with an indoor reception at the same location, that could accomodate up to 100 people, but would have an intimate feel. I also looked at every location with my budget in mind.  From there I looked at a museum with a lovely out door terrace, A restaurant with a lovely deck that offered a view of the water & a waterfront reception room, a very large restored cargo ship turned 5 star restaurant, & a ballroom with a rooftop ceremony area that offered city views.  Ultimately, I went with a restored dairy barn that had been turned into a restaurant/banquet hall.  They had a lovely garden for our ceremony and it was perfect.  I looked at a variety of places, but when I found the last one I knew it was perfect.  I wanted a very romantic, initmate feel, and when I walked in to see the venue I just felt that it was right.

Post # 4
Member
1392 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

A little bit from column A, a little bit from column B.

Completely agree with 

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julies1949: — rough budget and rough guest list first. You don’t want to visit somewhere and fall in love with a place that will end up being too small or way over budget in the end.

I compiled a spreadsheet of venues in the areas we were considering. I then googled “venue name wedding” to get an idea of pics of actual weddings at those venues. Lots of photog blogs are helpful for this, too. But it’s sometimes better than the venue website so you can see the space “in action.” It was easy to cross many off my list quickly this way. Those that we liked we did more research on, seeing what info we could find online or contacting them to get details if the fees weren’t readily available or to check on general availability. This ruled some out further, whether not available, over budget, or flaky coordinators who did not reply! From there we had a handful that we liked enough to go see in person, and when we saw the one we loved we knew. Double crunched the numbers and slept on it to be sure, and now couldn’t be happier with our choice!

Post # 5
Member
201 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

Your wedding wish list sounds super similar to mine, I’m also a June 2017 Saturday evening bride.

As others said, budget was the first thing to decide on.  Figure out what each family is willing to contribute (if any) and then add it what you can afford.  Once I established this number I didn’t micromanage the rest of the budget straight away.

For me, the most important thing is the venue – I think it sets the vibe and can make or break the whole wedding.  I’m willing to cheap out/DIY in other areas to get married at an awesome venue.  This can vary by person, but it sounds like that would be important to you too.

Once that was established I contacted ALL the venues in the area I was looking (Charleston, SC) that met a few basic requirements.  For me those were:  Outdoor ceremony space, solid ceremony rain plan, indoor reception space, either southern or vintage charm.  Once I got a few quotes back I realized venues in my area started around $3500 and went up to like $10000 (excluding f&b minimums.  Based on my budget, I decided that $5000 would be ideal but I had wiggle room.

Once I had the numbers figured out I scheduled 8 site visits to the top contenders that were relatively in budget.  Once you see things in person, it’s a pretty obvious yes or no.  That instantly got us down to two options!

Post # 7
Member
1392 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

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blushingbluegrassbride:  It depends on your definition of affordable. Let’s assume you want a 3 hour window in front for your vendors, you have an hour for ceremony transitioning into cocktail hour. Let’s estimate a five hour reception, though most of my friends say they felt like that was too short and rushed so I’d consider paying for an extra hour maybe. So you’re looking at $1800 to start, then add rentals on top. Chairs can easily be $3/pp plus delivery and set up fees — and don’t forget to double however many chairs you need so you have them set up for the reception and ceremony both. Add tables, etc. I feel like this could add up very quickly, but you’ll have a better idea to compare against once you get more quotes. Pretty spot!

I think most of my vendor non-responses have come from others such as photographers who clearly are doing it as a side business and for whatever reason thinks that excuses them from professionalism. But some coordinators were much better communicators than other. One guy got the rental fees wrong in his email to me compared to the PDF he attached. Seriously, that’s the reason I emailed you, so maybe double check that’s accurate?

Post # 9
Member
261 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017 - The Olmsted

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blushingbluegrassbride:  hey there!  I’m a fellow Kentucky gal! We are getting married june, 24 2017. Did you find a venue yet? 

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