I imagine you’re scouring the internet for resources on wedding planning because you’ve either just accepted your new fiancé’s proposal or you’re anticipating the big question.
Choosing the perfect wedding venue can be challenging with the amount of options and a wide array styles that are available to choose from, but I hope that this will serve as an informational source to help you narrow down your search and if that search finds you here at Avalon, we’d love to celebrate your big day with you.
First and foremost the biggest question you’ll need to answer is this: Will your ceremony and reception be held at the same location?
If you’re on the fence and your religious accommodations allow you to profess your vows to each other outside of your church/establishment, then I’d suggest having both at the same location. Logistically it’s much easier on you and your guests and cuts down on timeline snafus plus it takes full advantage of any hourly vendors you’ve hired to cover your day.
What style are you wanting? Farmhouse & Barn weddings have surged in popularity lately and rustic chic is a style that may not go away anytime soon if you’re a Texan. Just happens to be that most of us like the feel and look of rough and worn details juxtaposed with elegant and charming ones.
PRO TIP: Once you’ve narrowed down your style, you can do a quick google image search and compile a short list of those venues that speak to your particular style. You’ll probably find a ton of photos by professional photographers and if one keeps popping up over and over, it’s probably a popular venue and may book out further in advance.
Now, you need to consider your guest list. Will it be a small gathering or will it be the size of a small town population? This will help narrow down your list even further and not every venue can hold over 400 people. Exact numbers at this point aren’t necessary, rough estimates are just fine.
Then you need to determine, the outdoor/indoor aspect of your wedding day. Will you and your guests be comfortable in the middle of June/August outdoors in 95º heat? If not, you’re going to want an indoor location. Some venues, like here at Avalon, offer both settings. Our Farmhouse is a great options to keep your guests cool during the hotter months.
PRO TIP: Any good photographer/videographer worth their salt will be able to accommodate both indoor and outdoor locations. Most venues are happy to offer you their recommendations since they work with a plethora of different professionals.
Let’s talk about timeline. No, you don’t need to have every minute accounted for right now, that’s what a good coordinator or planner can do for you. BUT, what you need to figure out is how much time you can get at the venue. Will they allow you to set up the day before? Do you need to be out at midnight? Do they offer a weekend package? Some venues can be restrictive to 8 hours and done. Some allow you to party all day as long as everything is cleaned up next day by noon. Our weekend package allows you to have the flexibility to enjoy every moment with your guests while they’re with you and clean up by noon on Sunday.
NOW IT’S TIME FOR TOURS
By answering most of the questions above, it should have helped you to narrow down your search to less than 10 venues. Now it’s time to tour them. Find out if they offer virtual tours to help cut down your time traveling between venues. Much like virtual real estate tours, some venues offer this service as a convenience for prospective clients. This helps to save their time as well as yours, plus in the days of social distance and contactless services, it’s become an even more important benefit. You’ll get an idea of how much you do or don’t like the feel of any venue through a virtual tour and should be able to narrow your search by another half.
Schedule a physical tour with the remaining venues on your list and come up with some questions for each one that you may have and send it to them before your tour so they can address them when you get there. (i.e. vendor restrictions, etc.)
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
When you arrive for your in person tour, make note of the physical spaces you’ll be getting ready and see if it will accommodate the size of your wedding party AND see if it has large windows for lighting or if it’s indoor overhead lighting, etc.
PRO TIP: LARGE/MANY WINDOWS = PRETTY PICTURES.
Not just for your photographer, but for you and your wedding party too. Your wedding day cell phone snaps won’t look as pretty with the flash on the phone or the raccoon eyes from overhead lighting.
Next take a look at your ceremony space and decide if it’s right for your vision. What are the rain contingencies if it’s outdoors?
After getting a sense for the ceremony area, take a look at the reception area and decide if it fits your vision there as well. Ask about placement of the cake, gifts, dance floor, DJ, and ask general venue related questions: If something happens during the day of my wedding, who would be here to help me?
This tells you whether who really is in charge and how hands on they’ll be for your wedding. This isn’t meant to be a “gotcha” question where there are visions of pipes bursting, etc. Sometimes couples get locked out of their dressing areas, windows my have a hard time opening and closing, the AC may be difficult to adjust…
Of course this is not an exhaustive list, but merely a quick overview to help you shorten your search and make it easier.
PS: For every venue you contact, ask them what their insurance coverage is and what their policies on things like emergencies, theft, loss, reschedules, etc. There are no hard and fast rules on the way venues should operate, but merely generalizations. This is especially an important consideration with regard to our current pandemic climate which is all new territory for most vendors.