10 Things To Consider When Selecting Your Dream Wedding Venue

One of the very first things a bride-to-be should reserve is the venue. It's advisable to do this with an idea of the approximate number of guests you’ll be having.

Mine was fraught with frustration, then pure luck. I had my heart set on an impressive neo-Renaissance chateau on a hill overlooking the old Town of Prague. The only catch was, someone else beat us to it - a year and half to the wedding! We changed our wedding date to the day the chateau had an open slot and went through a period of reconciliation with this decision. Our original wedding date was special - it was the date my husband and I met. A month later, the chateau manager called to give us wonderful news - the other couple had canceled their reservation and we could reserve our date!

Points to consider when selecting a wedding venue

1. Make a reservation early enough

It’s NEVER too early to book a venue. You can always cancel and might pay a penalty (in some cases) but this beats having someone take it from under your nose just because you dragged your feet.  Going for plan B is an option of course, but it’s something that’ll cost you a sleepless night or two. 

2. Does the venue offer a food and drinks package

If they do, and the price is right, it's the best option. Outside catering comes with a whole lot more people to deal with and might, on the face of it seem cheap but might in the long run cost more. Weigh both options and lookout for hidden charges such as fuel, waitresses etc., which are not usually included in the prices quoted. Our venue offered a wide variety of wedding menus from which to choose.  Outside catering was an option. We selected a menu that was the best fit.

3. Do they serve the food or do you bring people from out

Providing food won’t necessarily translate to serving it. It’s best that whoever provides the food serves it. Aim to have it provided as part of the food package.

4. Is furniture provided

You’d probably want the venue to provide furniture for the same reason you’d want them to provide catering – less people to deal with. Remember that saying about too many cooks…? My venue provided round tables with white tablecloths and blue cushioned chairs. The chairs didn’t match our theme, and I fixed that.

5. Flexibility of venue management

How easy are they to work with and how receptive of your ideas are they? Every little helps and it helps a great deal to work with a dynamic, flexible team. Everyone (manager, caterers) stayed past midnight (we had to pay for this, but at least it was an option). I was able to leave all my things behind and collected them the next day.  You don’t want to have to pack up and leave when the party still roaring.

6. Who is your point of contact

Meet with the person who’ll be the point of contact at the venue. If there's no one in particular appointed, ask for one. What’s their personality like? The demeanor of the person in charge can influence the mood of everybody working under him or her, including catering stuff.  It’s not strange asking the venue management to assign someone else if you don't like the one assigned to you. My guests had only great things to say about the venue stuff.  Not a single wine glass sat empty for long and they smiled!

7. Accessibility of the venue

Unless you are providing transportation for your guests, the wedding venue should be easy to access by public transport and by car. Angry, exasperated guests shouldn’t be part of your plan. 

8. Does the Venue offer free parking

If for one reason or other  getting to the venue is possible by ONLY CAR,  does the venue provide free parking? Our venue of choice was in an area with residents-only parking but was easy to get to by public transport. I informed my guests about this in advance.

9. Have a look in

Find a day when a wedding is being hosted at the venue and have a look. Sometimes, venue management can arrange this for you. 

10. How are the lavatory facilities?

Not many people think about this but poor lavatory services can be a deal breaker. Take a look. 

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