Selecting the venue for your wedding is one of the most important (and expensive) decisions you will make during wedding planning. Perhaps you already have the perfect place in mind. Or maybe you are on the hunt for the space that suits you both. Either way, here are some things to consider and questions to ask the before signing on the dotted line.
Is there enough space?
Even if your guest list is not finalized, gather an idea of how many people you plan to invite. Find a reception space that allows everyone enough room to spread out comfortably without too much extra space. Most venues charge a minimum fee. So, consider the 15-20% of your guest list that will not be able to make it. Here are also some tips for keeping your list small.
What is included in the package?
It is important to obtain package details in writing so you can evaluate it against other venues. Do they include catering, or will you need to bring in an outside vendor? Is there staff available to serve food and work the bar, or do you need to ask your caterer to provide this service? Are there clean restrooms nearby that your guests can access? Make a list of the important items and have it ready for your meeting. Anything you need to take care of independently should be carefully considered before you make the final decision.
Is it in a convenient location?
Consider where your overnight guest will stay before you make the call. While there may be the perfect space in the middle of the country, it may be difficult for some guests to commute. Research suitable hotels nearby and find a reception hall close to the ceremony location. Ideally, you will select a venue where both can take place on site. There is no need for your guest spending precious time driving across town!
What about alcohol?
Be sure to ask the venue if the carry the proper licensing before you decide to stock the bar. If you choose to bring in your own supply, ask if they charge a cork fee. There may be a significant cost difference between the purchase of alcohol on site versus the per bottle opening charge you find on your bill at the end of the night.
Now that you are engaged, congratulations! As you begin organizing details, take some time to find a style of wedding invitation that is right for you. Here is a guide to helping you begin the selection process as well as understanding how to properly address and insert the correct wording.
First, determine whether you plan to have a casual or formal event and keep your setting in mind. Will your wedding take place indoors or outdoors, in the evening or early afternoon? Are you planning a destination wedding, or something at your local church? Each of these factors can play a part when deciding which invitation to choose. A formal wedding invitation is better suited for an indoor wedding in the evening hours where a sit-down dinner will be served. A casual invitation is better suited for an early afternoon wedding on the beach. It is essential that the formality and style of your selection corresponds with your atmosphere.
Have you already selected the colors of your bridesmaid’s dresses and floral arrangements? If you have a shade in mind, wedding invitations are a perfect avenue for introducing your color theme.
Before you order your wedding invitations, pre-plan who will be included on your guest list. Always order additional invitations in the event you need to extend a last-minute invite. Address your envelopes to clearly reflect who you plan to include. If you are hoping for a family along with their children, address your envelopes to the “Family of….” If you only intend to invite the couple, address the invitation to “Mr. and Mrs.…” For the singleton who is engaged, be sure to include their fiancé. In this instance, or in the instance of a single person who you want to bring a guest, write “Mr. or Ms.….and Guest” While most single adults are allowed to bring a date to weddings, if you are keeping your numbers low and only want to invite him or her, be sure you only address the invitation to the name of the person you plan to include. Here are more tips on how to keep your guest list small. Here is a guide to knowing when you should allow a “plus-one.” Make sure you include response cards and envelopes with postage to keep your RSVP list in order.
This part should take most of your attention and time. It is essential to include the name of the bride and groom, the exact wedding location and time, parent’s name if they are taking part in wedding payment and planning, and any other pertinent information your guests will need to know. Avoid adding registry information or logistics. If you want to include anything additional such as these items, add them to a card or small note within the envelope. Feel free to add a poem, or something unique to make your invitation special, but remember to keep it simple with few words. Too much information in a small space can be overwhelming. Here are some invitation mistakes to avoid. If you are planning a reception following your ceremony include a note stating “Reception to follow” so all guest can plan ahead. Optional elements to include in your envelope are, reception details, directions, registry information, and anything else. Wedding website details can be added to your invitation or as an optional add-in.
Choosing your reception venue is one of the highlights of planning a wedding. As you begin your search for the perfect spot, take this list of factors and consider which location satisfies the “must-haves.” With some careful searching and deliberation, you will find the place best suited for you.
Does it fall in your budget? It is best to discover your reception venue after completing a detailed budget. Venues vary in price and will undoubtably take a large portion of your finances. If you select a venue at a high price point, be sure you leave room for food and beverages along with music and the rest. Many locations require a deposit and commitment to hold your day of choice so make sure you have estimated the cost for other vendors before you sign on the dotted line.
Is the setting right? When you walk in a space, can you picture your wedding celebration there? Do you have an automatic feeling of comfort and happiness, or do you feel uncomfortable and on edge? Pay attention to the energy of the room and see if it suits your personality.
Prior to checking out a location be sure it checks your must-have boxes. If you always dreamed of an outdoor wedding, don’t commit to an indoor reception hall simply because the price is right or you like their menu. Imagine your perfect day and narrow down locations that fit the scenery you’ve always dreamed of. A gorgeous view can be your best backdrop and help to make a reception unforgettable.
Do they cater? Food is essential at a wedding reception. If you want a venue that serves food, narrow your search to only those with an in-house caterer. If your place of choice does not handle this in-house, make sure they will work with outside vendors or even provide recommendations for preferred merchants.
Will it suit your guest list? Be sure that the venue you select will comfortably hold the number of guests you plan to invite. With that in mind, verify there is also plenty of space for toasting, dancing, food and evacuation in case of an emergency.
Is there ample parking? Unless you have valet help, it is imperative to find a location that allows your guest to easily join and exit your reception. Make sure they do not have to walk too far…especially when they are dolled up for your celebration. If you find a place where parking is a concern, plan for a shuttle to run through the night and assist your guest to a parking area close by.
You have been planning and anticipating for many months and now your wedding day is finally here! You are excited to finally tie the knot, and even better…get to your honeymoon destination. If you are planning your trip soon after the wedding, here is a checklist to tackle before the festivities begin. Taking care of these items in advance will help make the traveling process smooth and stress free.
- Pack necessary travel documents in an easy to reach pocket of your bag.
- Have your luggage ready, to include all clothes and toiletries you will need on your trip.
- Plan a ride to the airport in advance that will be ready for your departure. If possible, have your travel items in the car prior to picking you up.
- Ask someone to help organize gifts and anything else left behind at the reception. You can plan to have these items waiting for you when you return home.
- Have a trusted person take your dress directly to the drycleaner for a later pickup.
- Have your wedding coordinator or friend save and freeze the top layer of your wedding cake to enjoy on your 1st wedding anniversary.
- Make sure any pets have a pre-arranged sitter, or drop them off to be boarded.
- Leave a housekey behind with a trusted friend or family member in case of emergency,
- Write down your travel itinerary and information for anyone who may need to reach you while you are away.
- Plan transportation for pick up upon your arrival back home.
If you have planned to leave for your honeymoon right away, we understand your excitement! Just be sure to allow yourself a window of time for the unexpected. If it is possible to give yourself a day to recover before travel, you may find the small break offers a little relief. But, with a little help from friends and the right preparation, you will be sailing off into the sunset with ease. Have fun!
If you are planning to tie the knot and celebrate in the comfort of your own home, this endeavor may not be as easy as you think. But, if your dream is to have an intimate backyard wedding, here are some things to consider.
Maximize Your Space:
- First, know how many guests you can comfortably accommodate and plan accordingly.
- If you do not have a large enough area for a sit-down meal, set high tables with stools in a variety of rooms and allow guests to roam freely.
- Remove furniture and make room to dance. This will help preserve your favorite couch and allow more room to celebrate! Be sure to leave some seating space for guests who need a break, or want to sit and mingle.
- Set aside an area for children to play. Include a few games or toys to keep the little ones entertained too!
- Rent a restroom trailer, especially if you are hosting outdoors. This will help minimize indoor foot traffic.
- Don’t forget Plan B! If you are using the great outdoors, use a tent to eliminate sun exposure or light rain. But, also prepare enough space inside just in case.
- Define your boundaries by locking doors to any rooms you want to keep private.
- Use a wedding coordinator to help with the planning. A professional can offer a fresh perspective for making the best use of space, as well as guiding you in food selection, music, and other important details.
- Hire a caterer. You have an important job as the bride and the host, so don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on food preparation too.
- Hire a cleaning service, before and after the event. This is another important task you don’t want to take on alone.
- Hire a handy man to help fix leaky faucets, shaky railings, or anything else you don’t want to interfere.
Warn your neighbors that you are hosting a large party, especially if guests will be parking on the street. You can also ask a local business if you can use or rent their parking lot. It is worthwhile to hire an attendant to help guide your guests and prevent blocked driveways, mailboxes, crosswalks, etc.
Depending on the size of your wedding, there may be additional insurance or permits you are required to purchase before your event. Check city, county, and neighborhood restrictions far enough in advance to assure you have the right documentation in place. You don’t want your wedding reception cut short because of a legal formality.
If you are willing to host the party on your special day, make sure you prepare early to avoid getting overwhelmed. If handled properly, you can create lasting memories in your very own intimate space!