Photo by Taryn Christine Photography
Finding a wedding venue is one of the biggest wedding decisions you’ll make in the whole planning process––not to mention one of the biggest chunks from your wallet. It can be overwhelming and stressful. After all, the venue you chose sets the mood and atmosphere for your wedding. However, choosing your venue doesn’t have to be stressful and can even be a fun experience for both you and your groom. So when you’re searching for that special location for your special day, keep these four questions in mind.
What style are you going for?
Venue styles can be anywhere from traditional to modern, from rustic to vintage. You must first envision what you want your wedding and what will best suit you and your spouse-to-be. The entire wedding will be immersed in the ambiance that your the venue provides, and has the largest impact on the overall mood of your wedding. Make sure you know your wedding theme well, and search Forever Brides Pinterest page for venue ideas. Most importantly, make sure that early on you sit down with your fiancé to ensure you both agree on a vision for your wedding. You may need to compromise but that is normal -- as long as you both end up on the same page you can squash wedding mishaps before they happen, and make picking a venue an easy task!
How many people are you inviting?
Believe it or not, your guest list makes a huge difference. Some venues can only hold a limited number of people, while others can accommodate over 500 people! If you have a long list of family and friends you want to invite, make sure your venue is capable of seating all of them. Otherwise, you’ll have to cut your list down even more than you expected, and run into unneeded stress down the road. The number of guests you have impacts prices in several different ways including; number of save the dates, invites, thank you cards, seating arrangements, food and beverage, hotel reservations, etc. All of which are required for your wedding ceremony, reception and rehearsal dinner. Staying on top of the number of guests in all circumstances (or at least having a general estimate) from the get-go and this will save you a lot of time and money when it comes to the planning and organizing of everything else. An easy way to organize is to create a simple spreadsheet or notebook entry for the number of guests. This can be used to keep track of RSVP’s, food choices, and budget all in one convenient place.
Are there any hidden fees?
Wedding venues are often the largest chunk of your wedding budget. Unfortunately, it’s common for venues to have extra fees for cake cutting, ceremony chair rental, set-up and day-of coordinator. So before signing a contract or depositing money, make sure they have disclosed to you every minuscule fee. Although these extra services can be helpful, don’t let these hidden fees secretly stack up or you could wind up having to hand over twice as much of your budget as you were expecting to spend. So READ your contract even with all that fine print before you sign. Whenever possible it’s best to go and meet the owner or operator of a venue in person. Its good to get an idea of how the venue is operated and then determine whether the staff is competent for the coming months before your wedding. Requesting a walk through of the grounds is a must! Make sure that the entire venue meets your standards, and don't lower those standards just for a good deal.
Have you done your research?
Another important screening tool is to read lots of reviews. Nearly every venue, big or small, will have some kind of review or critique of the property and services, most of the time you can find these online. I great way to make sure you're getting REAL reviews is to ask the venue for the phone numbers of previous brides, you will be surprised how many brides are willing to talk about what a wonderful or horrible experience they had. It is highly important to take note of the opinions of others that have come before you. Some venues might have smiling faces and promises of sunshine and rainbows, while the reviews tell you it was something out of an over-priced nightmare.
In summary; do your research, stay organized, and have fun. There are many amazing venues around the Minneapolis area, all with unique and special things to offer. At the end of the day it is a matter of weighing the good with the bad, and most importantly following your heart when you stumble upon the place that just feels right.
Check out the Forever Bride preferred venue list HERE and click here for Forever Bride intern Emily’s personal journey to finding her perfect wedding venue at Aamodt's Apple Farm.
Author: Emily Johnson - Forever Bride Intern | Images: Taryn Christine Photography | "Boho Chic" Styled Shoot - Fall 2013