How to choose the perfect wedding venue.
1. Is it available on your wedding day?
This one might sound obvious, but booking a wedding venue can be very competitive. It is not uncommon for a venue to book over a year in advance, especially if you are booking in a popular area or destination wedding. So if you have found that perfect location the place you want, get your deposit and contract in their hands as quickly as possible.
2. Are you getting the most for your money?
The average wedding in Tampa, Florida costs upwards of $35,00 dollars, weddings can quickly become expensive and not everyone can afford to splurge on everything they love. That is why it's extremely important to make sure you are getting the most for the amount of money you are spending. So when you come across a venue that is just like you envisioned for your big day and it’s within your budget, don’t over think it or take too long to put down your deposit because the venue can’t hold your wedding date without a contract signed and your deposit.
3. What all is included?
Are tables and chair included? Are you responsible for cleaning up? Does it come with day of coordination? Are there any decorations included? Do we have to work off of your preferred vendor list? How many hours do I get the venue for? Can I come in earlier to set up and decorate? It is extremely important to get all this information right from the beginning.
4. Does the venue fit your theme?
Lets say that you have always wanted a boho inspired, organic feel to your wedding. So if you choose a big and classic ballroom as your venue it might be hard to merge those two looks together. So make sure that whatever venue you choose, you can smoothly fit your wedding theme into the feel of the venue space.
5. Will it be hard for your friends and family to attend?
You want the location of your wedding to be what you have always dreamed about, but you also want to take into consideration your family and friends and make make sure they will be able to come. For example, if your dream venue is hundreds or thousands of miles away, finically would be your friends and family be able to afford to come? Or if some of your guests require assistance, perhaps that mountain top venue that requires a little hike might not be doable for older guests or those with small children. Take time to think this through to see if your family and friends will be able to come, and / or if the location of the wedding is worth them missing out on seeing you get married.
6. How many guests can it hold?
Not only is this a logistics matter its also a safety concern. Just remember that no matter how much you fall in love with a venue, if it cannot accommodate your 300 guests, you have the option of cutting down your guest list or moving on to a new venue. Also take in to consideration that opposite issue. What if they venue is made for large weddings of 300+ guests, but you are only having 75 guests attend. It might look awkward if your venue is too big for the number of people attending.
7. What if it rains?
If you are planning an outdoor ceremony or reception make sure you have back-up plan if in the case that bad weather makes an appearance. After all here in St Petersburg, FL we do have hurricane season to consider! Some venues have an indoor space you can use if in the event it were to rain. If that is not an option you might need to look into renting a tent.
8. Are they insured?
While this might sound like a strange thing to bring up when talking about wedding venues, you can never been too careful because anything is possible. I highly recommend making sure there is some sort of insurance policy in order, for a couple different reasons. Do they have liability insurance in the case one of you guests gets hurt? And do you have an insurance if in the case I were to experience something unexpected and I had to move my wedding date. How sad it would be for you to spend your hard earned money on the venue and then wind up losing it all due to some unforeseen tragedy.
9. How many bathrooms are on the property?
If you are having a party of 500 guests and they have one stall for men and one for women that could create some issues once the drinks get flowing. So make sure there are adequate bathrooms to accommodate the number of guests you are expecting.
10. Do you have a bridal suite?
Unless you live close by to the venue, getting ready on site can save you lots of time and is cuts down on stress because you aren’t having to drive to multiple locations.
11. What are you willing to compromise on?
Do you have any hard no passes, or deal breakers? While you might want a sparkler exist, some venues do not allow that. Or what if you wanted a buffet style dinner, but the venue space is too small to have a buffet set up along with all of your tables and chairs? Would you be willing to have a plated dinner instead? Think about what you are willing to give up for that perfect venue.
Nina Bashaw is a Tampa, Florida based fine art luxury photographer that specializes in portraits, weddings, and elopements throughout the southeast
and is available for worldwide travel.
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