Congratulations on your engagement!! This is such an exciting time. A new chapter is about to begin. Now what? Often times when the adrenaline rush of this new adventure settles, the overwhelming feeling of next steps takes over. Know that you are not alone! Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.
Finding a venue is the first major decision in the planning process. This sets the tone for your entire wedding. It sets your wedding date (which makes it feel very real). It is also one of the first major deposits you send out (which can also be overwhelming as a lot of wedding costs provide some sticker shock). Once this decision is made, it does feel like the other major decisions begin to fall into place. We want to help you make that first major step in the planning process a little less overwhelming, so we’ve described the venue search process step-by-step.
Step 1: Setting the Tone for Your Wedding
The first thing you want to do is have a conversation with your fiancé(e) about what you want your wedding to be.
-Do you want an intimate gathering of a handful of family and friends or an all out bash with a few hundred people?
-What type of setting do you envision for your day?
-What are your must have’s for the day?
(Full bar? Band? Unique dining experience?)
-What time of year do you want to tie the know? Is this flexible?
If you are wanting a summer wedding, are you open to any of the summer months or
only wanting July? This will be one of the first questions a venue manager will ask you.
This doesn’t have to be a detailed vision, just a general sense of the feel you want created on the your day. This will guide you in the venue selection process.
Step 2: The Budget Conversation
While this part is not the most fun part of planning, this is a conversation that needs to be had so you are both on the same page moving forward.
The venue you select is also a major factor in setting your budget. While some venues are all inclusive, others you will need to bring in a majority of the items required which will incur higher rental costs. (More about this in Step 4).
Step 3- The Search Begins
Now that you have a general vision and budget in mind you can begin researching venues. While Google is a great resource, there are other sites that can help narrow the scope for you. Oregon Bride Magazine has a great tool to enter specifications and generate a venue list. The Knot also has a list of top venues in various locations.
While looking through these websites, keep in mind your vision and how each of these meet your needs. Is it large enough to accommodate my guest count? Does it fit the esthetic I’m hoping to see on my day? While searching, start a list of your top choices.
Step 4- Venue Tours
After you’ve created a list of your top four to five venues, call them and get their availability. If they are available around your ideal time of year, set up tours at each of those places. While you are touring each of these spaces, keep in mind the following:
*What is included in the price? Do any rentals come with the rental? Or what rentals will need to be brought in? Is there a time frame that comes with your rental?
*Is there a preferred vendors list that you will need to select from for other services?
Step 5- The Pro/Con List
After touring, create your pro/con list for each space. As cheesy as it sounds, follow your gut. While touring, there are usually moments when walking a space where you feel like “I can see myself getting married here!”
If those steps seem overwhelming to you... We can help!
We often times get couples that feel overwhelmed by this part of the planning process and would love a bit of guidance in this area. We saw a need and have created a Dream Venue Search service to help you! In this service we will:
-Have a conversation with you to get a sense of the vision you are wanting.
-Provide you with a list of venues that fit your budget and vision
-Set up a day of tours at your top 4-5 venues.
-We will accompany you on tours and while walking the space, help you see what can be created to fit your vision. We will also talk about what would need to be brought in, costs associated, and other logistical scenarios to think about.
-After the tours, we will create a budget analysis of your top 2 venues. In this analysis, you will be provided with a comprehensive overview of what it would realistically cost to have your wedding at each space. From there, we can help you book the venue of your choosing.
We wish you all the best in this venture! Let us know if we can help you find your Dream Venue!
The WW&Co Team