How to Save Money on Your Wedding Venue
So you’ve gotten engaged and you’re ready to plan your wedding! Before you pick a dress, order invitations, or make honeymoon plans, you’ve got to find a location AND pick a date (usually these go hand in hand). There are many options to consider and several questions to be answered before you sign your contract with the venue. Here’s the basics to get you started in the process.
1. As with most of your wedding planning, you and your groom should set a budget amount for the location. This figure may change as you make certain decisions, but you should have a good idea to at least get started. Don’t fall in love with a fairy tale castle only to find out the price is out of your range.
2. Consider approximately how many guests will be attending. While this figure may change as RSVPs are returned, you should know roughly whether you expect 50 people or 500. You don’t want standing room only for your big day. Keep this in mind before you go to tour locations; if the available seating is close to your guest list, consider if any additional seating could be arranged to smoothly flow with the current seating.
3. Now that you have a budget and rough head count, consider a few more points before you start making appointments:
- Is it important to get married in a church or synagogue?
- Do you want to hold your ceremony and reception at the same location?
- How formal should the location be to fit your ideal ceremony?
- What date are you two hoping for?
As you answer these questions together, you can start whittling down possibilities and get a better “feel” for the perfect place.
4. If you are looking for a “all in one” location, where the ceremony and reception will take place, make sure the venue has enough room to accompany both events. If not being held in a separate room, the staff can often convert the area during a cocktail/social hour between the ceremony and reception. Be sure to discuss arrangements such as in-house catering, liquor/bar services, space for a dance floor, etc. They may also have a “preferred vendor” list you could contact and review for services.
5. If you decide to have separate locations for the ceremony and the reception, the first primary concern would be how far your guests will be expected to travel. Also make sure to find out if their staff can let any vendor (caterer, DJ, florist) into the building/area while you’re at the ceremony location. Be sure they can accommodate your table configuration as well as any extras, such as the dance floor, if they allow open flames, or if they have their own sound system that you can use for music.
6. Finally, never be afraid to ask questions. While you may think they are trivial, it’s better to know for sure than to assume or think the answer is set in stone. This can apply to anything from the rental fee, to the event date, even to the color of the napkins or type of silverware they will be using for your event. You might be surprised what the venue can negotiate with you over, or what suggestions they might be able to offer.
Whether you are getting married in your home church and having a simple meal in the dining hall or having an outdoor wedding at the park with a fancy reception at the country club afterwords, keep looking until you find what works for the two of you and your budget.