Picking a venue is one of the hardest things you will do in the planning process and will probably be one of the first things you should do after deciding on a budget. The venue you choose will set the tone for the wedding including the dress you buy, the colors/theme you choose, and be a crucial decision in maintaining your budget. You may wonder where you should start looking.
The internet of course is a great resource for local venues in your area or I would look for local wedding magazines that may compare venues and pricing. Also look at reviews and testimonials…this may help in asking the right questions at the venue. (PLEASE NOTE….there is always two sides to every story. Read all the reviews and take the negative reviews with a grain of salt. If there are 20 good reviews and a few bad ones I would not cross it off the list.)
Before you go on your search you must be prepared and answer a few questions of yourself. Do you want a “full service” venue or a “do-it yourself” venue? Over the next week I will explore the differences between both types of venues so you can understand the pros and cons of each. My advice is to have a list of questions prepared for each venue (which I will help you prepare this week) and after visiting your top five venues compare all of your notes and make an educated decision. As you begin your search…..as hard as it may be…..try not to choose the first venue you go to or pick a venue just because you love the look of it. Sometimes that quick decision may blow your budget!
I promise once you decide on the venue everything else will fall in to place! Make sure to read our blog this week before you go on your search!
The biggest factor in determining budget is how many people you would like to invite to the wedding. In my opinion, it is best to sit down with both sides of the family and decide on the guest list. Keep in mind that about 75%-80% of the guests you invite will actually attend the wedding.
One of the best ways to keep both sides of the family happy is have each side break their list down in to three columns of importance. The first column would be the people you definitely want to attend the wedding. The second column is people you would like to invite and have there if possible. The third column is people you hope you can invite but only if someone from the second column is unable to attend. I advise many of my brides to send their invitations about two weeks early (about 10 weeks before wedding date). Once you start getting “no’s” back you can start to invite people off of the second and third columns and still have time to get their rsvp back in time. Your guests will have no idea what lists they are on…so don’t feel bad!! This ensures that all of the very important close family and friends are invited first and then you can gauge how many invitations you can send out to the other guests on the list.
As a side note, the head count is going to affect the budget in every way. As a bride you must decide what is important to you….having everyone there that you know and sacrificing other things you may want…or having a smaller wedding and not inviting everyone but getting all of the details you want. Don’t be afraid to let both sides of the family know your wishes.
This is your wedding and you and your fiancé need to decide how big or small of a wedding that you want!