2010-10-19 06:00:00 by SMARTBRIDE
Bride-to-Be: Hunting for a Venue Here, There & Everywhere
It's all About Venue Location
"Location, location, location" is an adage that we’ve all heard a thousand times from our real estate agents, business school professors, and neighborhood panhandlers.
I never really thought about it until I started to look for a wedding venue, but location truly is everything! The look and feel of the space you choose will set the tone for your entire celebration. No pressure, ladies.
Like most couples, choosing our wedding’s When and Where were the first two details that the love of my life (henceforth referred to as RC) and I tackled post-proposal.
We knew that we didn’t want to get married in a dingy hall or a faux-posh wedding factory, but beyond that we had no idea where to start.
Eventually we found an amazing, affordable venue that suits both of our personalities perfectly, but not without some pitfalls.
6 Tips to Keep Your Venue Hunt as Painless as Possible:
- Book Early: Especially if you want to get married in the summer. Many venues here in Toronto (and most other large cities in Canada & the U.S.) get booked up crazy far in advance (often more than a year).
- Keep Your Date Flexible: If you failed to heed Tip #1, there’s a chance that the venue of your dreams is already booked on your chosen wedding date. Some flexibility will help ensure that you can nail down the space that you want most. Another hint, If you’re willing to have your wedding on a Sunday it can greatly reduce your costs.
- Plan Ahead: Venues vary greatly in size and price, so it’s important to have a rough guest count and budget in mind before you start looking around. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache if you can eliminate locations that are too small or too pricey right off the bat.
- Consider Every Option: Be creative! There are a lot of cool spaces out there that are not typically considered to be wedding venues. Think about farms, restaurants, aquariums, art galleries, breweries, museums, parks, historical buildings … you get the picture.
Do a lot of searching online. EventSource.ca is a great resource for venues in the GTA. If you're in the U.S. check out Wedding Source to find venues in your city. If you live in a big city, you might want to consider holding your wedding in a smaller city or town as prices drop dramatically as soon as you leave the city limits.
- Think Big Picture: Some venues are more high-maintenance than others. You may think that you’ve found the perfect location at a great price until you realize that you’ll need to bring in your own tables, chairs, linens, audio equipment, tents etc.
Those rental costs can really add up, not to mention the costs of the vendor booking time and the manual labor that your friends and family may need to help you with. If you’re up for the extra work, it can pay off spectacularly. It’s important to keep these things in mind as you consider that amazing bare-bones industrial warehouse space.
- Read The Small Print: There are a lot of hidden costs in venue contracts, so read all documents thoroughly to prevent unwanted surprises. For example, many venues charge a hefty “Landmark Fee”, which is typically 15% of your catering bill. Other hidden charges can include security, additional staff, “after-hours” fees, “cake-cutting” fees, gratuities etc.
Ask your venue to provide you with a detailed estimate with all costs included before booking. Many venues also do not allow outside caterers, or have a list of “preferred” vendors that you must work with. Keep this in mind if there was a particular caterer you were hoping to work with.
- Remember Why You’re Doing This: Try not to get so caught up in the venue hunt that you forget about your future husband and his opinions. It’s his wedding day too and he might surprise you with some great ideas. I know RC has. Besides, wedding planning is way more fun when you do it together with your best friend.
About our Guest Blogging Bride-to-Be Alana:
After her first date with RC, Alana knew it was the beginning of something amazing. RC proposed two years after that day and the couple will be married on August 20, 2011. They want their day to be unique and completely "us", so they'll be throwing a lot of wedding traditions out the window and replacing them with fun, personal touches. Check back each week to follow Alana as she and RC plan their party of love.