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5 Tips for Picking Your Dream Venue

  |   By Savannah Demeter

After selecting a date, one of the first steps you’ll take in the planning of your wedding is choosing a venue. We asked Laura Atendido and Kelly Spinelli of Laura Kelly Wedding Designs and Rich Bride, Poor Bride about the details brides often overlook when selecting a venue and they helped us come up with the following five tips for securing your ideal location.

Uncover Hidden Expenses Gratuities, lighting, audio and sometimes even cake cutting are all costs that can often be left out of a venue’s standard fee. For a more realistic price, Atendido and Spinelli say brides should ask for a quote that includes all possible add-ons. That way, hidden expenses won’t mess with your wedding budget later on in the planning process.

Cut Costs Creatively Chances are a venue will probably be one of the most expensive aspects of your wedding. And if you’re on a tight budget, you might be wondering how you can lessen the blow. Atendido and Spinelli  say there are ways of saving without sacrificing the quality of your venue, like asking if the venue can provide a consumption bar during dinner hours instead of an open bar. “This means the bar will be kept open during dinner but you are only paying for the drinks ordered,” says Atendido. Another sneaky way to cut costs is to omit a late night snack by choosing to serve your wedding cake instead.

Do Your Homework Just like writing a test, the entire location selection process will be easier if you know your stuff. It might seem obvious, but before even visiting a venue you should read reviews, visit the website of each site you’re considering and request a wedding package with rates specific to your big day. And even if you have your heart set on a certain spot, Atendido and Spinelli suggest visiting at least five or six venues before making your final selection.

Ask And You Shall Receive Though the base price of a site will usually have very little wiggle room, it’s advisable to at least try to negotiate your way into a deal that works for you and your budget. Food and beverage upgrades and a better payment plan are all options that can be negotiated. Atendido and Spinelli say brides would be surprised by the amount of positive responses they can get just by asking. But the pair also says you should always remember to “do your negotiations before you sign on the dotted line.” After the contract is signed, you’ll have significantly less leverage.

Details, Details, Details When you fall in love with a space, it’s easy to overlook details and forget to pin down the specifics. While base fees and capacity are something you’ll initially inquire about, there are also a lot of intricate details that come along with choosing a venue. Atendido and Spinelli say brides should absolutely ask about server to guest ratios, handicap accessibility, whether or not there will be complimentary tastings and when you will be able to set up for your big day. As well, you should be clear about the rules. Some venues might require you to use in-house rental companies, follow a certain payment plan or have a minimum amount for revenue or number of guests.

This article was originally published on Feb 08, 2012

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