Anyone who is in the midst of searching for a wedding venue knows this can be one of the most stressful parts of the wedding planning process. Your venue will determine the date of your wedding, the décor and the overall style of your party.
Melanie Aubin a wedding planner at Fou D’Amour in Montreal, Quebec—who recently shared her wedding planning expertise with Le Germain Hotels—says the first step to finding the perfect venue is calculating your wedding budget. How much you want to spend will determine where you ultimately decide to host your celebration. From there, Aubin says consider these six key things when it comes to selecting your venue:
1. Room dimensions. The typical setup for a seated meal consists of 60-inch round tables surrounded by eight chairs. If you are looking at a room that’s 3,000 square feet, it will accommodate 300 people. Another space consideration is that if you want a dance floor, photo booth, lounge or stage for a band that will eat into your seating space. Consider everything you need in the room, don’t just calculate the size you need based on your guest numbers.
2. Parking. Do you need a private parking area, or does a shared parking lot work for you? Are there enough spaces to accommodate your guests? Is there a fee from your venue for parking or is it included? If there is no parking area, do you need to arrange a shuttle or car service?
3. Inclusions. Does the venue offer certain extras for free such as tables, chairs, tablecloths, napkins and garden furniture? Ask to see all the equipment, learn about available colours and be sure to get the correct quantities. Do they have lighting, an audio system, projector and screen? And if you need to rent it all, can the venue store your equipment?
4. Exclusivities. Certain venues work exclusively with specific caterers, bar services or audiovisual providers. If you choose to work with your own supplier, it’s possible they will charge you a fee or penalty. It’s important to find out if this will be the case before you sign off on anything.
5. Additional fees. On top of the room rental fees, find out if the venue has any extra costs like cleaning fees, electricity (a band uses a lot more volts than a DJ), setup and storage. Is coat check included? Will you need security for your event?
6. Contracts. Request a sample contract from the venue(s) you are considering and take the time to study each clause. What happens if the wedding is cancelled? Does the location require minimum food and beverage fees? If the size of the guest list shrinks, is there an option to switch rooms? Be sure that any changes you agree on are added to the final contract.
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