Not sure where to start? Here are 5 tips to get you started
One core consideration when planning your wedding is the venue. Will it be a traditional venue, or on the beach, a destination or something completely different? Whatever the choice it should have some special meaning and meet most of the requirements you define. There are several areas you need to consider when you start designing that perfect vision of your wedding and the reception. Here are 5 tips to help you select the perfect wedding venue:
- What is the theme or story of your wedding? While this sounds basic, it really has a direct bearing on the total experience for you and your guests. If the plan is more casual or informal, the beach or a farm may be the ticket. Traditional tastes may focus on a venue holding a historical lineage. Perhaps you are looking for more of a unique experiential venue, for example, Gaston King, Guest Services stated Marineland Dolphin Adventures has hosted weddings by the dolphins for over 80 years.
- What is the size of your event? Realistically define who is coming. You may be in love with one venue, but if the guest list of who “absolutely has to be there” is double what a venue can hold, you will need to be flexible on either the list or the location. Many venues are scalable, while some are not. Deerwood Country Club has the ability to segment their ballroom into scalable spaces, while space in some notable historic venues may be more set, but still beautiful. While the list may ebb and flow, some venue spaces cannot, selecting a size appropriate will avoid “clipping” at the end.
- Does the venue you seek have availability? This really goes hand in hand with budget, some venues book further out than other venues. Frequently a specific date may also have economic impact. If you are flexible on the date, you can save money. Sometimes a week or two can mean the difference between high season and off-season rates. This also has a direct impact on honeymoon travel. Speaking to several venues while doing research for this article, some venues may have availability as close as a month out, while others are booking into 2022 already.
- Where do you stand on the budget? Most venues fall into the affordable, moderately prices and premium categories. Dreams draw the wedding blueprint, but the budget lays the bricks. Arguably the most expensive aspect of the wedding, just consider if one venue is important enough to offset not having something else. Some may absolutely have to have a specific venue to make that one in a lifetime experience, while others may want a specific band or honeymoon destination. The point here is there usually is a set amount of sand in the bag, how it is distributed is entirely up to you during the planning. This single area is the most emotionally charged. Again, flexibility is foundational here.
- Are there any special requirements for the venue? Asking the right questions can head off heartburn later. For example, some municipal venues, such as the Conference Center at The Main Library in Jacksonville require an insurance certificate for events and this is not unique. Some venues have this as a requirement so it pays to ask. Do they have a minimum number of hours for event rental. Do they have tables and linens or do you source those separately? There are venues that require you to use preferred vendors, and many require a licensed and insurance beverage service if you intend to serve alcohol. Your cousin, who happens to be a bartender, probably would not be able to help unless they possess the proper license and insurance. Security may be required, depending on the size of the event. Does the venue have any advice on how I can select the perfect wedding venue? Jennifer Dahlberg, Catering Sales Director at the Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach said it best, “Let the venue guide you.” Choose what is important to creating your event experience. The venue staff knows what has worked and what has not. Do you have to have a wedding planner? Some venues require this. In the case of my own daughter’s wedding, every detail was pre-planned, but the hotel required we use of their in-house coordinator. Some venues may provide a complementary coordinator for the day of the wedding, others may charge a fee, so ask. Asking proper questions early in the process will allow you to create a more realistic total of all expenses.
Regardless of all the planning, budgeting and anticipation going into the venue selection process, keep in mind, it is ultimately your and your finance’s day. Be flexible, but firm on what matters the most. You may not remember every single wedding gift or the difficulties of the process, but you will remember the experience and ambiance the venue created. Amanda Dunn, Director of Sales at St. Johns Golf and Country Club summed it up, “Focus on what the day is about and focus on each other, the rest will fall into place.”
We can help you select the perfect wedding venue. Call Upscale Event Productions today at (904) 600-4554 for a free 30-minute consultation about your dreams and wishes for your special day. Remember, we are also certified travel agents, so you are not limited to just local venues, you could have your dream wedding literally anywhere in the world, on land or on sea! We take your wishes and create magical memories.
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