Planner’s Perspective: All of the Tools to Whole-Heartedly Say “I Do” to Your Perfect Wedding Venue

Photography by Eric Lee Photography

It’s my favorite season of the yeeeear!!! (Insert a whimsical background tune).  Yes, I love Fall and everything pumpkin spiced that comes along with it, but that’s not what I’m talking about…  Engagement season is about to officially be upon us!!! For us wedding professionals, this means a TON of newly engaged couples will be heading our way as they move towards booking, what I like to call, the perfect “vendor dream-team” for their wedding.  While choosing food, music, and someone to assist them during their planning journey is super important, perhaps the most important decision that newly engaged couples make during this time is WHERE they will be getting married. Will it be a garden estate?…a vineyard?… a ballroom?  The setting of someone’s wedding can dictate a great deal about everything else that follows. Aside from getting that unmistakable feeling of “this is the one”, there are a few things that we advise our couples to consider when choosing a venue:   

How Easily Accessible is the Wedding Venue for Your Guests?

As destination weddings gain popularity, especially for our Washington, DC engaged couples, this is a very important question to ask. Although you want your guests to wowed by the things you love most about your venue, you don’t want the wow-factor to be overshadowed by the fact that your guests are exhausted and/or frustrated by the time that they arrive.  When selecting the location ask yourself the following questions: 

Is the location close to major airport?

Does the venue have a desirable amount of accommodations for your wedding guests in the surrounding area? 

If guests need to be shuttled from a distance, have you and your partner accounted for the cost associated with this in your overall wedding budget? 

If you are not providing a shuttle, will this affect your party by limiting the amount that your guests can drink? (Yes!)   

We want your guests to remember your wedding for it’s overall awesomeness… not the overall realness of the struggle that it took to get there.  


Sound Limitations

This is something that most people don’t consider when selecting their venue, but it can affect your event in a major way.  If you are considering an outdoor venue, ask the Event Manager about their sound limitations, especially if you are considering a band.  Some venues can only allow outdoor amplification up to a certain extent which would exclude bands from their allowable performer list altogether.  Others are at the mercy of strict sound ordinances set forth by the county which dictate the time that all amplified sound must end, which in turn, affects your entire wedding day timeline. We like surprises, but not the type that involve police being called to end your wedding because of a noise violation! 


Wedding Vendor Limitations

While some venues provide a preferred vendor list to help guide it’s couples in the right direction towards reliable vendors that they can vouch for, some venues require that you use only the vendors mentioned on their list for your wedding.  This is usually the case for the catering team that you select as they bear the brunt of the responsibility when it comes to controlling damages to the venue, venue set up and breakdown, and the overall flow of the event. Some venues don’t allow outside catering vendors at all as they have an exclusive caterer that services their property. Some will require that you absolutely use someone from their list. Some will require an additional fee to use someone that isn’t on their list. So if you’ve been dreaming of using your best friend’s out-of-state catering company to make all of your wedding menu dreams come true, make sure to get the stone cold facts about this up front!       


Can You Live with the Rain Plan? 

This is one of the first things that I ask my couple’s when we tour a venue.  I know that we hate to say the “R” word when we are in the midst of planning the BEST DAY EVER, but we always have to plan for the worst and hope for the best (That’s my personal wedding planning mantra!).  Truly ask yourself, if it were to rain on the big day and you are forced to move to the rain plan, would your ceremony hold just as much magic for you as if you were to get married in the planned location? If so, then you have all of your aesthetic bases covered and you won’t be compelled to do a “no rain dance” every day the month of your wedding…. OK, maybe you still will… and we still will for you… but you’ll still love the look of your wedding day, rain or shine! 

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