Your wedding venue
Finding the right wedding venue for your special day will be one of the more time consuming items on your to do list when planning your wedding reception. Whether you appoint a wedding planner or not, you will want to be involved in some way or other during the selection process. After all anything between 50 to 70% of your budget is going towards the venue.
Here are 7 Tips to help you find your Wedding Venue
Tip 1: Determine your budget
As with any large purchase in your life you need to decide on a budget that you and your event sponsors can afford. Of course the likelihood of staying within that budget is going to require concentrated effort by all parties, but it’s advisable to have one to start with.
Once you have an idea of what you can afford to spend on your wedding determine the percentage you are prepared to allocate to the hiring of the wedding venue and check what budget you have for the party that will be held there.
A word of caution. You should not venture out looking at wedding venues until you know how much you can afford.
Tip 2: Research venues that fit your budget
It’s easy to get carried away with venues that sound like the kind that you would love to have your reception at. That five star hotel has a beautiful banquet hall but does that fit your budget? The fairytale old country manor in the middle of nowhere sounds amazing. But does your budget include travel and transport as well as overnight stays for relatives?
Only look at venues that you can afford. It’s already time consuming to make appointments with venue staff, traveling to the location, meeting, viewing and discussing costs and never mind the time you need to take off from work. Don’t waste your time on viewing venues that are outside your budget.
Tip 3: Remember whose wedding it is
Try and make your decisions with your partner only. The waters get muddied and murky once you involve family and friends in the process. No matter who is paying for the event, you as the bride and groom need to make the decision that suits you.
This might sound like a given but you will be amazed how quickly people want to get involved and even how easily they think they should be allowed to dictate to you what you need for your special day. Put a stop to it right at the beginning. This is your event and you make the decision. And it doesn’t matter who is paying for it all.
Tip 4: Shortlist the ones you like
As much as you might want to make a decision once you stumble across ‘the one’ resist the temptation. Sometimes we make decisions on a whim. Short list the venues against a checklist you have set up for items you really need. If you have a disabled family member for instance you need the facilities to be accessible. Put this item on your list of must haves. Eliminate all those that don’t comply.
Once you have a shortlist of venues you think are suitable. Review your list and revisit them. You might want to visit them during an event they are holding or you might want to check on references. You will most definitely want to meet with the staff again to negotiate final terms.
Tip 5: Negotiate
There is a tendency in the West to take a price offered as an absolute given. Do not make this mistake. Every business has some leeway in it’s pricing. You will only find out by asking for additional features, services, discounted price on selected items and an overall discount. Try for every one of them. And don’t think you are being ‘cheap’ by doing this. You are being shrewd and making your budget stretch.
Tip 6: Finalise terms and conditions
In general you will have to book your venue far in advance. This is especially true if you have chosen a very popular one. To keep the lid on inflationary increases make sure you have terms and conditions in place that protect you from exorbitant price increases.
Also ensure that if you have to hire equipment from sub contractors that you are not at their mercy. You might need to hire a tent from an external vendor. Make sure you know the deal you will get from him.
Tip 7: Check your venue regularly
Once you have your venue arranged and all contracts have been signed it’s still a good idea to keep a check on it. Visit your venue regularly or pop your contact person an email to keep in touch. Phone up to chat and in general keep in touch. Consider this small effort as your insurance.
Getting on with the rest
Once you have your wedding venue buttoned down and organised you can get on with the rest of your wedding planning. It will be a relief to know that your most expensive item has been arranged and you will be able to allocate the rest of your budget without too many concerns.