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That special someone proposed or said ‘yes’, but now the pressure of planning is on. You’ve decided on a date and a color palette. Now comes the tricky part. Where do you have a wedding? Your family lives near but your fiancees family lives 500 miles away.  You’ve always dreamed of a beach wedding but you live in Wisconsin. Your budget is tight but you want a memorable experience for everyone.  How do you make this happen?

What is your wedding style?

Formal, casual, glam, rock, or eclectic.

This will dictate your venue.

 

Choosing a venue can be a daunting challenge. You don’t want to be ripped off, and you don’t want to book a bad venue. You have to consider your budget, the venue amenities, and travel distance for your guests. Never mind that you still have to make seating arrangements that won’t set the estranged family members at each other’s throats. You need to know what to factor into your venue decision before you can move on to fussing over seating arrangements.

 

The Features

If you’re a fan of pairing indoor and outdoor settings, you might decide on something like a Pensacola country club wedding. Some people are more traditional and prefer a classic church wedding. Whatever style you plan for, it can be important to be aware of the venue’s facilities. Do they have enough seating for all your potential guests? If your wedding is happening in the summer, does the venue have air conditioning? Will the reception food be cooked in an on-site kitchen, or will you need to hire a caterer to bring in food? Is there a plan that includes an open bar?

 

Q: What kind of research should couples do when they’re looking for a wedding venue?

A: “This all-important decision should include the proper size reception facility when considering their total guest count. An ample dance floor accommodating the amount of guests attending is advantageous; bridal suite availability is a plus. Are there handicap amenities for those with special needs and/or elderly guests? Is there flexibility to include items that will personalize their celebration and make it special?” 
— Kerry Fair of The Manor House at Prophecy Creek Park in Ambler, Pennsylvania via The Wedding Wire

 

The Location

If you are hoping to minimize your guests’ travel time and expenses, you’ll need to find a nearby location with ample parking for your guests. This can limit your options, however, and a short drive to the perfect venue may be worth it. To decide the distance to your wedding venue, you may want to consult with your future spouse, your family, and your close friends.

 

 

The Price

While the rich can easily spare no expense on their weddings and dinosaur parks, the vast majority of people are operating on a budget. Some wedding venues are transparent about their pricing, and some may require some deeper investigation. Plenty of potential venues will list a price, then entice you into various add-ons, which will add up. It can be a wise move to ask for a final total which includes all taxes and fees, before committing to any deposits or payments.

Q: What’s the difference between all-inclusive and a la carte venues, and what should couples consider when deciding between the two?

A: “An all-inclusive venue usually will provide everything you need: food, beverage, flowers, linens, etc. at one price, but you are a little more restricted as to what you can and cannot do. À la carte venues are designed more for the hands-on bride that is wanting to really personalize every aspect of their day. It will take more time and thought to coordinate but does tend to be much more personally reflective and unique.”
— Kathy Richter of Brutocao Cellars in Hopland, California via The Wedding Wire

 

Now that you know what you are looking for, choosing your venue should be that much easier. Contact and book some venue walkthroughs, compare amenities, and prices before you choose. Don’t put down any deposits until you have really looked at a few.  You don’t want to be stuck with a venue you are not happy with because you made a deposit or signed a contract. Always take a day or two to think it over first. Happy hunting, love birds!

 

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Over 50 and fabulous living and writing in Appalachia

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