We are now at the most exciting part of planning your dream wedding!! Well, sort of. Although choosing your perfect wedding is exciting and will literally shape the style and ambiance of your wedding, it is also the most stressful part of the process! Now this is a huge topic and I can't cover everything you will need to know AND find you that perfect venue, but I can give you some pointers so you don't get frustrated and get to the point where you want to call the wedding off altogether! Sound good?? :)
First, we need to decide on your date!! Keep in mind, your date is also going to shape the colors you use, whether or not you can have an indoor or outdoor wedding, and just the style and décor altogether! This is not generally very difficult for couples to decide on so we are going to move right along!
Next, you need to decide on the style of the venue. Do you want a beach view? On the sand? A garden setting? A ballroom with chandeliers? A country club? A rustic barn? Indoor or outdoor? Ceremony and reception at the same location? Or will your ceremony be at a church? Okay, now I am just overwhelming you so I will stop there. However, these are all questions that you and your fiancé should discuss before visiting ANY venues. If you are looking for an all outdoor garden wedding, then why would you go visit a church and a
venue with a beach view? I think you get my drift. Yes, venue tours are fun and exciting but after 34 tours, I am 100% positive that you are going to be overwhelmed and will call it quits! So before you set up any tours, make sure the style of the venue fits your vision!
Now you have found a beautiful garden venue that perfectly fits your vision! Are you ready to set up a tour? NO! Now you need to contact the venue to get pricing and minimums. You can refer back to the budget calculator we discussed and if the price per person on their packages are higher than your per person budget, then move on! Don't waste your time and tease yourself by visiting a venue you are going to fall in love with and not be able to afford! And in addition to those prices, make sure you ask what their minimums are! MINIMUMS ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT...important enough for me to capitalize that! So let's break this down:
MINIMUM: A dollar amount you are required to spend on a specific date/day of the week. Just because your price per person is within budget, doesn't mean your total wedding budget will be able to afford the venue.
So here is an example to better understand this strange concept:
I have a $10,000 total wedding budget. My venue, food, and beverage budget is $5000. My budget per person (before tax and service charge) is about $40 and the venue has packages starting at $35 per person. Now this is great! I am done!! I just found my dream venue!...unfortunately, this is not the case. Once I go on a tour of the venue, I let them know that my date is June 1st which is a Saturday and I would like to have my wedding in the evening. Well, on that specific day, the Catering Manager lets me know that they have an $8,000 minimum. This means, they will not let me book that date unless I guarantee to pay $8,000 in food and beverage BEFORE tax and service charge. From this example, you can clearly see why I am not going to be able to book this venue with a $10,000 total wedding budget.
Generally, minimums range from highest to lowest in this order:
- Saturday evening
- Friday/Sunday evening
- Saturday late morning/afternoon
- Weekdays (and these are becoming very popular and venues will give you amazing deals!! So go with a Thursday evening and you can have a long weekend...just a quick tip!)
I know that was a TON of information, so here is a quick recap of what you need to do before scheduling any tours!!
1. Your Wedding Date
5. Schedule 2-5 venue tours (maximum!)
I don't want to overwhelm you since that is the exact opposite of the purpose of this blog, so tomorrow we will continue the venue talk and discuss what to expect at a venue tour, what questions you must ask, and when you should put down your deposit and reserve your date!