Finding the right wedding venue takes a lot of time and research and can often be one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding. Your choice of wedding venue sets the scene for your whole wedding and is one of the first decisions you will make about your big day. Before you sign on the dotted line, here are six important things to consider before you decide on a wedding venue.
Look at how many people you're planning to invite to your wedding versus the number of people the venue can comfortably cater for. A crowded reception can be quite uncomfortable and if a venue is too large, it can affect the atmosphere and the overall look and feel of your wedding day. Put an initial guest list together before you start venue shopping so that you can make a better decision.
Alcohol is a big part of a wedding day so it's important to find out whether you can bring your own alcohol or if the venue will supply the drinks. Since you will also need a licensed bartender to serve alcohol, find out whether the venue can assist with this so that you can factor those costs into your final budget. If you want to host an alcohol-free wedding, there are a variety of options. Mundi Ross, co-owner of ALMAGRE in Colorado Springs suggests exploring beverages beyond just alcohol and make sure to ask your venues if they have any unique or fun offerings, "At ALMAGRE, we offer a variety of Build Your Owns including Lemonade, Italian Soda, and Hot Chocolate. A wedding doesn’t just have to be beer and wine. Have some fun!"
You are going to be working with several different vendors in the time leading up to and on your wedding day. Many venues require that you only use vendors on their preferred vendors list. It's a good idea to confirm before booking. If they do work with specific vendors, make sure you're happy with their experience, style, personality, and pricing. When a venue works with preferred vendors, it means they're confident in their experience and ability to deliver. However, it's also important to choose vendors that fit within your budget and overall preferences.
Location and Accessibility
Difficulty finding a venue can put a damper on your guests' experience well before the celebration even begins. If your guests are coming from out of town, choosing a venue that has accommodation on site or hotels and restaurants in close proximity is desirable. Consider the needs of all of your guests; accessibility for relatives or friends in wheelchairs or with special needs are important. Make sure ramps and elevators are easily accessible to wherever you will be, and that there are flat walkways to any outdoor space you are considering. You could also consider chartering a shuttle bus, particularly if the venue is far away from the hotels where most guests are staying. This option also works well if the reception isn't walking distance from the wedding itself.
It's important to find out what is included with the rental of your venue. Ask about tables, chairs, linens, signage, setup/cleaning crew and even parking! You likely can save money if you use what's already on site. If furniture is included, you'll want to make sure that it works with your vision and personal style. Victoria from Happy Lamb Weddings says, "It can be a stress-saver to have a venue that rolls all of your costs into one, as opposed to having to seek out multiple vendors or worry about the clean up of the venue afterward."
Weather Policy and Back-up Plan
Outdoor weddings in Colorado are seriously the best, but ask questions about what the backup plan might be and if reserving it will be an additional fee. Unfortunate weather can happen any day, even in summer months! Most outdoor venues will have some type of indoor space, but don't forget to ask if it'll be large enough for all of your guests or if they will have it available on your wedding day. It may cost a little more money to make sure space is available, but it is worth it. You will appreciate having the backup space!