Selecting a venue is one of the most important decisions a bride makes. Your venue - be it a rustic barn, an elegant plantation or a breezy beach - sets the wedding's tone, style and budget.
1. Be armed with information. "One of the most important things to understand before venue shopping is how the costs are calculated, and what is included in each fee. Be sure to ask if there are any rentals - chairs, tables, or tents - included. What part of the property will you have access to? Is there power, water, and parking available? While these may seem like simple questions, they can make all the difference."
2. Verify vendor requirements. "Find out if there are any vendor relationships you are required to uphold. For example, do you have to use their food and beverage service, and do they require a coordinator? If so, find out which packages are required, and which rental companies or florists you'll be working with. As the bride, it's your obligation to get the specific details upfront, so you can then build an informed budget."
3. Establish a timeline. "Determine when your vendors can set up, how long your event will last, and when you will need to leave the facility. Condensed timeframes and limiting conditions - think lack of elevator, flights of stairs, lack of kitchen, or lack of power - can all add to your budget."
4. Make a back-up plan for rain. "If you are looking at outdoor venues, this step is a must. Before signing any contracts, ask about an indoor space or plan of action in case of inclement weather. Even if you're choosing an indoor or covered venue, you need to evaluate how rain could affect and inconvenience arriving guests, and make a game plan."
5. Talk about insurance. "Insurance is something we never want to use, but making sure your vendors and location carry liability insurance is important. As the bride, you may want to take out a one day policy, so you can sleep knowing you have covered all the bases to ensure a great day."