lj-dylan09There are many important decisions to be made when you start planning your wedding. One of the biggest is choosing your venue. Today you can have a wedding almost anywhere from hotel ballrooms and museums to barns or restored factories. Some couples choose venues with sentimental significance like a hometown church or place on their college campus while others want an idyllic outdoor space or something more regal. When looking for your perfect venue, don’t be afraid to be creative. There are very few places that won’t consider renting space for weddings.

There are two major types venue rentals. The first is a venue where you bring in all of your own vendors (or choose them off a preferred vendors list), and the venue contract really just includes the space and potentially some tables and chairs. The second is a venue that is connected to a restaurant or caterer. These types of venues usually have a minimal space rental fee but require a food and beverage minimum for the evening.

Here are a few other things to consider as you start your research:

  • Will your ceremony and reception be in the same location? If not, close proximity is always a plus.
  • How many guests does your venue need to accomodate? Do you need room for a sit down dinner for all of your guests or will you have a buffet or cocktail style reception?
  • Do you need space for a cocktail hour before dinner?
  • Do you want a venue with outdoor space?
  • How big of a dance floor would you like to have?

Once you have narrowed down your search and start touring venues, here are some questions you might want to ask:

  • Do you have a preferred or required vendors list?
  • What is included with the rental (tables, chairs, linens, lighting, etc.)?
  • What fees does the venue charge on top of the rental fee (service charge, tax, setup, breakdown, etc.)
  • How does parking work?
  • How many hours is the rental? What is the rate to add additional time if needed?
  • Can I see photos of how different couples have transformed the space?

Your venue will likely be one of the highest priced items in your budget, so always make sure to negotiate!

Photo by Lacey Dellapace for Scobey Photography