After choosing a wedding date, selecting a wedding location is the next major decision you’ll make in your early wedding planning stages. Again, this place should make you and your fiancé both feel comfortable and “at home”.
Here are some questions to help narrow down your decision:
- If you’re planning a summer wedding, will you have the wedding ceremony outdoors? The wedding reception? Is a beach wedding your dream setting? (Or a park, castle, etc.?)
- Are you planning to have your ceremony in a Church or other religious setting? If so, be sure to choose a reception site that makes sense for you and your guests. If there is excessive travel time from one venue to the next, consider providing a shuttle bus between sites.
- Choose at least two or three top sites, as availability may vary depending on your wedding date. If you’re really set on a specific venue, you may have to be a bit more flexible with the date — and planning early will definitely ensure more choices.
- Are any marriage courses or other courses required of the couple prior to the wedding day?
- Will the venue be available a day or two before the wedding for a ceremony rehearsal?
- In the case of warm-weather weddings, is air conditioning available? (Is this included in the reservation price?)
- Are the any restrictions for musical pieces that can be performed?
- Can outside musicians be hired for the wedding?
As you visit each potential site, record each of the following:
- Site Name
- Contact Name
- Phone Number
- Website and Email Address
- Maximum Number of Guests
- Deposit Amount Required
- Reservation and Cancellation Policies
- Restrictions (if any)
TIP: If you are planning to have the wedding outdoors, make sure to confirm with the venue that there is a backup plan for holding the wedding indoors in the case of inclement weather. If you are planning a park wedding etc. on your own, make sure that you have your own backup plan in the case of bad weather – whether moving it to a relative’s home indoors, a local hotel, etc.
For reception sites, also inquire as to whether there is a preferred vendor list available for clients – if so, ask for one even if you don’t end up booking the site. This is a good way to begin researching caterers, musicians and other local professionals for your wedding.