Choosing Your Wedding Venue

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Lewis Family Farms barn 2(1)

Picking a site for your wedding or special event is almost as important as the event itself. The venue you choose will say much about you so it should reflect your tastes and what you wish to experience on your big day!

I am going to focus on wedding sites for this post, but these suggestions can be applied to any special event like a landmark birthday party, non profit fundraiser, or anniversary celebration.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. In what time (or season) of the year do I want to be married?

2. What is my budget?

3. How many guests do I want to invite?

4. How much time do I have to devote to planning and managing my wedding?

5. What are my personal tastes and preferences?

The time of year you want to get married in is significant if you are thinking about an outdoor venue, such as a botanical garden or barn. There are challenges to hosting an event in those locations, especially in early spring (rain!) or early fall (brrr!). When the sun goes down at the end of the day, your choice of venue will need to have heat ready to go, even if it is just portable gas lanterns. I’ve worked outdoor weddings where many guests left early simply because it got too cold! Indoor locations have no worries about the weather but you can definitely have an outdoor event that is comfortable if you do your homework. Having a wedding planner is crucial when choosing a rustic venue so that all the bases can be covered!

Your budget will definitely have an impact on the venue you choose. Do some research on the locations of your choice and see where they fall with pricing. Hotel or country club weddings can run upwards of $100 per person, especially with an open bar. You can tailor a smaller venue, such as a boutique bed and breakfast or consider a (nice) church banquet hall to bring pricing more in line. Most venues will require you to use their food and beverage services. The exception to this may be barn venues which are sometimes more open to you bringing a favorite caterer.

Table at Cuttings

The guest count is important to your locale choice. Too many people squashed into a venue is no fun. There needs to be room for dancing and a good time. Alternately, you don’t want TOO big, because you want the room to be cozy. And remember, count on 15%-20% of your guest list to decline because no date is good for everyone! (Remember to send those SAVE THE DATE postcards at least six months in advance!)

How busy are you? Do you have time to devote to researching and creating your own decorations or flowers? Do you want to be at the venue the morning of your wedding or the night before hanging your own colorful pinwheels or laying tablecloths? I would rather see a bride who has a smaller wedding, thus affording herself availability of services that would do the decorating or any other readying for her. The bride and her family should have a morning of carefree serenity rather than dealing with the stress of managing or handling any last minute decorating or emergency issues.

What are your tastes? Do you love modern, traditional, or rustic? Based on your budget and how you answered the previous questions, a clear choice should emerge. Think calmly and patiently about your day. Envision yourself in your dress, with your groom, among your surroundings. What is your dream? List your options, the positive and the negative of each venue you’re thinking of. Make your choice and engage a planner to help you through all the details.

A wedding planner who is thoroughly knowledgeable about the indoor and outdoor venue options of your city or area is an asset and well worth the investment. Saving you countless hours of research and exhausting leg work, I can help you focus on what’s important and at what location those wishes can become a reality.

Michelene on Staircase

 Give me a call and let’s talk about your big day! 412-498-1607

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Posted on April 25, 2014 in IDEAs!, Katherine's Daughter, Katherine's Daughter Events, Wedding Planning Pittsburgh, Weddings Pittsburgh

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