Congrats! You are engaged! You are probably so excited and just cannot wait for that one day you have (let’s be honest} been dreaming about most of your life. Or at least since you knew it was getting serious with that one special person.
But now what?
I will remind you, I am not a professional event planner. Just a soon to be bride who is planning her own wedding. I knew the first thing we needed to do was find the venue and secure a date. We had an idea on what time of the year we would like the wedding to be in but knew we would have to be flexible depending on the venue availability. (Also keep in mind I am a Covid bride, so it does have its extra challenges).
*** BUT FIRST: BUDGET: my one advice. Do not go on debt or spend all your savings. Yes it is a special day and yes of course you want it to be perfect, but in the end what will matter are the “I do’s” not the amount spent or florals or the cake or the decor. There is ways to make every budget work!
I will talk more about using the knot for creating your wedding website and using all of its tools. However since I am sharing about budgeting I want to share how awesome their budget tool is! It has been so useful to keep track of all payments and making sure we actually stick to it.
After calculating your budget and knowing how much you are willing to spend on venues it is time to figure out how many guests are you planning on inviting. Each venue is unique and a lot depends on the guest number. Some venues are meant for smaller, more intimate weddings. While some others are meant to hold a higher number of guests. The Knot is a great place to find options. But also if you follow wedding instagram pages, or even photographers in your area, that is also a good place to see their tagged venues and see real wedding photos at each place. Here are some Instagram accounts I follow:
We narrowed it down to around 8 venues. ( I will share them in upcoming venue post).
You have to consider that some might do their own catering and bar services, some ask you to choose from a specific list of vendors ( ours had 8 different catering options), some are just charging you for the venue itself with nothing included ( no tables, no chairs, etc…). So it is important to see what works best for your budget and for what you have in mind for your special day.
Something else that was important for us was the location of the venue, parking space (able to fit all guests), includes most furniture (tables and chairs) and has plenty of indoor emergency options in case of bad weather (this one I am praying we don’t need! A rainy engagement was fun, but I want a sunny wedding!) There will be some things you have to give up. We went with our venue because it had more good things than not. What I mean is that it is truly a beautiful place, has covered areas, we get the whole place for ourselves, has wonderful getting ready areas, BUT we had to pick one of their suggested catering vendors and most Saturdays were already booked. So we might be having a Friday wedding but we came to the conclusion that a Friday is better than a Sunday because it is easier for people to get off half a day Friday than ask for a Monday or drive late on a Sunday night.
But schedule tours at as many venues as you want and ask as many questions as you need. There are no stupid questions when you are making sure the place that will host one your special day is the perfect fit for you! Another good way of seeing venues are open houses but that is for another post.
It may take a lot of considering facts or it may be love at first sight like it was for me!
Happy venue hunting!