Picking your wedding venue can be a fun, yet challenging ordeal. If you haven’t had a chance to read my previous blog post where I briefly touched on preparing for your wedding (ie: setting your budget and identifying your guest list), I encourage you to do so!
Venues come in all shapes and sizes and here in Vancouver, you definitely have your fair share of options to choose from. Perhaps your idea of a dream venue overlooks the water with a sunset to follow, or perhaps it is located in a quaint, rustic building of historical significance. Regardless of what you have envisioned, here are a couple of tips I would recommend when you are in the process of venue shopping.
Read The Fine Print
As stated in my previous post, it is very important to work within the boundaries you have established with your guest list and budget. After deciding on a set number, it will determine which venues are most feasible for your big day. From experience, venue websites will provide two numbers when addressing guest sizes: The number of seated guests and the number of standing guests they can accommodate. Smaller venues such as the Tea Room at Stanley Park, for example, will clearly state that they can provide for “up to 60 seated guests or 160 guests for cocktail style events”. For a larger party, perhaps a location such as the UBC Boathouse would make more sense (192 for cocktails, 150 seated). My advice is to carefully read the fine print and not to be too drawn to the venue or committed emotionally until you know for sure it can seat everyone comfortably. I have attended standing weddings before and, trust me, it gets really tiring!
Requesting A Quote
Quotes are very important when it comes to wedding planning – especially if you have a longer engagement. Prices change due to inflation annually, so even though you see an approximate cost today, it might go up tomorrow. When venue hunting, make sure you ask the right questions: Do you need to hire your own caterers? Is there a usable kitchen on site? Is there equipment set up for audio and visuals (ie: speakers, big screens, and projectors)? Does the venue work with specific decorators? And, most importantly, do I have to provide my own alcohol? Most venue contacts should be able to give you a complete rundown of what you need to know before booking, but establish your expectations and have them quote you on the plan. Also, make sure it is all on paper!
I would recommend shopping around to at least 3-5 venues just so you can have an idea of the price range which you can set aside with your budget. After deciding the venue, confirm and reconfirm that the venue has your name and number booked for your wedding day. I have heard too many horror stories where a venue is double-booked because someone failed to pencil the bride and groom in. Another scenario is the booking calendar actually going missing! But that is a story for another post. I digress. Good luck venue hunting. I hope these tips come in handy!