The Diva's Guide: Selecting Your Wedding Venue

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Almost every bride and groom has got an idea of their ‘dream wedding’… Whether it be the location, the colors, the style of wedding and even the venue.

As a wedding planner, over the years, I have found that despite the bride & groom knowing ‘what’ they want – they don’t really know how ‘feasible’ it is to plan a wedding at XYZ venue, because they haven’t got the facts sorted out.

These guide lines can be used for any type of wedding; however, I will be making references to Indian weddings along the way.

Step 1 : What Kind of Wedding Do You Want ?

I’d suggest sitting down with your fiancé, and short listing ideas on exactly what kind of wedding you both want.

  • Is the wedding going to take place in your home town, or are you thinking about a destination wedding?
    • City weddings tend to be restricted to hotels and banquet halls.
    • Destination weddings can sometimes work out more cost effective.

  • How many wedding functions are you going to have?
    • The typical Indian wedding has no less than 3 main functions – so what locations / venues will you be having them in?

  • How many guests are you expecting at the wedding?
    • Start preparing your guest list so that you have a tentative head count of the total number of guests.
    • If the wedding is taking place in your home city, and if the majority of the guests are from the same city – you can expect 75% attendance (even if it is just for a meet & greet at the reception).
    • If you are paying for your guests at a destination wedding (i.e paying for their accommodation); you can expect 50% attendance (most people will pay for their flights – it’s like having a mini-holiday).

  • And the most important factor to consider is what is the BUDGET you have for your wedding venue?
    • Who is paying for the wedding? Are you paying? Are your parents paying for the wedding?
    • Make sure you shop around and get an estimate of rates for venues before selecting a venue.

EDITOR'S NOTE: You may also want to check out "the Diva's Guide to Wedding Budgets".

Step 2 : Site Inspection

It’s imperative that you visit the venues you are considering for your wedding. Have you attended weddings there before? The banquet managers or the wedding coordinators at the venue would be able to assist you with any of your queries.

  • Take your camera along – and photograph the venue. This will help you stay focused when comparing 10 or more locations.

  • Are there any restrictions at the venue?
    • Hotels tend not to allow outside catering (or alcohol) wherein some banquet alls allow you to bring in your own caterer and alcohol (there might be a corkage).

  • Does the venue have their own panel of florists and decorators? Are you able to use your own decorators?

  • What is the natural decor of the venue? Does it suit your taste?

  • Make sure you ask for a floor plan so that you can cross check / sketch out areas that you’d like to use for the bar, stage, seating, buffet etc.

Step 3 : Weighing Out the Options

Get your excel sheets ready (or if you prefer old school methods – get your note pads out) and start weighing out the pros and cons of each of the venues available to you. Some of the factors to consider include :

  • Are the venues available on the ‘date’ that you want?
  • Cost per head for meals (including crockery, cutlery, minimum guarantees).
  • Cost of alcohol for your desired brands that you will be serving.
  • What time do you have access to the venue from?
  • How long does your decorator require to do up the venue?
  • Any restrictions at the venue.
  • Venue accessibility – can your guests get there without too much difficulty? (In a city like Mumbai – that’s the key factor to consider!)
  • What kind of deposits are required? What is the payment schedule like?
  • Are there any hidden costs within the contract?

Step 4 : Block & Secure Your Space

  • Unless you begin venue finding at least 6 months prior to your wedding date – it’s unlikely your dream venue will be available. If you do find a venue that suits your needs, but still want to keep your options open – then make sure you pay a refundable deposit to secure the venue.

  • You don’t want to be left in a situation where you have NO venues that you desire… it’s always better to pay the deposit – keep your options open and then make a final decision. This way there is always a back-up plan!

  • Most venues, when giving out a proposal, will hold the dates for you on their reservation system for 2-3 weeks. During this time make sure you establish a rapport with the coordinator of the venue, because this is one person who is going to be able to get things done for you!

So there you have it folks – a quick guide on how to select your wedding venue!

Just remember to make your wish list so that you can cross-check your desires with what is actually available in the city/ destination of your choice.

I hope these tips come in handy for you – and if you feel like sharing any additional pointers, please feel free to do so.

Picture Credits: Google Images

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