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How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues

Navigating the wedding venue dilemma? Stuck between two gorgeous spots to say "I do?" Dive in as we break down ambiance, logistics, and photo-worthy moments, guiding lovebirds to find that magical place to kick off their forever journey. Your dream backdrop awaits!

Hey, lovebirds! Ever found yourself daydreaming about your big day, only to realize that the picture-perfect venue in your mind has split into two?

Yep, we’ve all been there.

Finding that venue is like finding the dress; it’s got to be just right. Whether it’s an elegant manor that speaks of timeless love or a trendy loft with urban vibes, the choice isn’t easy.

But don’t you worry your soon-to-be-wedded head! We’ve crafted the ultimate guide to help you weigh, compare, and decide.

From ambiance and logistics to those nitty-gritty contract details, we’re diving deep. So grab a comfy seat, maybe a celebratory drink (or two), and let’s embark on this venue-choosing adventure together.

Ready to find the backdrop to the most magical day of your life? Let’s go!

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    From Rustic Barns to Grand Halls: Choosing Your Wedding Venue Like a Pro!

    When comparing two wedding venues, here are some handy tips to ensure you make the best choice for your big day (Ps. Don’t worry, we’ll dive into even more detail after this):

    • Cost Comparison: Beyond just the basic rental fee, inquire about any hidden or additional costs. This includes charges for overtime, additional guests, or use of specific venue amenities.

    • Capacity: Ensure both venues can comfortably accommodate your guest list, with a little room for unexpected plus ones.

    • Location Accessibility: Consider how easy it is for guests to reach each venue, especially if they’re traveling from afar. Think about proximity to airports, hotels, and public transportation.

    • Vendor Flexibility: While some venues offer in-house services, others might allow you to bring in your own vendors. Determine which model works best for you and your budget.

    • Ambiance & Decor: Each venue will have its own vibe. Think about how much decorating each space will need to align with your wedding theme.

    • Included Amenities: Some venues might include tables, chairs, linens, and even sound equipment in the rental fee. Others might charge extra or require you to rent from elsewhere.

    • Weather Contingency: If either venue has an outdoor element, ensure there’s a solid backup plan in case of inclement weather.

    • Restrictions: Check if any of the venues have restrictions, like sound ordinances after a certain hour, alcohol limits, or even photography flash restrictions.

    • Parking & Transportation: Ensure there’s ample parking space, or if not, check if there are viable transportation alternatives or valet services.

    • Staff & Service: Consider the quality and reputation of the staff at each venue. Good service can significantly influence the overall experience.

    • Visit at Different Times: If possible, visit the venues at the exact time your wedding would be held. This gives you a sense of lighting, ambiance, and potential external noise factors.

    • Feedback & Reviews: Read reviews and maybe even chat with couples who’ve previously used the venues. They can provide insights that you might not have considered.

    • Contract Clauses: Thoroughly go through the contract of each venue. Look for clauses related to cancellations, damages, and deposits.

    • Personal Connection: Lastly, trust your gut! Sometimes, even if all logical boxes are ticked, you might just feel more connected or comfortable with one venue over the other.

    These are just some of the basic things to consider when deciding on a wedding venue. There are so many more factors to take into account when making this important decision, and in this post, we delve deeper into these.

    So buckle up and explore more things to take into account when making your final decision!

    Pro Tip: Armed with the tips in this post, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision that aligns with your wedding dreams and practical necessities. Also, don’t forget about your new best friend: The printable wedding venue workbook! Find that perfect wedding venue, plan out your budget thoroughly, make lists of rentals and suppliers, allocate accommodation for your wedding party and VIP guest, and tons more, all contained in over 45 pages of print-ready goodness!

    1. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    1. Setting the Scene: Ambiance & Vibe

    Alright, let’s kick things off with the fun stuff — setting the mood!

    The ambiance and vibe of a venue are like the soundtrack to your love story. Do you envision a whimsical garden party with fairy lights twinkling above, or are you leaning more towards an industrial-chic vibe with exposed brick and Edison bulbs? Maybe you’re dreaming of a beachy boho vibe with sand between your toes.

    Whatever it is, tap into how each venue makes you feel.

    The vibe should match not just the wedding you’ve always imagined, but also the essence of you two as a couple.

    The First Impression

    Alright, let’s get real. You know that feeling when you walk into a place and think, “Yep, this is it!”? That’s exactly what we’re talking about here.

    Sure, ticking off the practical checklist is super important (no one wants a wedding where guests are crammed like sardines), but let’s not forget that instant vibe.

    Whether it’s the cozy charm that wraps around you like your favorite blanket or that exciting buzz that’s got your heart doing the cha-cha, that first emotional hit is key.

    Nature vs. Architecture

    Picture this: the natural splendor of a lush garden meets the chic vibes of a swanky ballroom. It’s like when city glam meets countryside chill.

    Finding a venue that blends the best of both worlds can be like hunting for that perfect pair of jeans—challenging but oh-so-rewarding when you nail it. You want those stunning sunset photos with wind-tousled hair, but also a fancy chandelier overhead when you’re breaking it down on the dance floor.

    It’s all about that sweet spot where Mother Nature’s artistry and human-made luxe vibes coexist in harmony. Think of it as the ultimate wedding venue cocktail—just the right mix, shaken, not stirred!

    Lighting Matters

    Okay, let’s chat lighting. Ever taken a selfie during that magical golden hour and thought, “Dang, I look good!”?

    That’s the power of natural daylight. It bathes everything in this dreamy, golden glow, making your wedding photos look like they’ve jumped straight out of a Pinterest board.

    But then, in the evening, there’s the allure of twinkling fairy lights, candles flickering, and a starlit sky. It’s intimate, romantic, and screams “dance the night away.”

    Both vibes have their perks. So, are you team sun-kissed daytime or team starry-eyed nighttime? Whatever you pick, make sure you’re ready for some Instagram-worthy moments!

    2. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    Seasonal Vibes

    Seasonal wardrobe changes—but for venues!

    In the summer, maybe the gardens burst into a riot of colors, perfect for sipping cocktails and playing lawn games. Fast forward to winter, and perhaps that same spot turns into a snowy wonderland, where you can cozy up with hot cocoa by a crackling fire.

    Every season has its own flavor, its own vibe. So, when scoping out a venue, think about its year-round potential.

    Themed Thoughts

    Some spots are like a blank canvas, ready to be splashed with whatever theme your heart’s set on, while others have such a strong character that they kinda dictate the theme for you.

    So, when you’re doing the venue rounds, take a minute to visualize. Can you see it rocking that rustic barn look or turning into a sleek, modern masterpiece?

    Acoustic Atmosphere

    When you’re scouting that venue, do a little sound check. Clap, laugh, chat. Heck, even bring along a Bluetooth speaker and play a tune. Let’s make sure the venue’s acoustics are set to make every moment sound just right.

    Intimate vs. Grandiose

    Some venues are all about those close-knit, huddle-together vibes, making every moment feel like a big group hug. Meanwhile, others scream grandeur, where the ceilings seem to touch the sky, and there’s enough space for Aunt Karen’s wild dance moves.

    Whatever your pick, just ensure the size matches your guest list and your dream vibe.

    Furniture and Fixtures

    Okay, so you know when you walk into a cafe, and just from the vibe of the chairs and tables, you can tell if it’s a “sip your coffee slowly while reading a book” kind of place or a “quick grab-n-go espresso shot” joint? That’s the power of seating and tables, folks!

    When it comes to your venue, these aren’t just practical items; they’re mood-setters.

    Plush armchairs? Hello, cozy, intimate conversations. Long, grand banquet tables? Cue the opulent feast vibes.

    And decor? That’s like the cherry on top. Throw in some fairy lights, and you’ve got an instant magical wonderland. Drape some elegant fabric, and suddenly, it feels like a royal ball. It’s all about playing around and seeing what mix gives you the feels.

    3. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    2. Location, Location, Location!

    Picking a venue’s location is kinda like choosing where to put down roots for a plant. You want that sweet spot where guests won’t need to trek through the Amazon to get there, but it’s also unique enough to make folks go, “Wow, how’d they find this gem?”

    Think about the journey—do you want a place nearby for convenience, or is the allure of a destination shindig calling your name?

    Also, consider what’s around. Maybe it’s near that cute little ice cream parlor where you had your first date, or perhaps it boasts epic sunset views.

    Location sets the tone, kickstarts the adventure, and trust me, when Aunt Marge doesn’t get lost on the way, she’ll be in a much better mood to boogie down at the reception!

    Accessibility is Key

    When it comes to the main event, you want your guests to arrive with ease and a smile on their faces. That’s where location comes in, and boy, does it matter!

    Picture this: your dreamy beachfront venue might be drop-dead gorgeous, but if it’s a hassle for everyone to get there, you might just have a bunch of cranky beachgoers.

    Here’s the scoop: focus on three key points. Consider the parking situation—is there ample parking space for all your loved ones’ cars? Think about the travel time—how long will it take for guests to reach the venue, especially during traffic hours? And don’t forget about public transportation—is the venue accessible by buses, trains, or rideshares? This is especially true when it comes to city venues.

    It’s all about finding that balance between your dream location and guest convenience. Remember, when Aunt Sue is able to navigate there without a treasure map, she’ll be ready to dance the night away without any complaints!

    Neighborhood Vibes

    Before you lock in that venue, take a quick tour of its surroundings.

    What’s the neighborhood like? Are there cool cafes, parks, or shops nearby? Think about your guests—can they explore and have some fun when they’re not busy celebrating?

    Check out the local vibe and safety factor too. A happening neighborhood can add an extra layer of excitement to your wedding weekend, making it more than just a one-day event.

    So, go ahead, add ‘neighboring gems’ to your venue checklist!

    Accommodations Around

    When the night winds down, your guests shouldn’t have to embark on a cross-country trek to find a comfy bed. This is where nearby accommodations step in and become the unsung heroes of your celebration.

    When you’re comparing venues, don’t underestimate the power of convenience. Having hotels, charming B&Bs, and cozy guest houses just a stone’s throw away can make all the difference.

    Natural Beauty vs. Cityscape

    Choosing between a venue surrounded by nature’s wonders and one nestled amidst the urban hustle can feel like picking between hiking boots and stilettos.

    The natural beauty promises open skies, romantic sunsets, and maybe even a waterfall backdrop for your vows. On the flip side, a cityscape setting offers dazzling lights, towering skylines, and a dash of metropolitan glamour.

    It’s all about the atmosphere you envision.

    4. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    Proximity to Key Spots

    When you’re comparing two venues, think about what’s nearby. Are there Insta-worthy spots for your pre-wedding photoshoot? How about a charming cafe for a relaxed brunch with your squad the morning after?

    Consider the convenience factor—whether it’s a quick trip to your favorite park or an easy drive to the best photo ops in town.

    It’s like having little bonus features that make your wedding journey even more memorable.

    Safety and Security

    When comparing venues, take a moment to consider the safety aspect. Are the grounds well-lit for evening celebrations? Is there a backup plan in case of unexpected weather? Are there measures in place to handle emergencies?

    A venue that prioritizes the well-being of you and your loved ones adds an extra layer of peace to your special day. So, make sure that while you’re dancing the night away, your worries are left far behind!

    Venue Exclusivity

    Having the place all to your wedding crew means no sharing the dance floor with strangers or photo bombs by random tourists. It’s your day, and you deserve to own the spotlight.

    From heartfelt vows to hilarious toasts, you’ll create memories that are just for you and your loved ones if one of your main deciding factors is exclusivity.

    Local Vendors and Services

    When comparing venues, think about the access you’ll have to nearby vendors and services. Are there talented florists, bakers, and photographers who know the venue well?

    Local pros bring not only their expertise but also a deep understanding of the space’s quirks and charms. Plus, it can simplify logistics and communication, and reduce travel costs, making your planning process a harmonious melody.

    5. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    3. Diving into the Details: Logistics

    Alright, so you’ve found a venue that gives you all the heart eyes 😍. But now, it’s time to pop the hood and check out the engine—yep, we’re talking logistics.

    Think of it as the backstage crew that makes sure the main act runs without a glitch. How’s the parking situation? Are we talking spacious lot or a Tetris challenge? And hey, what about restrooms? Trust me, you don’t want a queue longer than the one for the latest iPhone release.

    If you’re thinking of having a weekend-long bash, how close is the nearest hotel or BnB? Dive into these nitty-gritty details, ’cause they’re the unsung heroes that ensure your big day goes off smoother than a fresh jar of peanut butter

    Venue Layout & Flow

    When comparing venues, envision the flow of your celebration. Does it have a logical sequence from ceremony to reception, or will your guests feel like they’re navigating a maze?

    Consider how spaces connect, the ease of transitions, and the comfort of your guests as they move from one moment to the next. A well-designed layout ensures that your day unfolds seamlessly, allowing you to enjoy every cherished moment without worrying about logistical hiccups.

    Guest Capacity & Comfort

    Your wedding is a grand gathering of loved ones, so their comfort and happiness are top priorities.

    When comparing venues, consider the guest capacity—will it comfortably accommodate everyone on your list without feeling overcrowded? A space that’s too snug can put a damper on the festivities.

    Alongside capacity, think about comfort. Are there ample seating and space for mingling? Is the venue well-equipped for various weather conditions?

    Facilities Check

    Are the facilities clean and well-maintained? Is there a prep area for catering? And if your cousin’s band is planning a surprise performance, are there proper sound and lighting arrangements?

    A venue that ticks all these boxes ensures that your day runs smoothly from behind the scenes.

    Tech Talk

    In a world where memories are captured in pixels and shared via screens, tech considerations are a must for your wedding day.

    When comparing venues, dive into the tech details. Does the venue have proper electrical outlets and wiring for lighting and sound equipment? Are there backup power sources in case of unexpected glitches? And for all those Instagram-worthy moments, is there reliable Wi-Fi to keep your virtual guests in the loop?

    Tech hiccups can put a pause on the celebration, so ensuring the venue is up to speed with your tech needs guarantees that your wedding day will be flawlessly captured, shared, and cherished for years to come.

    Setup & Breakdown

    Timeframes and rules: When can your team begin decorating, and by when should everything be cleared?

    Are there designated spaces for vendors to prep? Is the venue team experienced in transforming the space to match your vision? And once the final dance is danced, how seamless is the breakdown process?

    A venue that offers a smooth setup and teardown means you can focus on being a radiant bride or groom, leaving the nitty-gritty to the pros.

    Staffing & Support

    Behind every enchanting wedding is a team of dedicated individuals who ensure your day unfolds like a fairy tale. When comparing venues, consider the staffing and support that come with the package.

    Are there experienced event coordinators who will guide you through the planning process and orchestrate the big day? Is the service staff attentive and professional, ready to cater to your guests’ needs?

    Emergency Protocols

    Weddings are joyful celebrations, but it’s always smart to have a plan in case the unexpected shows up.

    Are there first aid kits readily available? Is the staff trained to handle unforeseen situations?

    Whether it’s a minor hiccup or a more serious concern, a venue with solid emergency plans provides peace of mind.

    Catering Facilities

    Food is an integral part of your wedding celebration, and the catering facilities can make or break the dining experience.

    When comparing venues, examine the catering setup. Is there a spacious kitchen for your chosen caterer to work their culinary magic? Do they offer options for dietary restrictions and varied menu choices?

    A venue with top-notch catering facilities means you’ll be serving up not only delicious dishes but also a memorable dining journey for your guests.

    6. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    Alcohol & Beverage Policies

    Whether you’re toasting with champagne or having a mocktail moment, the alcohol and beverage policies at your chosen venue play a significant role.

    Are they flexible with bringing in your own signature drinks? Do they have a well-stocked bar that caters to your preferences? What about glassware?

    From craft cocktails to bubbly toasts, a venue that aligns with your beverage desires guarantees a spirited celebration that keeps the good times flowing!

    Load-In & Load-Out Routes

    When comparing venues, consider the load-in and load-out routes. Are there accessible entrances for vendors to bring in equipment and decorations? Is there ample space for delivery trucks without causing traffic jams?

    A venue with well-planned load-in and load-out routes means that the behind-the-scenes hustle won’t disrupt the front-row glamour.

    Green Initiatives

    Love for the planet can extend to your wedding day too.

    Are they conscious of waste reduction and recycling? Do they offer sustainable catering options? A venue that aligns with your eco-friendly values allows you to celebrate your love while leaving a smaller carbon footprint.

    Contractual Nitty-Gritty

    When comparing venues, scrutinize the contractual nitty-gritty. Are they flexible with changes or modifications? Do they have clear policies on cancellations, payment schedules, and liability?

    A venue with a transparent and accommodating contract ensures that there are no surprises down the aisle. From rain-check clauses to what’s covered in the event of the unexpected, make sure your contract is like a map guiding you smoothly through your wedding adventure.

    Pro Tip: Armed with the tips in this post, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision that aligns with your wedding dreams and practical necessities. Also, don’t forget about your new best friend: The printable wedding venue workbook! Find that perfect wedding venue, plan out your budget thoroughly, make lists of rentals and suppliers, allocate accommodation for your wedding party and VIP guest, and tons more, all contained in over 45 pages of print-ready goodness!

    4. Money Talks: Budget Considerations

    Picking a wedding venue is kinda like shopping for a new outfit. Sure, that designer jacket looks fly, but can we also afford the shoes and the bag?

    When scoping out venues, it’s not just about the sticker price. Think about the extras: are chairs and tables included, or are they gonna cost you an arm and a leg? How about lighting?

    And remember, some venues have that sneaky “you-must-use-our-caterer” rule which might not be the friendliest on your wallet.

    It’s all about balance. You want to get the most bang for your buck without feeling like you’ve been taken for a ride. So, get those calculators out, ask the hard questions, and find that sweet spot where your dream vision meets your real-world budget!

    The Big Picture: Overall Cost

    In the grand tapestry of wedding planning, the budget takes center stage. When comparing venues, step back and consider the big picture: the overall cost. This goes beyond just the venue fee—think about additional costs like decor, catering, and entertainment.

    While it’s exciting to envision your dream day, being realistic about your budget ensures you can create magic without financial stress.

    A venue that aligns with your financial plan means you can focus on the joy of the celebration rather than crunching numbers. So, let your wedding vision shine brightly while keeping a watchful eye on the bottom line!

    Itemized Breakdown

    Think of your wedding budget as a puzzle, with each piece representing a different expense.

    When comparing venues, request an itemized breakdown. This lets you see exactly where your dollars are going, from venue rental to catering to decor.

    With this clear breakdown, you can decide where to splurge and where to save, ensuring your budget aligns perfectly with your priorities.

    Package Deals vs. À La Carte

    Package deals can simplify things, bundling venue, catering, and more. On the flip side, an à la carte option gives you the creative freedom to curate your celebration exactly as you envision.

    Whether you’re a package person or an à la carte enthusiast, it’s about finding a venue that offers the style of planning that fits your taste. So, choose the approach that makes your wedding planning journey a delight.

    Payment Schedules & Deadlines

    When comparing venues, get a grasp of the payment schedules and deadlines. Does the venue require a deposit upfront? Are there installment options or fixed deadlines for different payments?

    From the down payment to the final settlement, a venue with a clear payment plan keeps your financial dance in step with your wedding countdown

    Corkage & Outside Vendor Fees

    Are there charges for bringing in your own alcohol? Do they have fees for working with external vendors like photographers or florists?

    A venue with transparent policies about these fees ensures that you can plan without any unexpected financial surprises.

    7. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    Overtime Charges

    The celebration of love doesn’t always follow a strict schedule, and sometimes the party lingers longer than planned. When comparing venues, take a look at their overtime charges.

    Is there flexibility for extending the festivities? Are there additional fees if the dancing continues past the allocated time? A venue that offers reasonable overtime options ensures that your celebration doesn’t have to hit the brakes just as everyone’s getting into the groove.

    Cancellation & Rescheduling Policies

    When comparing venues, familiarize yourself with their cancellation and rescheduling policies. Life’s twists might require flexibility, so understanding how the venue handles changes can save you stress down the road.

    A venue with reasonable policies ensures that whether you’re postponing or shifting dates, your journey to “I do” remains smooth and stress-free.

    Insurance & Liability Costs

    Are there coverage options in case of accidents or damages?

    Understanding the venue’s stance on liability ensures you’re protected, giving you peace of mind on your special day.

    It’s like having an umbrella on a rainy day—you hope you won’t need it, but having it handy ensures you’re prepared for whatever comes your way.

    Discount Possibilities

    When comparing venues, explore discount possibilities. Do they offer special rates for off-peak seasons or weekdays? Are there promotions for booking well in advance?

    A venue with discounts can be a saving grace, allowing you to splurge on other dreamy elements of your celebration.

    Additional Amenities & Upgrades

    Consider the additional amenities and upgrades the venue offers. Do they have options for upgrading decor, lighting, or seating? Are there charming extras like a photo booth or a cozy lounge area?

    Taxes & Service Charges

    Behind every financial transaction is a story of taxes and service charges. When comparing venues, explore the fine print on these aspects.

    Are taxes and service charges included in the initial price or added on later? Understanding the breakdown ensures you’re not met with surprises when the final bill arrives.

    So, make sure you have a clear understanding of these financial nuances as you embark on your wedding adventure!

    Weddings can be pricey, but with clear budget considerations, you can ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money. Remember, it’s not about how much you spend, but how wisely you spend it.

    5. Snap Away: Photo Opportunities

    Your wedding venue isn’t just where you’ll say “I do”—it’s also the backdrop for those pics you’ll be showing off for, well, forever.

    Think about it: Do you want sunset selfies, a majestic staircase for that dramatic entrance shot, or maybe a quirky wall that screams “Instagram me!”? Some venues are like natural photo studios, with killer spots at every turn. Others might need a bit of creative vision.

    But hey, that’s the fun part! When touring, keep an eye out for those hidden gems—a cozy nook, a vintage doorway, or even a funky tiled floor.

    And always think about the lighting—golden hour romance, anyone?

    8. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    Scenic Spots & Backdrops

    Identifying the venue’s picturesque locations perfect for those frame-worthy shots.

    Indoor vs. Outdoor Options

    The versatility of the venue in offering both sheltered and open-air photo opportunities.

    Seasonal Settings

    How the venue transforms across seasons, offering snowy landscapes or blooming spring gardens.

    Dramatic Night Shots

    Considering spots for evening photos, whether it’s under string lights, by a fire pit, or with a starry backdrop.

    9. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    Bridal Party & Group Shots

    Spacious areas suitable for larger group photos without feeling cramped.

    Guest Candids

    Thinking about fun spots where guests can take their own memorable snaps, like photo booths or designated selfie corners.

    Pre-wedding & Rehearsal Scouting

    The value of visiting the venue beforehand to pinpoint desired photo locations and plan shots.

    Collaboration with Photographers

    Ensuring the venue allows flexibility for photographers to move around, use equipment, and possibly bring in additional lighting.

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    6. Comfort & Amenities

    So, you’ve got a venue that’s eye-candy central, but let’s talk creature comforts.

    Imagine showing up to a party in your killer heels, but there’s nowhere to sit. Or, what about that summer wedding dream but no fans or shade in sight?

    Bummer, right?

    Think of amenities as the unsung VIPs of your big day. From top-notch restrooms (because nobody wants a porta-potty disaster) to a chill-out zone for guests needing a breather, these details make all the difference.

    Maybe there’s a spot for a s’mores bar or a cozy fire pit corner?

    Remember, it’s all about keeping everyone comfy and in the party mood. The goal? Having your guests rave about your wedding shindig as “the one where they thought of everything!”

    Guest Facilities

    From restrooms to changing areas, ensuring guests have everything they need.

    Seating Arrangements

    Evaluating the quality and comfort of chairs, as well as options for different configurations.

    Climate Control

    Whether it’s air conditioning, heaters, or fans, making sure the venue is equipped for seasonal comfort.

    Accessibility Features

    Ramps, elevators, and other amenities ensuring inclusivity for guests with mobility challenges.

    Bridal Suite & Groom's Room

    Checking for private areas where the couple and bridal party can prepare or take a breather.

    10. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    Tech Amenities

    Wi-Fi access, charging stations, and any other tech-related facilities for guests.

    Outdoor Comforts

    If the venue has outdoor spaces, look into shaded areas, heaters for chilly nights, or mosquito netting for summer evenings.

    Child-Friendly Spaces

    Areas where younger guests can play or rest, possibly equipped with toys or games.

    Entertainment Amenities

    Dance floors, stages, or even karaoke setups that the venue might offer.

    Refreshment Stations

    Availability of spots like tea/coffee stations, water coolers, or mini snack bars for guests’ convenience.

    7. Tasty Delights: Catering & Menus

    Let’s be real, aside from seeing you tie the knot, half the fun for guests is diving into some scrumptious eats.

    Whether it’s a five-course gourmet affair or a backyard BBQ vibe you’re after, the grub’s got to hit the spot.

    When scoping out venues, get the lowdown on the food scene. Are they cool with you bringing in that food truck serving epic tacos? Or do they have an in-house chef that can whip up your grandma’s secret pasta recipe?

    And don’t forget the tasting sessions—because, hello, free date night!

    Dive deep into those menus, because the aim is to have plates licked clean and guests going for seconds… or thirds.

    On-site vs. Off-site Catering

    Understanding whether the venue requires using their in-house catering or if outside caterers are allowed.

    Taste Test Sessions

    The importance of sampling dishes beforehand and how to make the most of tasting appointments.

    11. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    Dietary Considerations

    Addressing vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or other dietary needs and restrictions.

    Beverage & Bar Services

    Examining the drinks menu, from signature cocktails to non-alcoholic beverages, and understanding corkage fees.

    Buffet vs. Plated Service

    Weighing the pros and cons of different serving styles and what might best suit your wedding’s vibe.

    Late-night Snacks & Stations

    Fun additions like a taco bar, pizza station, or dessert table for those late-night munchies.

    Cake & Dessert Options

    Whether the venue provides dessert services or if you need to bring in an external bakery.

    12. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    Staffing & Service Quality

    Gauging the professionalism and efficiency of the catering team during the event.

    Food and drink are often the heart and soul of any celebration. Ensuring that the catering at your wedding is both delightful to the palate and seamlessly executed can make a world of difference.

    8. Music & Entertainment Possibilities

    So, you’ve nailed the food and the venue’s looking snazzy, but what about the tunes and the fun stuff?

    Every epic wedding has those moments—the killer dance-offs, the surprise karaoke showdowns, or even that impromptu conga line.

    When checking out venues, think about the beat. Is there a killer spot for the band or DJ to set up? Can the space handle Uncle Bob’s enthusiastic air guitar solos? And if you’re dreaming of something unique, like a magic show or a fire-dancing display, does the venue give a thumbs up?

    Bottom line: you want a place that’s gonna let your party spirit shine, making sure your wedding is the talk of the town for all the right, dancey reasons!

    Live Band vs. DJ Space

    Understanding the designated spaces for musicians or DJs and any related stage setup requirements.

    Sound System & Equipment

    Delving into the available tech, from microphones to speakers, and their quality and coverage.

    Venue Noise Restrictions

    Being aware of any sound limits, especially in residential areas or venues with strict curfews.

    Dance Floor Dynamics

    The size, location, and quality of the dance floor, ensuring it’s spacious enough for guests to groove freely.

    13. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    Interactive Entertainment Areas

    Spaces suitable for photo booths, caricature artists, or other engaging entertainment options.

    Ambiance Enhancers

    Options like mood lighting, disco balls, or fog machines to elevate the entertainment atmosphere.

    Kids' Entertainment Corner

    Thinking about younger guests with setups like a mini movie area, games, or crafts stations.

    Backup Plans

    Preparations for unexpected challenges, like electrical issues or sudden weather changes, ensuring the party goes on.

    Licensing & Permissions

    Ensuring the venue has the necessary licenses for live music, alcohol, and other entertainment aspects.

    Pro Tip: Armed with the tips in this post, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision that aligns with your wedding dreams and practical necessities. Also, don’t forget about your new best friend: The printable wedding venue workbook! Find that perfect wedding venue, plan out your budget thoroughly, make lists of rentals and suppliers, allocate accommodation for your wedding party and VIP guest, and tons more, all contained in over 45 pages of print-ready goodness!

    9. Reviews, Feedback, & Reputation

    Alright, detective mode: ON! Before you go all-in on a venue, it’s time for a little online sleuthing.

    Jump into those review sections and see what the buzz is about.

    Did people rave about the helpful staff, or were there grumbles about the moody lighting? Sure, Aunt Linda loved the place, but what did random strangers have to say?

    Also, check out how the venue responds to feedback—do they get all defensive or are they genuinely taking notes?

    And hey, those sneaky pics from past weddings? Pure gold! They give you a real, no-filter glimpse of what to expect.

    Think of reviews as your sneak peek, your behind-the-scenes tour, ensuring there are no nasty surprises come your big day.

    Word-of-Mouth Recommendations

    Tapping into personal networks for firsthand feedback from friends or family members who’ve hosted or attended events at the venue.

    Spotting Red Flags

    Identifying common issues or concerns that repeatedly crop up in reviews.

    Venue Response Patterns

    Noting how the venue management addresses feedback, both positive and negative, can speak volumes about their professionalism.

    Photo & Video Evidence

    Hunting for real wedding photos or videos from the venue to get an unfiltered view of setups, décor, and atmosphere.

    Feedback on Staff Behavior & Service

    Honing in on reviews that mention interactions with the staff, from the planning phase to the day-of coordination.

    Social Media Sentiment

    Browsing through the venue’s social media tags and mentions to capture the unfiltered buzz and real-time feedback.

    Transparency & Communication

    Evaluating how forthcoming and responsive the venue is when addressing concerns or queries.

    Choosing a wedding venue is not just about the aesthetics and facilities but also about the experiences of countless others who’ve celebrated there before. A deep dive into reviews and feedback ensures you’re stepping into your big day with clear expectations and confidence in your venue choice.

    Vendor Versatility

    Ah, vendors (aka your wedding suppliers)—the unsung heroes behind the magic of every wedding! From florists draping your venue in blooms to DJs setting the night’s tempo, these experts bring your vision to life.

    But here’s the catch: not every venue is as flexible when it comes to bringing in your own dream team of vendors.

    Some venues operate on a strict preferred vendor list—a curated list of professionals they’ve worked with and trust. And, while this can simplify decisions and ensure smooth collaboration, it might also limit your options. Especially if you’ve already set your heart on a specific cake artist or a quirky photo booth setup, it’s vital to check if your venue is open to outside vendors.

    However, it’s not just about permissions; it’s also about practicality.

    Ensure that your chosen vendors have the required facilities at the venue—like a kitchen for the caterers, ample power outlets for the DJ, or a suitable prep space for your florist.

    Being open to vendor versatility gives couples the flexibility to truly personalize their day, ensuring each element reflects their tastes, priorities, and, of course, love story. After all, it’s these unique touches that make your wedding unforgettable!

    14. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    Weather Woes: Backup Plans

    Ah, Mother Nature. She’s a fickle friend, especially when it comes to outdoor weddings. One minute, it’s sunshine and blue skies; the next, unexpected drizzles try to dampen your spirits.

    But worry not, because every wise couple (and wedding planner) knows the golden rule: always have a backup plan!

    Whether you’re dreaming of a sun-drenched beach ceremony or a woodland wedding beneath a canopy of trees, the unpredictable weather can quickly turn your dream setup into a logistical challenge.

    It’s essential to ask your venue about alternative indoor options or covered areas. Can they offer an elegant marquee at short notice? Perhaps they have a beautiful indoor hall or a charming barn that can serve as an emergency switch.

    Moreover, consider the comfort of your guests. If it’s a summer wedding, does the venue offer shade or fans to combat the heat? For chilly evenings, are there heaters or cozy blankets available?

    A good backup plan ensures that, come rain or shine, your day remains as radiant as your love story. And who knows? Sometimes, those unexpected rain showers lead to the most memorable moments and magical photographs!

    15. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    Contracts & Fine Print

    Let’s face it: Contracts, with their dense text and legal jargon, aren’t the most exciting part of wedding planning. But they sure are one of the most crucial!

    Think of your venue contract as the safety net under your high-flying trapeze act. It’s there to catch you, ensuring that the terms, conditions, and promises made by your venue are not just verbal assurances, but legally binding commitments.

    First and foremost, never rush the contract stage. Take your time to read through every line, and if you stumble upon a term you’re unsure about, don’t hesitate to ask for clarity.

    It’s essential to understand exactly what you’re signing up for. Look out for clauses on deposits, cancellations, and any penalties or fees that may apply under certain circumstances.

    Also, ensure that specifics are detailed out. If the venue promises an in-house coordinator, when are they available? If you’re allowed to bring in external vendors, are there any restrictions or additional fees? Are there clauses related to force majeure or unprecedented events?

    Lastly, consider roping in a legal expert or a seasoned wedding planner to review the document. Their trained eyes can spot potential pitfalls or omissions.

    Remember, while contracts might seem intimidating, they’re essentially there to protect both parties. With a clear, comprehensive contract in place, you can move forward with confidence, ensuring your big day unfolds just as you’ve envisioned.

    Personal Touch: Customization & Decor

    When it comes to weddings, it’s those personal touches that transform a beautiful event into an unforgettable, heartwarming celebration. Every couple has a unique story, and the decor and customization of the venue serve as the canvas to narrate that tale.

    But how flexible is your chosen venue in letting you paint that picture?

    Most venues come with their intrinsic charm, be it the ornate chandeliers of a historic mansion or the rustic beams of a barn.

    16. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    While these elements add character, it’s essential to ascertain how much freedom you have to embellish or modify. Can you drape fabrics, hang fairy lights, or bring in large installation pieces? Are there restrictions on where you can place candles, or do they have a preferred list of decorators you’re limited to?

    Additionally, think beyond just the visual. If you’ve dreamt of entering your reception to ‘your song’, ensure the venue’s sound system can accommodate your playlist. Want a specific scent wafting through the venue? Check if they’re okay with you using diffusers or scented candles.

    It’s also a good idea to visit the venue with your decorator or planner. They can provide insights on how best to enhance the space, seamlessly integrating the venue’s natural charm with your personalized elements.

    At the end of the day, while the venue provides the backdrop, it’s the personalized details, the colors you choose, the music you play, and the ambiance you create that make your wedding truly yours.

    17. How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - The Wedding Club

    Little-known insights for a smooth venue selection process

    • Visit at the Right Time: If you’re aiming for an evening wedding, visit the venue during the evening to understand the lighting and ambiance. It’ll give you a much clearer picture than a midday tour.

    • Plug Points: It might sound trivial, but knowing where all electrical outlets are can be a game-changer for lighting, sound systems, and other setups.

    • Ask About Past Issues: Every venue has faced challenges. Inquire about any mishaps or obstacles they’ve encountered during past events and how they were addressed. It gives you insights into their problem-solving capabilities.

    • Check Mobile Reception: In today’s digital age, a venue with poor cell reception can be a dampener. Ensure your guests can share moments instantly and, more importantly, make calls if needed.

    • Sneak in a Sound Check: The acoustics of a place can make or break your event. If possible, play some music to understand how sound travels in the space.

    • Hidden Costs: Some venues charge for minor conveniences, like cutting a cake brought from outside or corkage for your wine. Always ask for a complete list of additional charges.

    • Flexible Timing: Check if the venue allows early arrivals for setups. Those extra few hours can make a significant difference in decor arrangements.

    • Understand the Cleanup Policy: Some venues might require you to clear out immediately after the event, while others might allow you to return the next day.

    • Guest Flow: Walk through the venue as if you’re a guest. This helps in understanding the flow from one event segment to another, ensuring there are no bottlenecks or congested areas.

    • Local Laws and Regulations: Particularly for outdoor venues, be aware of local noise ordinances or other restrictions that might curtail your celebrations.

    • Ask for a Layout Plan: A physical or digital layout can help you and your planner visualize setups, seating, and decor placements much more efficiently.

    • Emergency Preparations: Inquire about backup power solutions, fire safety measures, and medical emergency provisions.

    Pro Tip: Armed with the tips in this post, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision that aligns with your wedding dreams and practical necessities. Also, don’t forget about your new best friend: The printable wedding venue workbook! Find that perfect wedding venue, plan out your budget thoroughly, make lists of rentals and suppliers, allocate accommodation for your wedding party and VIP guest, and tons more, all contained in over 45 pages of print-ready goodness!

    How to compare two of your favorite wedding venues - PIN

    by Tanya Guilfoyle

    Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tanya has been an active contributor and planner in the wedding industry since 2016. When not writing useful content for brides and wedding professionals, she can be found designing templates for her Etsy shop, TWCprintables