Venue Shopping – How to start?

Personally, I think venue shopping is one of the most difficult parts of wedding planning with the highest stakes (other than choosing to get married, of course).

Okay, so why is this so hard given that I’ve worked at 50+ venues all around Austin?

The short of it is that apples-to-apples comparison doesn’t exist when shopping for a wedding venue.

Refill your glass of wine – I’ll explain.

First – your venue sets your tone for your budget.

If you pick your venue without having a true understanding of what your overall budget is – your venue will happily define that for you. Now, I don’t mean to say they’re money hungry – not that at all, but something that seems within your budget can skyrocket out of your budget if you don’t compensate for inclusions.

Does that venue include tables and chairs?
  • Yes! This means you’ll not only save on rentals but the delivery fees associated with bringing them in and taking them out. Bonus points if they set them up and tear them down for you.
  • No! This means you’ll need to include the rental and delivery cost and schedule into your planning. This also means your style is open to anything! You can customize your look depending on your own style and not be limited to the in house option because it’s there.
Does that venue have in-house catering?
  • Yes! This makes your job so much easier! You can drastically cut down the number of vendors to whom you have to report your final details (guest count, table numbers, etc) if your in-house catering is taking care of all those details for you. Score for more free time!
  • No! Flexibility – here I come! Not being limited to an in-house caterer offers you the ability to choose your savings in some areas over others. Maybe you’ll select a more affordable caterer in exchange for the funds for that amazing band you can’t stop listening to.

Second – Your venue impacts your timeline / schedule / stress level for your wedding day.

Does that venue have limited hours?
  • Yes! Sometimes this means that your venue is more affordable because you’re not asking for them to stay open as long, BUT it can also mean that you have a higher cost for delivery timeframes because you need things delivered at an exact time, or more staff is needed to achieve the setup because it’s a shorter time frame. It can also mean you won’t have those “getting ready” photos on site because it doesn’t fit with your hair / makeup / travel schedule.
  • No! So you have all the time in the world! This means you can get ready on site and be more flexible with your deliveries! It also leads to the temptation to have a longer reception which can mean more costs for your vendors to stay longer. Sometimes it also comes with not setting up your tables and chairs because you get the venue for the whole weekend and their support staff is not on site.
Does your venue have an amazing rain plan?
  • Yes! Our rain plan is amazing and beautiful and adds no stress to our wedding day.
  • No! What do you mean rain plan?

Okay, so you get the point. There’s a lot to keep in mind with your venue shopping and venues are all across the board with what they offer – so how do you pick the right one?

Need a detailed conversation about how to find the right venue for you? Let’s chat!

By |2019-03-11T15:42:14-05:00March 4th, 2019|Planning Ahead, Venue, Wedding Planning|0 Comments

About the Author:

Hi! I’m Cassie. I’m the owner and lead planner at Bride’s Best Friend. I’ve been working in the wedding and events industry for over 10 years. I established Bride’s Best Friend in early 2010 and went full time in 2017 and never looked back. I have planned or coordinated over 100 weddings and have learned something at each and every one of them.

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