So you’ve told your family and friends about the big news and updated your Facebook relationship status. Yay! Now it’s crunch time because you want to get married within a year. If you’ve been looking up wedding advice since the ring was on your finger – or even before – you know that the first thing to do is to book a venue. Sure it’s fun to focus on the wedding colors and themes, but booking a venue isn’t easy, so tackle that first. Here are some things to remember so you don’t get overwhelmed.
- Budget: Melissa, event coordinator for Honeymoon Island and Sand Key Beach, in the Clearwater, FL area says the venue is your first step. Once your budget is set, feel free to ask about payment plans. Venue event planners are willing to work with your budget, so being up front is going to help determine if the location will work for your wedding.
- Date: Of course, you won’t have a set date until you book your venue, but narrow a desired date down to at least a month, if not a week. This gives the event planner enough information to see if a date is available and give you more accurate prices based on the season.
- Guest Count: Though you won’t have a set number of guests attending until about a month before the big day, it’s a good idea to have an estimate so you can narrow down the venues that have the capacity for your maximum number of guests. Remember to ask about the venue’s food and beverage minimum as well.
- Vision: Do you want your ceremony to be religious or civil/secular? An indoor or outdoor wedding? Rustic or glam? Beach or waterfront? One venue for both or separate venues for the ceremony and reception? Whatever you choose, see if your desired location can accommodate your vision. You wouldn’t want to book a venue only to find out you can’t decorate it the way you want.
- Vendors: Is the location full-service or do you need to bring in vendors? Is there a list of preferred vendors (this makes it easier) or do you need to find your own? Ask the planner what the venue allows before you make a decision! All three Weddings on the Water locations have a list of preferred vendors, but we are the only licensed caterer for each location, so we can provide food and beverages.
- Contract: Before you sign anything, read carefully. After you have read a contract, read it again. Review times, taxes, gratuities, fees, services, limitations, etc. Double-check the refund and cancellation policy. One final note: Do not put pen to paper until you have asked if the venue is licensed to serve alcohol and has liability insurance.
Once you have signed the contract, the wheels are in motion and you’ve got your date (do a happy dance with your fiancé(e))! Enjoy the rest of the planning; it’s a special time and the hardest part is over.
Photo Credit: Taken by Grace and Glory Photography