The 7 “Rs” to Finding the Perfect Wedding Venue
Congratulations on your engagement! Now what? For most couples, deciding on the wedding and reception venue is a top priority in the overall planning process. The date and location of the celebration can impact everything from the bridesmaid dress options, flower selections, and even the color scheme. Although you have probably been planning your dream wedding on Pinterest for quite some time, its now the moment to sort through all of those pins and turn your dreams into a reality.
There are many factors to consider when selecting your ideal wedding venue and it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Here are some tips from our Oceanside wedding experts to help you navigate the tricky waters of selecting your perfect wedding venue.
Like when purchasing a home, the search process can be overwhelming. The key to staying focused while researching potential wedding venues is to have a list of top requirements. Your prioritized checklist may include items such as: date availability, capacity to accommodate your guests, food options, bar packages, indoor/outdoor reception, coordinator assistance, types of views, options to use your own vendors/catering, parking, changing room, photography locations, geographical locale, etc.
Start with a local wedding expert or planner. Use trusted websites like the Knot, Wedding Wire, and Here Comes the Guide to narrow down your search. Next, contact the city’s conference and visitor bureau and ask if they have a list of suggested event spaces. Local Tip: Looking to get married in Oceanside? Start your planning by viewing the digital Wedding and Special Event Guide which includes a complete list of local wedding venues, as well as vendor referrals, group dining options, accommodations, and activity ideas.
Plan on contacting a maximum of five properties to get their wedding package. Be prepared to give the venue your date (or at least year and season), approximate number of guests, your event start time (morning or afternoon), and how you found the venue. Based on your research, if you are unclear if the venue meets some of your requirements, but sure to ask at this point. Unless your date is flexible, don’t waste your time with venues that are already booked.
You will soon come to realize that comparing wedding packages is not apples to apples. That’s alright, don’t let it intimidate you. You have your list of requirements. Simply highlight those in the package so you can easily reference them. At this time, you’re going to get a good sense of what your dream wedding is going to cost you. If this is outside of your budget, you may need to reorganize your priorities. Don’t create heartache by visiting locations that are well outside your financial means. Narrow your options down to three venues to tour. Your venue should strike a balance between your heart and your budget.
When you go on a venue tour don’t forget the wedding package you were sent (save a tree), your list of requirements, and your phone to take photos. When you arrive, your sales contact will give you a tour of the property and usually help you visualize placement of tables and chairs. Don’t be afraid to snap some photos as you walk the grounds. This is how you are going to remember what you saw. You should also ask to look through professional albums so you can see how photographers have previously used the space for event portraits. Helpful Tip: For the best experience, make an appointment with the Catering Sales Manager prior to your arrival. Some venues are “by appointment only” and you don’t want to show up to a locked gate.
If you are interested in booking, but need more time, make sure the Catering Sales Manager knows this in case someone else is interested in your date. They may not be able to hold the date for you without a contract, but will be able to call you first if someone else starts looking into it. When you are ready to book, don’t forget to read your contract thoroughly. Most properties will not refund any portion of your deposit so make sure you are ready to make a commitment.
Once you have selected a venue, your Catering Sales Manager or onsite wedding coordinator will become your most knowledgeable wedding advisor. Check with them first for vendor referrals, hotel accommodations, décor and linen recommendations, and even what their favorite menu item is. Helpful Tip: Booking a hotel room block might feel like a daunting task with everything else on your to-do list. If you need some help on how to get started, read our blog How and When to Book your Hotel Room Blocks or contact the Visit Oceanside Group Travel Department and let us contact the local lodging properties on your behalf.
Above all, keep in mind that this day belongs to you. While input and opinions from friends and family are important, if you stay true to your own list of wants and needs, you’re assured not to lose sight of the wedding of your dreams.