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I'm a Jersey girl living in the Colorado mountains- I'm a sucker for glowly light and deep conversations over a glass of whiskey . . .

Meet Ashley

If you are stressing about Choosing your Wedding Venue, then this blog is for you. There are a million decisions to make when you are planning a wedding and choosing the perfect venue for your big day is an important one. My goal for this blog is to give you a place to start, the right questions to ask, and tips on what to consider when securing your wedding venue.

The first step is choosing a date. If you are flexible with your date and don’t have any other vendors secured, then having 2-3 options is ideal. Before choosing a venue ask yourself a few questions to help you narrow down your search. This can really help you save time and energy in the long run.

  1. Choose a vibe: Think about what you want your Wedding Day to look like. Take some true time discussing this with your fiancé so you can choose a venue that suits both of your styles. Are you wanting an Upscale and high end feel, Remote and quiet, romantic and timeless?
  2. What are your ‘non-negotiables’? – think of these things as your- refuse to budge on must-haves for your wedding. Maybe you want a huge dance floor for all your guests to dance the night away? Maybe you want a large outdoor courtyard with lots of greenery for your ceremony? What about a venue with an option to bring in your own caterer or a location that overlooks the water?
  3. Location, location, location– This is both aesthetics as well as proximity. Maybe you need a place that is central to both of your families, or a location that has a mountain view? Or a venue with a hotel close by that out-of-town guests can stay at?
  4. Guest Count– All venues will have a maximum capacity (and some have a minimum)- do your guest count prior to searching for a venue so you know if they can handle your crowd. A rough ball-park will do, but the closer you get to this number the better as far as your budget planning goes.

20 Questions to ask when Choosing your Wedding Venue:

  1. Do you allow outside vendors? Some venues require that you use a specific bakery, DJ, florist, photographer, etc . . . If you have your own vendors in mind, make sure you see if that is allowed before committing.
  2. What is the cost per plate? If your venue comes with the catering/bartending service – this will be the main cost, make sure this is within your budget.
  3. Do they offer discounts to book your wedding on a Friday/Sunday? If this is an option for you, it is worth exploring
  4. What services are included? Do they take care of set up/break down? Will they set up the center pieces, light the candles, serve dinner?
  5. What all do you include? Do they supply table linens? Place cards? Chairs? Microphone? Is there Decor you can choose from? Get a full list so you know what is your responsibility and what they take care of
  6. Do you host more than one event on the same day? If so, how many? Ask more questions if this is a concern of yours
  7. What is the backup for bad weather? If you are looking at an outdoor venue, see what options they have incase a storm blows in later that day
  8. What hours does my package cover?
  9. What regulations do you have for vendors? Do all vendors need to carry a COI (certificate of insurance) Does the photographer need to carry a certain amount of liability insurance? Is there a sound decibel maximum for the DJ?
  10. What time can we come to set up?
  11. What restrictions do you have? Can you have an exit with sparklers? Do you allow candles to be on the dining tables?
  12. Will they provide a day-of coordinator?
  13. Is the bar staffed or do you hire a bar-tender?
  14. Can you bring in any alcohol?
  15. How much is the deposit and when is it due?
  16. What is the mass total with tax included?
  17. What is the parking situation like?
  18. Do they offer a shuttle service to and from their venue?
  19. Do they offer any discounts for hotels or other vendors?
  20. What is your refund policy?

A few tips when touring venues:

•Ask to see all the spaces- the reception area, ceremony location, and back-ups, the bridal suites, etc . .

•If possible meet who you would be working with during your planning, bonus if you can meet the day-of coordinator (if they offer that)

•Check out their bathrooms – seems weird right? Not really, it will give you a good idea on the cleanliness of the venue

•Try to envision your Wedding there- the guests dancing, your big moment exchanging vows, the cake cutting, all the things- if you can’t see it, move on.

•Don’t be afraid to ask questions. They are likely well prepared and are more than happy to answer your questions. Ask when they need an answer by to secure your date

•Ask for an hidden gems on their premises- I’ve found all kinds of things from cute wooden swings in the trees, to a private overlook, a speakeasy room, etc . . .

•See if they offer any prior taste testings if they are in charge of the catering

•Thank them for their time and discuss with your fiancé before making any decisions and signing anything

If you are recently engaged and a bit overwhelmed by all the Wedding Planning, head over and download my free wedding checklist, so you don’t forget a thing and can cross it off as you go.

Did I leave anything out? Comment and let me know!

A few fun wedding venue’s I’ve had the honor to photograph

Perona Farms, Sparta New Jersey

Telluride Slays + Wagons, Telluride Colorado

Antler Ridge Weddings, Montrose Colorado

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