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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tips for Picking Your Venue

Words by AllSeated
Photos courtesy of 24 Carrots

You’ve imagined your destination wedding countless times – the cloudless sky, the tropical menu, the gentle breeze billowing your veil. You may have already picked a destination, yet when it comes down to choosing a specific venue, things can get a little more complicated.

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To help sort out the best ways to narrow down your ideal venue, we turned to Sandy Hammer, cofounder of AllSeated, a free event planning platform that helps couples, venues and vendors plan seamless events using floor plans, seating charts, guest lists, timelines and more. Sandy pointed out top things to consider when picking your destination wedding venue.

First Things First

Have your budget and rough guest list established before you start looking at venues. It may seem counterintuitive, but top planners we work with always recommend that as the first step because it's important to know in advance how much money you have to spend as well as a general idea of how many guests will be attending. While the numbers may change as you go through the planning process, keeping them in mind will make it much easier to narrow down the venues based upon price and accommodations.

Begin Your Search

Once you select your destination location, begin your search of venues in your selected area, visiting all websites and social media pages for the event spaces, hotels and catering halls that you find. If you chose a popular wedding destination (any Caribbean island, Mexico, Italy, etc.), local tourism association websites often have a special section dedicated to wedding planning.

Consider the Sources

Keep in mind that, while it is good to read reviews of venues online, that information is only someone's opinion. If you want facts, contacting the venue will be your best source of the most accurate, up-to-date information.

Ask Questions

Contact the venues (sometimes calling works best) and ask lots of questions. Do they have availability? Do they have hotel rooms to accommodate your guests during that time? If not, is there a local hotel they recommend which can accommodate your party? Can the event space cater to your needs and to the vision you had in mind for your affair? Can they accommodate the size of your party? The goal here is to narrow down your choices to the venues you think are going to best fit your needs.

Get References

Request references and referrals, including the vendors that the venue works with (known as the preferred vendor list). That way, you can also contact them for more in-depth information. Knowing which vendors work with your venue has a secondary benefit of giving you a head start on the rest of the planning process.

Request Contracts

Once you have narrowed down your venue choices, request that contracts be sent to you prior to going to your on-site inspections. It's important to understand each venue's terms and conditions, especially since this is a destination wedding and you need to know their policies.

Seek Advice

Consider seeking advice from a reputable destination wedding planner who specializes in your specific destination. Destination wedding planners or local planners based in your chosen location can be a tremendous help, especially if you have chosen a place you’re not very familiar with (or have never been to before). Even at this early stage, planners can assist you in selecting a destination venue that best fits your needs. 

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