Engaged to the love of your life, and so excited to start the planning process. But wait, where to start?
I often work with clients who ask the question, should I choose a date or a venue first when securing my wedding? This is a tricky question which actually has multiple answers. When working with clients, I do suggest that we first, confirm a venue. There are many factors that come into play when choosing a venue. The most important factor is of course, the budget. Should a client have a specific budget, I will only present them quotes based on venues that will fit their budgets. I would never want to disappoint a bride/groom by showing them a venue that they fall in love with, only to find that they cannot afford it. Other factors for venue selection are style, seating capacity, meal choices and offerings. Style is a factor as each venue has a unique style, however said style may not be the style the couple has envisioned for their wedding. For example, if a couple has a vision of a beautiful country, rustic, outdoors wedding, then an industrial venue is certainly not the style they are looking for. Seating capacity is a factor as if a couple cannot have less than 350 guests, a hall that can only seat 75 guests and vice versa, should not be in consideration. Meal choices is also a factor. This is something that may not necessarily be thought of all of the time, however it is important. If a couple are strictly vegans whom cook with organic products only, then perhaps a steakhouse venue that does not offer vegan choices would be the best venue to look at. Finally, offerings. What a venue offers can be strategically important when choosing a venue. If a couple is looking for an outdoor ceremony area in the same location as a reception venue, perhaps looking at those venues before those that do not have those offerings are best. Once all of those factors are considered and quotes from venues are received, choose a few that have most or all of the factors envisioned to do a site visit. A site visit is where a couple would actually go and view the venue. When working with clients, we do discuss venue quotes before even viewing the venue locations.
That being said, why not select a date once you have a few wedding venues to look at? The answer is simple. If a date is chosen before choosing a venue, the date chosen may not be available at the venue that the couple falls in love with. Most venues book two – three years in advance, not to mention many venues also have re-occurring events that they transfer over year after year. If a couple chooses and is set on a date before viewing venues, they may end up very disappointed or heartbroken if their date is not available. Of course, once a venue is toured and if the selected venue is the one a couple wishes to go with, asking for available dates does not necessarily mean the date that the couple wished for, will be booked. However, it is much more exciting and a lot less disappointing to fall in love with a venue and discover that the date that was wished for is available for booking.
Of course, like anything in this world, there is an exception. The exception is if there is a reason that a specific date is required to be chosen without any leeway. For example, military leave can be a reason. Often people who are in the military have certain times that they are back from where they are stationed, which would mean that if they only have a say three week window, then I would suggest choosing a date and finding a venue to suit that date. Some couples choose dates for significant reasons and that is not a wrong answer either.
Overall, it is suggested choosing a wedding venue before choosing a date to avoid disappointment, however at the end of the day, each couple has a vision for their wedding and whatever direction the couple chooses to go in should make them happy and stress free, which is the most important factor above all.