Venue selection is a very important part of the wedding planning process. If you haven’t booked a venue, then you technically do not have a wedding date. That is because venues tend to go fast, and if you have a large guest list you will have even less options for a venue. While it’s important to book fast, it’s also important to make the right choice, as the venue also plays an important role in the overall experience for you and for your guests.
There are many venues available for weddings. For example, Herecomesthebride.com lists 234 venues in Massachusetts alone. You can quickly narrow down from this large offering by location, maximum guest size, site type and style, and cost. After narrowing it down based on those factors, below are 5 questions to ask yourself to help you select the right wedding venue that would give your guests the best guest experience:
What is the true maximum capacity of the ballroom?
Not all venues are configured solely for weddings and parties, and as a result the quoted max capacity may not take into account a dance floor. Make sure that the venue is large enough to accommodate all your guests so that you don’t have to stuff chairs in a table beyond its capacity. Regardless of the seating style (ex: banquet, family style, etc.), your guests should have enough room at their table to sit comfortably and to move in and out of their seat without bumping into another chair. In addition, observe the size of the dance floor. The dancing portion of the wedding is very important in the overall experience of most weddings, especially ethnic weddings. Therefore it is important to have a dance floor large enough to accommodate the guests that are present to celebrate with you.
Would my guests get lost or confused?
If your wedding ceremony and your wedding reception will not take place at the same location, then consider the distance between the two sites before booking. Your guests may not know the area well, especially out of town guests. By keeping the distance between the ceremony and reception sites as short as possible will also reduce the risk of anyone getting lost. You will also reduce the likelihood of people going home to change or to rest between the ceremony and reception, causing even more delays.
If a particular venue holds multiple events on the same day, consider how well the space is apportioned. How would your guests know where to go? How would the venue keep others out of your space?
Where would my guests park their cars?
Look into the parking options and examine how well they will work for your guests. Does the venue provide parking? Is it near or far? Is it free of charge? Is there ample parking? Venues in the city do not always provide parking, leaving guests to either use a ride-sharing service (hello, Uber!) or to park in a parking garage. Consider whether the majority of your guestlist would do well with these options.
Would my guests enjoy the food?
Does this venue offer food options that your guests would like? Do they offer different cuisines or do they stick to one? How does the food taste? Would they allow you to modify it in a certain way? For the most part people eat the same foods, but just prepare them differently. Ask the venue coordinator whether they would allow you to describe how to prepare the food. Inquire whether the venue allow you to bring in an outside food? Note: if you opt to hire you own caterer, we recommend using licensed caterers.
How is the customer service?
Customer service is paramount to the guest experience. It makes everyone present feel valued and appreciated. Examine the friendliness of the staff during your visit. Are they quick to help? Do they have a smile on their face? Inquire about what the staff will do exactly to serve you and your guests on the wedding day. Note: if the venue that you select does not offer wait staff, we recommend hiring some. There are several companies that offer servers to do tasks like welcoming guests, bartending, clearing the table, and serving cake. If you need help finding such vendors, let us know and we will be happy to help you find vendors that will serve you with excellence
Bonus: How clean are the bathrooms?
I believe that bathroom cleanliness says a lot about the business. It speaks on how much they put into their business and how much they care about guest satisfaction. Examine how much care has been put into the bathrooms, and don’t hesitate to ask them how often they clean them.
As wedding planners we advocate for our clients to have the best vendor experience with vendors. We will work with you in finding the perfect venue and coordinate with the venue to ensure that your needs are met. Let’s chat about how we can help ensure that you and your guests have the best experience on your wedding day!