NOTE: This is part four of my five-part series about wedding planning. To check out the first one follow THIS LINK.  For the second one click HERE and for the third one click HERE.

Okay, now for the WHERE! Usually booking your venue is your first step toward really planning this thing!  Things you should be aware of when booking a venue:

1) Catering
What is the catering situation?  Do they have specific caterers they require you to use?  Or, do they make food in house?  Are you able to bring in your own food?  Any of these options are totally fine, but if say, you had envisioned the type of wedding with a laid-back food truck out front, that may not work for a venue who requires you to purchase their food and wine.  So, keep that in mind.

2) Venue Capacity
How many people can the venue accommodate?  And, does that mesh with the list that you made with your partner at the beginning of this journey?  If you fall in love with a venue that can only accommodate 45 people and you guys have 150 on your guest list, this just isn’t going to work.  So, you may need to head back to the drawing board.

3) Beverage/Alcohol Policy
What is their policy on alcohol?  Are their corkage fees?  Do you have to go with their wine?  Do you have your heart set on a couple’s cocktail menu and they just don’t allow hard alcohol in their space?  Well, if that’s the case, maybe they’re just not the right fit for you.

4) Price
Well, if you fall in love with a $15,000 venue and your budget is $15,500 that’s just not going to work, and that’s okay, there are plenty of options out there.  Just keep an open mind and keep on trucking.  One thing to consider on this front to save some money is getting married on an off-peak day, like a Monday or Tuesday.  One of my favorite weddings I have ever had the pleasure to photograph was on a Friday despite the fact that their original anniversary was on a Saturday because they decided it was worth $1,000 to be flexible.  Yes, it saved them $1,000 to get married a day before their anniversary.  Now, please don’t expect every venue to have the same policy as this venue did, just be flexible and ask questions.

5) Date
If there is a certain date (like the anniversary that you started dating) that you are super, unbendably attached to, but it’s already been booked by someone else, this probably isn’t going to work out.  Or, if there is a certain vendor you are dying to work with who is booked on the dates your venue is available, you may need to keep looking for another venue.  When is the space open for set up and take down?  And, how late will they let you stay in the venue?  If they have a strict policy that you are out at nine, but you were envisioning partying until midnight, this may not be the right fit in the end.

6) Rain-plan
Okay, okay, I know none of us like to talk about it, but if you are getting married in the PNW at any time of the year, you have to know that there is some possibility that it may *gasp, Lauryn, please don’t say it* rain.  I know, I know, this is so not fun to talk about, but we all have to be realistic.  Pretty please if you are getting married outside check into what your venue recommends if it rains.  I’ve photographed weddings in the middle of July and it has poured, so just know that it is a possibility no matter the time of year and you need to be prepared for an alternative indoor space or to get a little bit wet.

Yay!  I’m so glad you have lots of questions to ask your venue coordinators–I really can’t wait to see what you chose!  Let me know in the comments!

Check out the fifth installment in this series HERE!

And, to see more from Ross and Laura’s Red Ridge Farms Wedding, go HERE!

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