Congratulations on your engagement! One of the first steps in your initial planning process is finding outdoor wedding venues. So what do you need to know when searching for your perfect outdoor wedding venues? We have got you covered!
There are a some very important things to keep in mind when deciding on a venue. Lighting can make or break your wedding photos. You want to make sure that your venue is well and evenly lit for both your ceremony and reception.
Next, you want to make sure to ask what your top three outdoor wedding venues include in their price. Make sure you have everything you need to stay within your budget. The bridal and groom suites are also very important to take note of. You will need enough room for you and all of your wedding party to move around freely and comfortably without chaos and extra stress on the wedding day.
Lastly, it’s important to verify with the venue owners about payment and additional fees or services such as insurance and outside vendor fees. Choosing your venue is one of the most important decisions in your planning process. You want to make sure you have all the answers to your questions before finalizing the location.
Whether you are getting married outdoor or indoor, one of the most important things to pay attention to is lighting. The facility you choose to have your wedding day at can make or break your photos depending on how it is lit.
If you are having an outdoor ceremony these are important things to look out for on the property. Shaded areas around the venue earlier in the day will be important for outdoor photos, but most importantly if you are having your ceremony outdoor early or mid-afternoon. The sun is the harshest on your skin tones during these hours, so you want to make sure that your ceremony area is in complete shade to avoid shadows casting over your faces and squinty eyes in photos. If your outdoor ceremony will be around sunset, make sure the sun will be setting behind your back as you are walking down the aisle. This will help you avoid straining your eyes as you are reaching the alter.
If you are having an indoor ceremony, how the artificial light is placed within the building will be key to making or breaking your wedding images. First, you want to make sure that there is even soft light overhead in your indoor ceremony space. Not having even light can be a recipe for disaster. Check to see if you have raccoon eye like shadows over the face and eyes.
Next, you want to make sure that the light is evenly distributed throughout the ceremony space, as well as all the same type of light. Avoid venues with mixed lighting or harsh indoor lighting. During the reception, keep in mind these same key elements. Lighting should be all the same. For example, if there are tungsten string-lights in the venue, you want to make sure that there are no fluorescent lights mixed in. If they do have mixed lighting, make sure to ask the venue owners if you can change lighting or if they can turn off certain lights etc. so that you can see what the space will look like on your wedding day. If you use Up lights, make sure to use a color that compliments the natural lighting of the room. Typically, up lights can cause problems photo wise, so we like to avoid them.
So, what do these venues include? This is a great question to ask the venue owners. Many venues provide extra necessities such as tables, chairs, linens, etc. but there are some venues that only provide the bare minimum. Depending on your wedding budget, this can be a deciding factor in whether or not to choose a certain venue.
Ask the owners what the venue includes. Do your research and check on their website as well. Find out if there will be a venue coordinator the day of the wedding on hand. This is not always necessary to have but, can help make your wedding day run a lot smoother.
Lastly, ask about catering. Some venues require you to work from a list of caterers they provide. Make sure it is ok to bring an outside vendor or a food truck on site if this is something that you are potentially interested in doing.
Now on to your bridal and groom suites. Think about this for a second. You will be sharing a room on your wedding day for hours before your ceremony with multiple other people. Do you want to feel like a crammed sardine suffocating to exit the can? Heck no you don’t! You want to feel relaxed and calm with plenty of space to move around.
When entering in to the bridal and groom suites on your initial venue tours keep an eye out. Decide if the rooms are large enough for the amount of people that will be getting ready in them. Is the layout good and are there restrooms closely accessible? Is the groom’s suite too close to the bridal suite? These are all things you are going to want to be looking for. Also, make sure that if you are having your photographer or videographer capture getting ready content that the bridal and groom suite are well lit.
Every now and then, brides and grooms will opt out to get ready offsite at a hotel, home or Airbnb. If this is the case, then these questions won’t be as important to you, but it is always a good idea to check out your potential venue from head to toe regardless.
Lastly the most exciting part, we know! Payment, fees, and contracts. Don’t forget to ask questions about all payments and fees before you leave.
Find out what the initial down payment percentage is and when your final venue payment is due. Most venues are 50 down/50 final but some have different percentages depending on how they run their business. Also, make sure you find out if sales tax is included in the price quote each venue gives you. Are there any additional fees that are not specified up front? These are key details to note.
Finally, make sure it is alright with the venue to bring all other vendors from the outside (if that is what you choose to do). Be sure to ask them if there are any additional costs and regulations with doing this. If so, what they are and the price. If you are serious, have the venue send you the contract and make sure you review it word for word. Analyze if everything looks and sounds the same as when you had your initial tour. If it all looks good, it’s a go!
Phew! Finally, you are done! Once you are able to successfully go through all the steps above, you will happily be able to find your perfect venue. You will now feel satisfied knowing that you have all the key ingredients you need to start your venture and choose your ultimate wedding venue with confidence. Use these tools and most importantly ask questions. You will be happy you did all of this thoroughly in the long run. Now get going and make those appointments! Start your wedding planning experience like a pro.
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