Wedding season is just upon us, and with it, the mysterious compulsion to tie the knot yourself. We’re not talking about getting married, though, but the wedding itself; non-traditional (i.e., not a church) venues have skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade and a half. But like any other important decision, it can be easy to make crucial mistakes. Read on to learn how you can avoid them.
Sort the Guest List First
This sorting is somehow one of the most challenging tasks to accomplish when planning a wedding. Unless you’re the rare pair who share a friend group and the same kind of wedding ideas, you’ll likely get into a few arguments with your partner over who you should invite and how many people should be on the guest list so on. The fewer you have, the more options you’ll have in terms of budget, location, and event date. But if you plan on throwing a full-on, 200+ people bash, you’ll have to reserve a venue far in advance and find a stylish-enough warehouse to fit your entire party.
Solidifying your budget first may solve some of your guest list problems. This way, you’ll have a better idea of how many people you can afford to house and feed. If you do find yourself up against any seemingly unfixable problems, revisit your budget and see if there are any areas where you can make adjustments.
Form Follows Function
There’s a reason many dream weddings are just dream weddings: they can be incredibly challenging to bring to life. What we’re talking about here is the logistics of your big day, which could be the unsexiest part of your entire planning process. However, it’s still just as indispensable, as you’ll need to plan for any potential weather problems, electronic glitches, fire hazards, and the like. An outdoor wedding venue sounds like a good idea until the forecast says otherwise. While it is possible to pull off an outdoor wedding in the rain, it will take careful planning and a lot of thought. The same goes for destination weddings, where the guests may be unaccustomed to the local temperature; think ahead about ways you can make guests comfortable throughout the ceremony and reception. After all, you should be getting sweaty from dancing, not sitting!
Did We Mention the Budget Yet?
The sooner you sort this with your partner, the smoother the entire planning process will be. Things will most likely change as you progress, but make your desires and boundaries as clear as possible before you finalize anything. Any misunderstandings could lead to severe financial losses or, even worse, damage to your partnership.
In terms of the venue, experts recommend spending no more than 50% of your budget on it. Also, aim for booking the site at least a year out if you plan on inviting hundreds of people. Booking a year in advance not only checks one of the biggest boxes off your planning list, but it gives you ample time to take care of any annoying logistical problems or smooth out any miscellaneous errors.
Save the Date
Did you know there are on and off seasons for wedding venues? It makes sense, especially in an area where one or two seasons aren’t primarily known for their sunny days. Venues are typically cheaper to book during the off-season, which may vary slightly but usually includes the bulk of winter. Of course, you’ll need to finalize the date before you book a venue (just like everything else) as the weather will have a pretty big say in where you can and can’t.
Even if your heart is set on one particular place, it doesn’t hurt to call around and check availability. It’s better to have a couple of backup plans waiting in the wings than putting all your wedding bells in one basket only to find out it’s already been booked for your date.
So that rustic, Victorian farmhouse you were so sure about? It looks like it might be time to look elsewhere, as you waited too long to book it. Never fear, though; as mentioned earlier, non-traditional venues are becoming the norm for matrimony. Nowadays, people are getting married in barns, alleys, on rooftops, at sports stadiums, and pretty much wherever you can get an officiant and couple witnesses in the same room as you and your partner. You may even be surprised at how charming some of these more unassuming places can be, and perhaps also delighted by the fraction of money it costs to rent.
Head over to Arabella Reeve for more tips when choosing a wedding venue.