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Wedding Planning Step 3: Selecting Your Wedding Venue

Nov 13, 2012

Michael Anthony's, Jersey City, NJ

Michael Anthony’s, Jersey City, NJ

Hello my fellow brides-to-be! So you’ve celebrated your engagement with your family and friends – what’s next? Selecting for the perfect venue for your special day! Choosing your wedding venue is one of the first and most important steps in the wedding planning process. Steve and I have chosen the Michael Anthony’s, located in the Newport section of Jersey City. Located right near the Hudson River, our venue offers stunning views of the New York City skyline (and even a glimpse of my favorite building in NYC, the Chrysler building!) There is also a perfect view of the new One World Trade Center building that is still under construction, but always lit up in bright, beautiful lights. The restaurant itself has a modern touch, with exposed brick walls and large windows. Steve and I decided early on that we wanted a wedding venue that was out of the ordinary, but also reflected our personal style. Before you begin your search, there are several important factors you should consider.

First, and most importantly, you must decide on your wedding budget.  Will you and your fiancé be footing the bill? Will you receive help from your parents in any way? Once you have determined how much you are able to spend, you will be able to search for venues that will fit your budget.

Next, you should determine how many guests you plan to invite. This will help you narrow down the venues that will be able to accommodate the size of your wedding. You may also want to consider the fact that many venues have guest minimums for certain days. For example, Saturday is the most desirable day to have a wedding, and will require a higher minimum of guests. Fridays and Sundays will usually have a lower minimum guest requirement, as the availability will be greater for these days.

Now that the budget and amount of guests have been decided, you and your fiancé can discuss what you both envision for your special day. Do you plan on having a religious ceremony? Or are you looking for a venue that can also accommodate your ceremony? Also, do you have any particular theme in mind? Some of the most popular wedding venues/themes right now are the rustic wedding (think vintage-style barn or farm), a summertime beach wedding, a modern-style wedding (in a loft or re-purposed warehouse), and the always popular destination wedding. Ballrooms and banquet facilities are also excellent options, and can be found in any location. These venues can be blank slates that you can decorate and enhance. And don’t forget about up-lighting!  Something so simple can make all the difference in the overall look of your wedding venue.

Once you have found some wedding venues that suit your style, you can start visiting them to get a first-hand look of what they have to offer – and be sure to bring your camera! I must admit when Steve and I began visiting wedding venues, we were a little discouraged at first. I felt like we would never find a venue that would fit all of our needs, because each one had its pros and cons. The first venue we visited, a modern loft space, had an odd layout, and would not be able to comfortably accommodate the amount of guests we planned to invite. The second venue we visited was a beautiful re-purposed warehouse, but it did not have ample parking for our guests. You may come across similar bumps in the road, but don’t give up hope!

Here are a few questions to keep in mind once you have chosen that perfect wedding venue:

-Do you have to choose an outside caterer, or do they provide on-site catering services?

-Would you have to supply your own alcohol, or do they offer packages that include this?

-Do they have any wedding decorations (centerpieces, etc.) that you would be able to use for your reception? If so, is there any additional set-up fee if you choose to use them?

-Do they provide linens and chairs or if you will have to rent these from an outside vendor?

-Would you be able to hold your rehearsal at the venue prior to your wedding day (if you choose to have your ceremony/reception at the same location)?

-Are there any restrictions with the space (for example: no confetti, etc.)

-Is there a cake cutting fee? (some venues will add on an additional fee per person for cutting and serving your wedding cake)

-Is there a contingency plan? (should there be inclement weather, and your ceremony was to take place outside)

Do you have any other helpful tips to offer our fellow brides-to-be who are still searching for their perfect wedding venue? I’d love to hear them!

And if you’re still planning, or just beginning to plan your wedding, be sure to check out our wedding planning tips

All the best,

Kristi

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Erica is an 11 year veteran of the wedding industry and is the owner and founder of LittleThingsFavors.com.Her advice has been featured in the books: How To Plan Your Wedding and Enjoy It! Experienced Wedding Professionals Share Their Secrets and Planet Wedding.Follow her on Google +
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