What You Need to Know When Choosing a Wedding Celebrant
Are you looking to find the wedding venue of your dreams?
Aside from choosing your partner, selecting your wedding venue is bound to be one of the most important decisions a couple will make in planning their big day.
Congratulations on your new engagement! Before you get involved in setting appointments, obsessing over Pinterest boards, or picking out monogrammed party favours, stop and revel at the moment.
It’s our favourite time of year at Cedarmont! Engagement season! And that also means lots of tours and showings of our venue. We love meeting all the newly engaged couples and hearing their proposal stories and wedding plans.
The nights begin to get a little crisp, but the days are typically gloriously sunny, some leaves change colour, but the landscape remains quite lush.
With so many wedding venues to choose from, choosing the right place can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, we’ve curated a list featuring our best tips in finding the wedding venue of your dreams.
Take time to celebrate your new engagement at The Cottage Wedding Venue in Gilbert, AZ. We understand the importance of you and your significant other, taking your relationship to the next level. This step in itself is a reason for celebration. So, why not start the party now?
Making our clients dream wedding come true is one of the things that truly make our job fulfilling (not to mention sometimes challenging and we LOVE a good challenge!) In Nashville alone, there are so many different types of wedding venues from rustic to urban and everything in between.
Though they all took place in such proximity, no two weddings were precisely alike, and it was something to see each couples’ unique take on the season.
Determine a Realistic Budget
First and foremost, you’re going to want to establish a realistic venue budget.
When establishing this venue budget, carefully determine what you expect to be included in this budget. For example, some venues may consist of the cost of food and drink in the price while it may not be included in others.
Some couples have people who want to throw this party for them, while others decide to plan it for themselves. Either way works! If you are taking charge, here are some helpful tips:
While finding the venue that fits your aesthetic is essential, there are also some other important questions you may not think about that you should be asking places when you tour.
Sunflowers were the perfect theme for Sara and Viktor’s spring nuptials, not just because they are the bride’s favourite flower and the official flower of her home state, Kansas, but because they also reflect the day’s atmosphere of warmth and happiness.
Once you establish this budget, rule out any venues that fall significantly outside of this budget. It’s best to avoid seeing any sites that do not fall realistically within the budget.
First, pick a date that is not too far away. We recommend setting a time within 1-3 months of popping the question. Be intentional about accommodating around the schedules of those who matter most.
Do you have liability insurance?
If drunk Uncle Joe hurts himself on the dance floor, you don’t want to be held responsible. Many venues require that brides purchase their day-of event insurance, which you should do for your protection.
Sara was positively stunning in a gorgeous champagne gown and cathedral-length veil, while Viktor was dashing in a navy blue suit (his favourite colour) and bowtie. The most impactful accessories for both the bride and groom, however, were their smiles because their joyful love for one another was so clearly visible there.
Determine Your Desired Style
Be sure to spend time with your partner, deciding the overall style of your wedding that you desire.
For those striving for elegance and old-world charm, a castle or great hall may best suit your preference. Those opting for a boho, more rustic style may choose to opt for a barn style wedding.
Then, come up with a list of close family members and friends who have supported both of you and your relationship together. Your guest list should be kept small; it may even be made up of those whom you want to ask to participate in your wedding party.
(We love The Event Helper) But it doesn’t hurt to have a venue that has their insurance (this goes for caterers and bar services too!) At Cedarmont, we have liability insurance and make sure all our vendors do as well.
Their spring wedding was full of other meaningful personal details, including a welcome table featuring a collection of photos of their life together, a German dinner (Viktor’s native country), and bubbles for their entrance and first dance. The fantastic images below were even taken by one of Sara’s most extended friends (Pure in Art Photography), who travelled from Kansas to capture their day.
In this day and age, the possibilities for wedding venues are endless. This allows the couple much creative freedom to find the perfect place to suit their style.
After refining your list, set a realistic budget and stick to it. This event can be casual or elegant, but it really should be centred on enjoying each other’s company. With an established budget and an idea of dates, it is time to select a venue.
Do you have a charge for outside vendors?
What’s the approval process for outside vendors? Many venues only offer all-inclusive packages and will charge a “buy out fee” for bringing in other vendors. So if your caterer friend is giving you a 50% discount, you may want to make sure that the venue will let her cater to your wedding upfront.
Please enjoy the gallery below, and we dare you to try and not smile while you look through it, because Sara and Viktor’s joy is truly contagious!
Make Use of the Internet
In today’s digital world, previewing several different wedding venues is made possible by the power of the internet. Eighty-three percent of wedding planning takes place online!
Consider if you want an outdoor or indoor environment. Do you want a particular theme or vibe? A venue is essential when thinking about setting the right atmosphere for your gathering. Also, decide if you want a place that has an in house caterer or the flexibility to bring in your food.
Many venues will allow outside vendors but charge a “buy out fee” and require vendors to be pre-approved. Discuss the approval process beforehand so you can be clear what requirements your outside vendors will need to meet.
Most brides and grooms will tell you that their wedding day went by in the blink of an eye. Check out our extensive list of Wedding Celebrants to help you tie the knot.
Surrounded by friends, family and loved ones (some of whom you are meeting for the first time from your spouse’s side), there’s pressure to spend time talking to everyone.
Nowadays, wedding venue websites can provide visitors with almost every detail and answer that could be imagined. Between email correspondence, website detail, testimonials, and even virtual tours, it’s never been easier to compare wedding venues.
The last thing to consider is the types of activities you want to schedule, such as toasts, speeches, music, or party games. No matter what you decide to do, keep you and your partner front and center because this commemoration is all about you!
At Cedarmont, along with an all-inclusive package, we also offer venue packages that don’t include vendors so you can pick and choose your own without paying extra fees.
Then there’s portrait sessions, cake cutting, dancing and a plethora of other fun activities — all packed into a relatively short amount of time. Finally, before you know it, it’s time for the send-off. Where did the day go?
Define Your Number One Priority
Before shopping around, ask yourself which aspect of your venue is most important to you.
For example, a bride and groom with an extensive guest list may determine that their number one priority is spacing. On the other hand, a bride and groom with a more natural, outdoor vision may determine that outdoor space and greenery is their number one priority.
Traditionally, this pre-party is seen as a last chance to live it up before settling down. For some couples, this may look like brightly-coloured, spinning lights, a DJ blasting loud music, and alcohol flowing. For others, it may be more of a quiet evening of pampering, eating delicious food, and relaxing around a fire pit.
Is alcohol included in my package?
Many venues include bartending services but not drink in their bags. To provide alcohol, sites must also have their liquor license and be insured for host liquor.
Examine the Logistics
Finding the perfect wedding venue isn’t always about how charming and visually appealing the site itself is.
Instead, it’s essential to consider the logistics of the space. For example, if any of your guests have a particular need or disability, it’s necessary to ensure that your venue is accessible and accommodating to those disabilities.
We recommend that the host looks at the weekend before the main event. Nothing is worse than showing up for your special day with a hangover, unforeseen injury, or foggy brain. After choosing a date, refine your guest list to the people who are going to make the event memorable, unique, and meaningful to the couple.
Do you have any limits on the type of decor? Sparklers, candles, etc.?
It is also common for venues to restrict certain kinds of decor for safety and housekeeping reasons. Confetti, sparklers, and real candles are often on the “no” list. At Cedarmont, we allow candles as long as they are in the proper type of candle holder. We also enable sparklers, but we do not allow paper confetti (have you ever tried to sweep confetti out of grass? It’s REAL fun.)
Eating dinner in a quiet place with just your spouse is essential for so many reasons, including remembering the day. You likely spent a significant portion of your budget on the food, and it’s typically one of the focal points of a wedding. However, I cannot tell you how many married people (myself included) barely even tasted it on their wedding day!
The five senses are a critical part of forming lasting memories, and food covers four of them: sight, smell, touch and taste!
It’s also important to consider whether there are adequate bathrooms for your guest list. For a large wedding, a single toilet is not likely to cut it.
Be sure to get input from the couple about their comfort level with planned activities. An open dialogue is crucial, so no boundaries are crossed, or toes get stepped on. The last thing you want to do is cross wires about expectations and have the get-together result in a flop.
Is gratuity included? Are there any other fees I need to know about?
The budget aspect of a wedding can be stressful enough. Make sure you know what to expect on your last invoice from your venue. Different venues have different policies when it comes to sales tax and gratuity. Often sales tax will not be included. At Cedarmont, we include gifts, but sales tax is charged separately.
Your vocal cords may already be a bit fatigued, but talking with your spouse about the day before this point is enormous. Discuss how you felt when you saw each other for the first time and your favourite moments during the ceremony. How did you feel when you walked down the aisle, new husband and wife?
Consider the Accommodation
Do you have an extensive guest list that is bound to require accommodation for your big day?
If so, you’re going to want to consider immediate and nearby accommodation. After all, not all wedding venues have the necessary facilities to accommodate all or even any guests.
Wedding Rehearsal Dinner
The purpose of a rehearsal dinner is to make sure all of the details of your wedding day are cemented. You want to run through who needs to be there at a particular time, who is going to stand where, and what responsibilities each person has for fulfilling their role in the ceremony and reception. After smoothing everything out, you all sit down and enjoy a meal together. We have compiled a list of our top Wedding Celebrants to help you celebrate your special day.
What is your backup ceremony location in case of rain (for outdoor ceremonies)?
Everyone loves a free service. It’s good to be optimistic and imagine your wedding ceremony taking place on a gorgeous sunny day with a light breeze. However, rain happens.
This covers sense #5 (sound), plus repetition shortly after an event acts as a sort of mental file labelling process that tells your brain that these memories are important and belong in the long-term memory drawer
It’s also important to inquire as to the pricing of such accommodations. While you may be willing to splurge on a high-end venue, it’s essential to consider if the cost of the housing is realistic for your guests.
This is also an excellent time to inquire whether the venue is associated with any hotels or bed and breakfasts in the area.
Traditionally, the groom’s parents were tasked with organizing and funding this event the night before the big day. It used to be a more formal set up with planned toasts, speeches, and several courses. More new agendas are more intimate, casual, and, sometimes, a bit more untamed. Some couples have turned it into more of a kick-off event. The bottom line is always to do what seems right to you.
Make sure that you know your venue’s rain plan and are OK with it. Whether it’s an indoor location or some umbrellas and the right attitude, make sure you’re aware of the worst-case scenario. At Cedarmont, our rain plan is a ceremony in the reception barn, then a cocktail hour on the covered porch or in the lobby while your space is flipped into a reception set up by our staff.
Take a few tender first moments as husband and wife because you might not get another chance until the festivities are all over. Your new spouse will likely be wearing cologne or perfume if you focus on that while you embrace — even if just for a minute — that scent could bring you right back to that very moment the next time you encounter it.
Inquire About the Rules
Each wedding venue has a unique set of rules that the wedding party and guests must abide by.
For example, some venues may not allow outside decorations or outside caterers. This means that you will have to rely on the site for both the decor and the food and drink being served at the wedding.
If you need to have the freedom to choose your decor and use third parties, be sure to locate a venue that allows such liberty.
Perfect Party Packages:
Take advantage of The Cottage Wedding Venue’s Evening Party Package for any of your pre-party needs. This package is available for celebrations scheduled after 4 pm. The price includes the use of our newly expanded ballroom, 1 hour of decoration time, and 3 hours for your affair. From the menu, you get an Elegant Brunch/Lunch Buffet setup.
How does the end of my reception and clean up process go?
At what time does your bar have to close? When do guests have to leave by? How much of your “venue time” is used for cleanup? Packages often say things such as “10 hrs of venue time,” but they don’t say that one hour of this is used for the event breakdown.
Think about the memory forming process like carefully wrapping a precious gift, taking careful mental note of what it smells, tastes, looks, feels and sounds like. The more you cover your memory in these different layers, the more preserved it will be when you go to “unwrap” it later.
Get Information Beforehand
Previewing countless wedding venues can lead to burnout.
It’s easy to feel exhausted and overwhelmed in your decision when you’ve expelled so much time and energy into previewing so many venues.
This is served with your choice of 3 entrees and two sides, plus homemade bread, mini dessert bar, and drink dispensers filled with cold water and lemonade. Our venue also comes with a full-service staff, including a coordinator, whitewashed farm tables, white chairs, and table runner (of your choice).
Does the staff take down all of your decors? If you brought some decor items, when do you need to pick them up or take them home? Because some venues have multiple events on the weekend, they can have strict rules about when things need to be broken down and picked up.
Whether or not you’re prone to wedding waterworks, it’s a good idea to have some tissues on hand for this one. There were so many moments that had us blinking back more than a few happy tears — from the bride’s parents’ emotional first look at their gorgeous daughter,
To avoid burnout, be sure to get as much information about the venue before deciding to preview the place in person. This will allow you access to plenty of information that will determine whether you’d like to take the next step and book a tour.
Especially if you are not doing an all-inclusive package, make sure you know who is responsible for cleaning up and what exactly that means (chairs stacked? linens are taken off tables? etc.). At Cedarmont, we have a limit of four hours of the open bar, so the bar closes typically 45 minutes before guests depart.
Then there was the exuberant joy that radiated from every single one of the 250 guests; at times, I thought that Garden Grove’s 12 acres might not be able to contain it all. Of course, we wouldn’t be able to share any of this beauty with you if it wasn’t for the insanely talented folks at Feather & Twine.
Consider the Location and Transit
While you may be willing to travel long and far for your special day, it’s essential to consider how the location of the venue will suit your guests.
Is the venue relatively straightforward to get to? Is the site a realistic drive for the majority of your guest list? Is there public transit available? These are all questions that you will want to ask yourself when choosing the right venue. See our list of Melbourne Wedding Celebrants to help you make an informed decision when saying your vows.
We also require that all guests leave by 11 pm allowing for an hour of clean up. In all of our packages, we include clean up, and our staff will put together your decor items and arrange a later pickup time with you if you are not taking them with you that evening.
With 36th Street Events at the helm, this day was also made possible by an army of excellent vendors including Sweetwater Stems, who was responsible for the stunning florals, the Memphis Train Revue band, who kept the guests moving on the dance floor the entire night and Sherpa Lux who provided the vintage Bentley that carried the bride to and from the ceremony at St. Mary Cathedral in downtown Austin as well as the transportation for over 200 guests.
You will also want to inquire as to the parking rules and available for guests. Be sure to determine how many cars the designated parking area can hold, whether guests can park overnight or if a taxi/transit service is available.
How many are planning meetings included in the “wedding planning” package? Is there an unlimited phone and email help?
Many all-inclusive venues include wedding planning and styling. Find out what exactly this entails and how many in-person meetings are included.
Lady Quakenbush’s Cakery created the cake that was just as pleasing to the tastebuds as it was to the eyes and Gabby and Kiss did her bridal party’s beautiful hair and makeup by Katie.
I hope you enjoy these photos as much as we did. <3
Determine What’s Included with the Venue
Lastly, it’s essential to determine what is and is not included with the venue.
Some venues may have a long list of items that are included with the site. This could be anything from tables and chairs to a food buffet and wait staff. Other venues may simply offer a price for the place itself and require the bride and groom to purchase extras.
Will your planner be readily available by phone and email for any questions and concerns you might have? If they don’t include planning services, ask what their policy is on outside planners. Many venues that don’t add these services will allow external planners, but they may require you to hire one from their preferred list.
Look through any collection of wedding photos from the past half-decade, and you are almost sure to find what is now an essential portrait: the wedding gown on a hanger. Over the years, this iconic trend has transcended the bridal suite closet to idyllic settings both indoors and out, resulting in shots that are just as beautiful as they are unique.
Choosing the Best Wedding Venue for You
Wedding planning can be exhausting, overwhelming and downright stressful.
While the excitement of engagement still fills the air, it’s only natural for couples to experience stress throughout the planning process. After all, finding a wedding venue that perfectly suits a couple’s budget, style, and wishlist isn’t always easy.
This includes three in-person planning meetings and unlimited phone and email consultations. We also allow outside wedding planners and stylists.
But why take the time to pose and photograph a vacant wedding gown when the bride is going to have her photo taken in it all day anyway? The answer varies depending on which bride or photographer you ask — and there are no wrong ones, of course — but the one I love the most is this: The unoccupied gown represents anticipation.
To help manage your stress, be sure to consider these ten tips when choosing your wedding venue. We’re confident this will help you narrow your choices and find the perfect place for your special day!
What time can vendors start setting up? What time can the bridal party arrive? .
The allotted rental time for a venue often includes clean up and set up. Make sure that your timeline matches your venue requirements. If you wanted a full morning to get ready and hang with the girls before photos, make sure your venue includes more than a few hours of pre-wedding time.
The dress, not yet animated by the bride, reflects the calm before the hustle and bustle of the day. After many months or more of so much planning and preparation, getting dressed is the final step before beginning the next chapter of her life. I cannot think of a perfect way to not only immortalize the dress she may have spent many months saving and searching for but also the hope, excitement and anticipation directly preceding “I do.”