According to the popular wedding website TheKnot.com, you should select the outdoor event venue for your ceremony and reception 12 or months before your planned date. Contemporary or country, here are our (alphabetical) tips for picking your perfect place.
The ABC’s of an Outdoor Event Venue
Ambiance and Amenities
What’s your vibe?
You could choose intimate and casual, elegant and funky, vibrant country chic or rustic venues. Perhaps you dream of a gentle splash of water as you speak your vows or the applause of crickets while walking down the aisle? A country hoedown? A sun-splashed oak grove?
An outdoor event venue is the only place you can have an expansive blue sky backdrop designed by nature. No generic hotel ballroom or hall decor compares.
Check out photo galleries and websites for inspiration. Visit places in person at different hours of the day.
Consider your flow- are you holding the ceremony and reception in the same spot with a pause in the middle to “flip” the chairs from audience-style to eating? Are you moving from place to place? How does your venue graciously accommodate guests of any age, size or special needs?
Draft your budget early, so you know your “must-haves” and “would-be-nices” for one of the most important days of your life. It’s no good to set your heart on a palace if your 300 closest friends will eating generic potato chips out of a bag in the parking lot.
Keep a checklist of your personal priorities to help you narrow down the possibilities. Your venue will affect your choice of dress, the number of guests and the level of formality, so an early budget estimate will keep your dreams down to earth.
Don’t forget necessary items like food and beverage or additional extras (and often extra cost!) like parking, sound systems, lighting, off-site kitchen rentals, tables or linens. Try to find an all-inclusive quote. No one likes surprises at the bottom line!
Capacity and Calendar
This refers to picking a place that can accommodate your planned guest list. Is there room for all to be seated comfortably? Is there sufficient power for your lighting, music or sound? The very best venues have the ability to plan for the worst weather scenarios, whether that means shade, tent, heaters, indoor space or delay. If there are multiple events going on at the same time, what is the backup plan for a weather-related emergency?
An outdoor event venue calendar will be busy on the weekends predicted to have the best weather. In general, pick your season and then your venue, so you can have flexibility in dates. Booking early ensures you get your date- when the weather is not too hot, not too cold, not too windy or rainy.
Dancing and Drinking
If you plan on either, make sure you understand any noise or alcohol restrictions unique to the venue. No one wants to be disappointed by a 10:00 pm noise complaint or an unexpected early bar closing time.
Are you responsible for finding a caterer, florist or musicians or is there a list of approved vendors? Does the event space offer a dedicated wedding organizer for your day? Will there be a manager on-site at all times to ensure that your party goes off without a hitch?
What are YOUR considerations for choosing an outdoor event venue? Let us know in the comments or contact us learn more about our ABCs.