My parents had to go venue exploring for me since I was in school – but I was fairly confident I knew which venue I wanted. They checked out 3 venues for me after I did extensive research. I narrowed it down to Avon Theatre, Matt Jones Gallery, and Vulcan
1. Avon Theatre –
Beautiful artificial lighting, exposed brick, pretty structure, cheap, set up and take down included
Hideous chairs/tables , ugly drop ceiling, no windows or natural light
Pros – local historic culture, gorgeous view, pretty architecture, affordable, my parents got engaged here
Cons – mostly outdoor, not-so-great indoor spaces, didn’t include outdoor furniture rental (outdoors was a big enough con for me not to consider this one at all)
3. Matt Jones Gallery
Pros – already decorated with art, very much mine and Corey’s style, beautiful entry with natural light, included tables and chairs that were pretty, gorgeous track lighting, set up and take down included, awesome exposed structure, open floor plan
Cons – no catering kitchen on site, 250 MAX (which was a little scary), the most expensive
Well, the choice for us was incredibly easy. It had an awesome downtown location next to a lot of local nightlife, my parents were willing to pay the extra since it included set up and take down, and it was EXACTLY the vibe we were going for – fun, quirky, and modern. My mom called me and said “You’re going to want this space,” so I rushed home to see it and practically died. It was perfect! We signed the contract the following week.
Picking a venue is typically one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding – the venue basically determines the vibe/style of the wedding. We got lucky for sure, but here’s my best advice.
1. Don’t book a place that doesn’t include set up and take down – you’ll thank me for that one day
2. Allot a good chunk of your budget for the venue – ours was about 12-15% of our wedding cost.
3. Think OUTSIDE the box! Check out museums, galleries, libraries, parks, and restaurants. It doesn’t have to be a country club, botanical garden, or historic home. Those kinds of venues can be gorgeous too, but lots of times they are WAY more expensive because they’re in such high demand. Also, they often require that you only use their caterer, their florist, and their cake baker, which ends up being a minimum amount of $$ per person and the price can skyrocket. I would also reserve backyard type weddings for very adventurous DIY brides – if you have to rent a tent, tables, chairs, a dance floor, etc., then the cost adds up very fast and takes lots more work!
4. Let the venue reflect who YOU are as a person – not your parents, your friends, or your status. We had so many people come up to us and tell us how ‘us’ the wedding was. There is no greater compliment!
Hope this helps everyone looking for venues! Readers – do you have any stories to share about your venue rental? Did you have regrets or praise?