5 Points to Consider When Choosing Your Wedding Venue

One of the biggest decisions you’ll make in planning your wedding is where to have it. Because there are over 350+ Venues, your decision can be difficult. Here are some basic concepts to consider when deciding on your wedding venue.

BUDGET

This is the most important factor. The reception cost is generally about 50% of your entire budget. If you are on a tight budget and the venue you want is beyond your price range, think about having a brunch or cocktail reception at the venue instead of a full dinner. Look at what’s included. If you have to rent additional items, that may impact your total costs. And things like cake cutting costs, extra charges for dance floors, and extra charges for glassware can all add up. It’s the final price that counts.

SIZE

Consider the number of guests you anticipated inviting. If you are having a small wedding you might feel dwarfed in a venue that is too large. Conversely, if you are having a large number of guests, you want to make sure that you don’t feel cramped.

FEEL

Did you always dream of an outdoor wedding? Do you like the ideal of a grand ballroom? Be true to your feelings, and make it meaningful for you. Bear in mind, with an outdoor wedding you might be at the mercy of the elements, so have a Plan B in place.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Do you have a lot of out of town guests invited? Close proximity to the airport might be something to consider, or perhaps being close to certain activities like downtown for the Blues or our Cardinals. Do many of your guests have limitations with regard to steps and walking? Consider a location that is easy for them to navigate. Do you want iconic photos at a certain location – like Forest Bar, a favorite hangout, close to work? Choose a venue that is close to minimize travel time on the day of your wedding.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Finally, be flexible with the day of the week. Fridays & Sundays are generally less expensive and more available. Popular places can book up over a year in advance, so start your search for a venue early. June and October in our area are always two of the most popular months and book fast. If you are having a small wedding, consider a Thursday night. You can negotiate better rates for other services like photography for example, because wedding professionals generally book only one event on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday – you will pay their going rate for a “full, larger” wedding on those days.

VenuesofStLouis.com allows you to search by location, by price, and by type of venue. And, as this new site grows you will be able to gather complete information on the venues that you think might be the right one for you making your job to compare venues easy and saving you a huge amount of time.

Finding Venues with Character

FINDING VENUES WITH CHARACTER

Are you looking for a VENUE with CHARACTER to host your wedding or reception? BrideStLouis’ new sister site, VenuesofStLouis.com, offers you an unparalleled opportunity to find exactly what you want! Here are some unique venues that we selected to give you a taste of just how great this site is. Currently, there are over 200+ venues listed, but by December all 400+ St. Louis, St. Charles, So. Illinois and Surrounding Missouri areas will be listed.

Piazza Messina
Piazza Messina is the perfect marriage or rustic and modern Tuscan décor in a beautiful natural setting. It includes 8000+ Sq. Ft. of private event space situated on 14 1/2 acres of agricultural land. Featuring a bistro, ballroom and both an indoor and outdoor bar. This venue overlooks a beautiful four acre lake. One of the most unique features of Piazza Messina is the seamless transition from an indoor to outdoor setting including a wraparound covered portico with a view of the lake.

The Barnett
The Barnett on Washington is a unique and sophisticated St. Louis event venue that recently opened its doors after undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation. The building, located at 3207 Washington Boulevard, has a long and storied history, but was only recently renovated and restored to its original luster and elegance. Famed architect, Tom Barnett, constructed the building in 1920. It features a Spanish Mission style of construction and maintains its historic look and appeal while boasting the highest quality modern amenities.

Rocking J Ranch
ESCAPE FROM THE CITY! Just minutes from St. Louis. With 60+ Acres, nestled among 1000s acres of Ozark ridges, valleys, & great views all around, you will experience wide open spaces. The Rocking J Ranch is rustic, laid back & loaded with vintage & primitive pieces & unsurpassed Southern style hospitality. You and your guests won’t want to leave here. Their scenic setting includes a waterfall, wood arbors, vintage doors, barrels, pastures, horses grazing, barn wood, lights and all your favorite rustic decor, both inside and out. Wedding packages range from an all inclusive retreat to a Do-It-Yourself wedding on a budget and everything in-between!

The Larimore
The Larimore is a private, historic estate established in 1858. This Venue boasts 6 acres of enchanting grounds, the charming Victorian mansion and an elegant banquet center. This hidden gem is perfect for those searching for a spectacular event that is “Unique” and offers plenty of “WOW” factor! The Larimore provides for gazebo weddings in the garden or quaint chapel weddings, and indoor receptions.

The Weingarten
The Weingarten’s wedding ceremony and wedding reception venues are unlike any other. Surrounded by beautiful forests, cornfields and a lake, our natural landscape offers a picturesque setting for your wedding ceremony and wedding reception. Our winery feels miles away from it all but is actually less than 10 minutes from the nearest hotel.

Sunset Bluffs
With its picturesque surroundings and unparalleled service, guests will have an experience like no other at Sunset Bluffs. The Sunset Bluffs House faces an eight-acre quarry lake, surrounded by 110-foot natural bluffs that add an extra element of uniqueness to your event!

7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Venue

Choosing your wedding venue is a big decision as it impacts your entire wedding – number of guests, theme, menu, and more. Review these factors before signing that contact:

Location:  

You need to consider your guests and how they will arrive.  If most of your guests are coming from out of town, transportation needs to be readily available.  Your venue also needs to be somewhat close to a choice of hotels.  And most importantly, that venue should be easy to travel to the hotel from the reception without having to leave bread crumbs.   A good option here is to consider a venue that also has cottages and rooms available.  Hotels and destination locations like Pere Marquette, Hermann Hill, and Cedar Creek Resort etc. are all good choices.

If you are choosing a location where the wedding is held outdoors is there an “indoor” Plan B option in case of bad weather?  What does it cost to move to this alternative Plan B.

Size:

Weddings where everyone is crammed into too small a room is the last thing you want.  Be sure to create a tentative guest list to estimate how many people you anticipate.  Most times you can expect about 80% of those invited to attend.

Ambiance:

Choose a venue that matches the look and feel that you desire – classic ballroom elegance, rustic and outdoorsy, or something you can add your own personal touch.  A naturally beautiful place will save you money on decorations.   I also recommend to find a place that provides a multitude of photo locations.  Sometimes it can be in the general vicinity – like downtown, and other times it can be on the property of the venue itself like at Lake Creek Winery, Crown Valley Winery or other wineries.

Service:

This is an extremely important issue.  Do they have experienced professionals on staff to assist with all the details and make sure everything runs as you expected?   If they have an event coordinator, that person will assist with all details of the venue.  (Note:  this is not your “wedding” coordinator – that person is responsible for ALL the details of your wedding, not just the venue.)

Food:

Does this venue offer food in-house or can you hire your own catering company?  Do you want the flexibility of bringing in a food truck or choosing your own catering company?  Does this venue only allow you to choose from a selection of Preferred Catering Companies?   If, in-house, do you have a wide choice of food options that will appeal to all your guests – and does it taste good!   And finally, take a look at the price/per person.  Be sure that you include gratitude and tax, which is normally added to the per person expense and that can be as high as 30-35% more. 

Bar Service

Is a basic bar service included?  What does it include?  Is it a generic brand of alcohol or house wine?  Can you upgrade to a premium service and what does it cost?

 

Extras:

Watch the extra costs.  Do you need to pay for a dance floor or a cake cutting charge?  Do they provide water service at the tables.   (Many places no longer include this.)   Ask what is included and not.  Ask about rehearsal times and if they are included in the quoted price.   Find out if they provide extras in the price.  Holiday Inn at Six Flags provides a free bride’s room and overnight accommodations, plus much more.