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A guide to selecting the best wedding venues

By Andrew Stratton

Considering different wedding venues for your wedding day can be an overwhelming task. Whether you want your event to be inside or outside, it's important to consider the time of year, the number of guests, the theme, and many other factors when planning. Take the time to research several different facilities in your area and talk with the staff at each one. The following are just a few of the features you may want to consider when searching for the perfect ceremony or reception location:

Facility Size

It is likely that you already have an idea of the size of your wedding party and your guest list. Evaluate whether the facility or campus is large enough to accommodate your guests. Ask the staff the typical size of events they host. If most of your activities are outside, make sure the facility offers enclosed areas suitable for your guests in the case of bad weather.

If you're going to have a meal, dancing, or some other type of entertainment after the ceremony, make sure there is enough room for your guests to enjoy themselves.

Staff

You will want to have a dedicated staff member to help you plan and coordinate your event. Make sure your contact and the rest of the staff is experienced in handling an event of your type and size. Read any reviews they have posted about their services, and ask if you can contact any other brides as references.

Remember that the staff will be available on the day of your event as well. If you are planning activities throughout the campus, will there be staff on hand to help direct guests or will you need to designate other people to provide directions? You will also need to know whom you or any guests can ask questions to on the day of the event.

Meals and Beverages

Many wedding venues include options for serving meals and beverages. Talk with the staff about your ideas, whether it's a light reception, a sit-down meal, or an open bar. They may have facilities to prepare food available on site, or you may be able to bring in caterers to handle all the meal needs. Make sure you understand the facility's policy on serving alcohol or having alcohol on the premises.

Location and Amenities

If your wedding party or guests are traveling from out of town, you may want to make sure the location is easy to access. Visit the site to see if the terrain and overall look of the campus or facility is what you envision for your special day. Check if there are nice hotels around for guests to stay overnight if needed. If there are other attractions around, your guests may extend their stay to enjoy the area.

Additional Services

Some wedding venues will offer additional services, either as part of the package you will purchase or at a separate cost. Some of these services might include decorating and setup assistance, all the linens, china, utensils, and glassware for meals, cutting and serving of the cake, music and audio setup, and guest transportation.

For one of the most important days in your life, take time to research different wedding venues before making a final decision. Remember to look for a location and staff that will be able to make your special day all that you've dreamed.

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