Full disclosure here because I am all about being honest... I did a blog post about selecting a wedding venue for my work, Longwood Venues, so I may or may not be using some of the same information. I promise I'll change it up a bit and add more personal information from my experience. That being said, we could not have had a better experience with our venue, The Carriage House. It blew us out of the water and I have pretty high standards since I work for a company that owns five luxury event venues.
Now that I let you know where I am coming from, I will tell you as much as I can so that you can select your wedding venue with ease. For starters, decide on the aesthetic of your day. When you begin your search, you need to make sure you and your fiance are on the same page for what you are looking for. Make sure your personalities shine through. Walking into one of the venues I toured screamed Philadelphia to me. While it was beautiful and I loved the chapel on site, I knew it would not fit the aesthetic I was aiming for. In addition, T has no connection to Philadelphia other than me. Why would he want to get married at a wedding venue with nods to a city that means nothing to him? After leaving that venue, I learned that even though you can make each space your own, it is not easy to plan a style-specific wedding at every venue.
The quality of food is another huge factor when selecting a wedding venue. As stated on the Longwood blog, "It is important to ask questions about where the food comes from and what items are made in-house. Find out if the food is prepared on-site or in a commissary. If the venue’s food is prepared in a commissary, be aware of the use of hot boxes (aka food warmers, meaning food probably sits in these boxes for a period of time before being served to guests). You should also find out if the food is frozen. Frozen products are usually lower in quality." I wanted to use that exact quote because it rings true for so many reasons. You want to make sure the food is delicious and fresh. It is a huge part of your day and something your guests will talk about for a long time after the wedding is over. People are still telling T and me how delicious everything was at our wedding and that The Carriage House had amazing food. We feel extremely lucky that that was our friends and family's response. Imagine if it was horrible? Yikes.
Another thing to know before starting your search is a rough estimate for the guest count. You don't want to waste your time looking at venues that can only fit 100 people if you plan on inviting 230 people. We assumed that we would invite around 150 when we started selecting a wedding venue. While we ended up inviting 198 people, we knew ahead of time that our venue could accommodate that because it was something we kept in mind when our search began. Many venues also have varying spaces that can accommodate different guest counts so make sure you look into that when selecting a wedding venue.
I also think it is key to have a connection with the employees and salespeople you meet at the venue. If you don't have a connection, don't let that deter you though. Find someone at the venue that you feel comfortable with. You will be speaking to them often throughout the process so you want to make sure you get along. The saleswoman at The Carriage House made the process extremely fun for me. She told me that all my dreams were possible (cheese fry bar included). After we booked, our saleswoman left the venue however, they made it a point to make sure I still felt comfortable and confident in them. The staff was amazing. You must listen to your gut. Take note of how long they take to respond to you and if they listen to your needs. You want the relationship to be open and transparent.
The last thing I will say is to have fun and relax. Keep in mind that you are about to marry your soul mate so the day will be perfect no matter what. Check out the Longwood Venues blog for a more in-depth explanation for selecting a wedding venue. You can also always check out our venues. We have five throughout New England and I guarantee one will be your dream wedding venue.