Before you and your husband- or bride-to-be finalize the guest list, decide on what type of cake you want, book a DJ, or reserve first-class tickets to your Honeymoon in Bermuda, you need to choose a wedding venue. At Imperial, we know this can be an extremely daunting task, especially since each Los Angeles wedding venue seems more beautiful and luxurious than the last. To help you in your hunt for the perfect banquet hall, hotel, or resort, our expert event planners have collected tips from hundreds of couples, and we’d like to share them with you!
Narrow Your Search
In a city like Los Angeles, wedding venue options can be overwhelming. To make things easier, we recommend narrowing your search by doing the following:
- Create A Budget. Write down how much your parents are willing to contribute to your wedding expenses (if anything), how much you are willing to spend from your own savings, and how much debt you’re willing to incur. Add up these figures, then subtract the estimated expenses for catering, decorating, the wedding dress and tux, entertainment, and transportation costs. This figure should be close to your wedding venue budget.
- Choose Multiple Dates. Some venues are booked over a year in advance, so keeping your wedding dates flexible will prevent future disappointment. Seasonal changes may impact your decision, too, so be sure to consider what your venue will look like in the summer, fall, or winter.
- Estimate the Guest List. Though finalizing the guest list is often one of the most difficult aspects of wedding planning, having a ballpark figure of how many people will be attending your reception (especially since some venues charge by headcount) will help get an idea of how large the wedding venue needs to be and how much it will cost.
- Keep It Personal. Remember, this days is for you and your husband (or bride), not your parents or friends. When looking at venues, try to find one that compliments both your personalities and exudes the ambiance you want at your wedding reception.
- Ask Around. Sometimes the best way to find a great wedding venue is simply by asking friends, relative, or members of the community who have recently been married about their experiences.
Schedule a Venue Tour
Seeing the venue in person is essential to making a good decision. Though many venues offer cutting-edge 360 Tours, nothing beats walking through the event space to get an idea of what your wedding will be like. Make a checklist of “Must Haves” and “Deal Breakers” for each wedding venue, then consult your checklist as you do your venue walk-through.
Ask The Right Questions
Just because a venue looks beautiful doesn’t mean it will be right for you and your fiance. Be sure to ask these questions while touring the event space:
- Does your wedding venue have an in-house caterer. If so, what kind of food do they specialize in? What service styles can you accommodate (i.e. family style, buffet, full-service single plate)? Can I bring in my own dishes as well?
- Does the wedding venue have a coat check? What about ample bathroom facilities? Can the bathrooms be reached by my elderly guests or those with mobility issues?
- What is the parking situation? Does the venue have its own parking lot? If not, do they provide valet services?
- Does the venue offer reception packages? If so, what do the packages include?
- How long will I have the reception space? Are there weddings before or after mine? Is there a fee if I exceed your rental time, and if so, how much is it?
- If I want my pets to be in the wedding photos, are they allowed in the venue?
- Is there a venue coordinator who will be present during the reception? What are this person’s responsibilities? How much of the wedding planning will fall to me and/or my wedding planner and how much will be arranged by the venue?
- What is the payment schedule? How much will the down payment be? When will the final payment be due?
- What is the cancellation policy? Is there a charge for cancelling within a certain time-frame?
- Does the venue have a liquor license? If so, can they arrange for a bar to be set up? May I bring your own alcohol, if desired?
- Is the any regulations on the music, such as volume levels or time when it must stop?
- Does the venue have adequate outlets for my band or DJ?
- What are the best places for photographs? Where do couples typically get photographed?