Newly engaged? Congratulations!
We hope you are enjoying every second of it. We also understand if you are completely overwhelmed with wedding planning and have a million questions running through your head, like “where am I going to get married?” While choosing a wedding venue can be a daunting task to start with, once you find the right location everything else will start falling into place. The venue really helps set the tone for the style of wedding you’re going to have…whether it’s a modern art museum or a countryside setting (ahem, Cornman Farms), our primary advice is to not only make sure you love the actual space but also the people that you will be working with. Great service is crucial in enjoying stress-free planning up until the big day. As you set out to plan your dream wedding, here are some other top tips and questions to ask to help you in your wedding venue search:
- Make a guest list. Not to worry, it doesn’t have to be completely flushed out, but it is essential to know at least a rough estimate of how many guests will be attending your nuptials. Talk it over with your fiancé and both of your families to make sure you are all on the same page with the size of the wedding and then start compiling a list. Once you have a rough number in mind, it will really help narrow down the venue search.
- Talk to a wedding planner or coordinator. Yes, we highly recommend it! Wedding planners will know area venues inside and out and what their capabilities are. They can easily help you narrow down your choices and offer an insider’s perspective. If you aren’t sure about hiring a wedding planner from the get-go, we recommend talking to friends and family for personal recommendations and referring to wedding websites like Style Me Pretty and The Knot that offer comprehensive venue listings. Remember, you will be spending a lot of time with this person, so when choosing a planner our rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t want to go out to dinner with them, then they are not the right fit for you!
- Do a little research. We totally understand how easy it is to get swept up in the moment when you find a beautiful venue on Instagram, but make sure you read up on the venue’s offerings before you get your heart set on it. Contact the venue directly to get pricing and venue information ahead of time as well so you can understand what is included in their pricing. The more information you have before you visit the better questions you can ask during the tour.
- Have a date in mind. Venues, especially in Michigan, typically offer seasonal pricing due to the popularity of summer and fall weddings in our climate. So, think about the time of year and day of the week you want to get married. If a Saturday in the summer or fall is a non-negotiable for you and your fiancé then that’s important to know when looking for venues with availability (those dates will get booked first and you will most likely need to book 1 year out). If you’re more flexible with timing, then you will likely have more date options and be able to take advantage of better pricing.
- Make an appointment to tour the wedding venue. Most venues offer tours on an appointment only basis so be sure to inquire in advance and set up a time that works for you and the key people you’d like to bring with you on your visit. Prior to your visit make sure you understand the costs.
- Think about what is included.Full-service venues include essential rental items, such as china, flatware, tables and chairs where non full-service venues require you to bring in everything from silverware to portable bathrooms. It’s important to understand what all is included in the venue pricing when comparing locations, as it rarely is apples to apples.
- Talk to previous clients. While it’s important to read reviews and testimonials, it’s also helpful to talk to previous clients directly. If you don’t know anyone personally that has worked with the venue before, most venues are happy to offer a list of references you can contact.
- Ask about a rain plan. Michigan weather can be very unpredictable! So, it’s important to understand what the rain plan is for any outdoor portions of the day and most importantly, make sure you are comfortable with it.
- Make sure the venue aligns with your wedding vision. Check out the venue’s Instagram for images of real weddings and how couples have used the space to achieve their own vision for their big day. This should help give you an idea of different ways you can use the space to make it your own.
- Ask how many events are held on property at a time. As a client, you’ll want to know if you will have the place to yourself or if there will be other events taking place the day of your wedding. If that’s a concern, make sure to ask the venue about how they handle multiple events. At Cornman Farms our buildings sit in close proximity to each other, so we only host one event per day and our clients have the entire property and staff to themselves.
- Think about food and beverages. With the ever-growing rise of the local food movement, farm-to-table has become a top priority for our clients when it comes to food and beverages. As a working farm, we are able to incorporate the local produce grown in our chef’s gardens into our beverage program with homemade simple syrups and garnishes as well as our food menus which incorporate the bounty of the season. If this is also a top priority for you, make sure to ask your venue about their food philosophy during your visit.
- Think about your budget. If budget is a priority for you, we highly recommend looking at lowering your guest count. The New New York Times recently published an article on popularity of Micro-weddings (or as we say intimate weddings) and we are so on board. Take a look at our all-inclusive Intimate Wedding packages and let the stress melt away.
- Have fun. Above all, remember this process should be fun! Choosing the right vendors and people to work with will only alleviate your stress so you can focus on your family, friends and fiancé on your wedding day.