There is a real trap when it comes to picking a wedding venue. It is so easy to fall in love with a particular venue and not consider all of the factors that are going to affect you at your wedding. A little knowledge will go a long way in helping you to make the right decision so you won't be sorry that you booked the wrong location. When you start to look around the Grand Rapids area for the perfect venue that fits your vision, then you will want to take the following factors into account.
Check the décor out and ask yourself if it fits what you want or have dreamt about. Maybe even more importantly, does it fit your overall wedding style, colors and décor that you have already decided on. Does the venue need a lot of money put into it to make it look presentable. People take this for granted, but if the walls need to be covered up and carpeting brought in, it may become a money pit really quickly.
Another key question to consider is whether a venue has an in-house caterer. Are you restricted to that caterer or can you bring in your own from the outside. You really want to think about this issue because the in-house caterer may serve inferior food. But you need to find out. Schedule a meeting with the in-house caterer and sample some of their meals and talk about the options. You will also want to compare the cost of the in-house caterer with outside vendors if they are allowed.
Little details that sometimes escape people are issues like if the venue has a coat check. Are there enough bathroom facilities for the crowd size you will have there. Also, is the location wheelchair accessible? If you have any guests that require this kind of accommodations, you need to know this. Are there ample parking spaces for the number of guests you are inviting or would you have to arrange a shuttle service. This can be a really big hassle so you will really want to think about this carefully before going that direction. Is there enough room for your band and dancing? Is there a room where the bridal party can change if they need to?
In terms of money, there are a number of questions to ask in addition to what the final cost will be. Do they allow you to make payments? How much of a deposit do you have to put down? Are there any hidden costs? Something that a lot of people don't think to ask about is the venue's cancellation policy. What happens if the reception goes over the time you booked it for? Are you charged at an overtime rate? It is usually cheaper to bring in your own liquor. Does the venue allow this?
Is this a lot of information to gather? Yes, we agree. But an informed buyer will be much less likely to be disappointed with what they end up getting. So, take your time, ask all of these questions and more as they come to mind. Never be afraid to ask any question that you are wondering about. You are a paying customer and you have the right to find out anything you are wondering about. Then compare all of your findings and make the best decision you possibly can based on what you want and on what you now know. This will give you the best chance of booking a venue you will be happy with.