How to Choose a Wedding Venue
Location, location, location! The very first thing to accomplish when wedding planning is deciding where & when you and your fiancé would like to get married. This can be a daunting task, especially in beautiful Aspen, where each wedding venue seems more magical than the next. Yes, we are incredibly lucky to have such wonderful wedding venues in Aspen, but it can certainly become overwhelming quickly.
As always, our effort here at Borrowed & Blue is to keep wedding planning as stress-free and simple as possible, so read on for an exhaustive list of what you need to keep in the forefront of your mind while you're choosing a wedding venue.
Before a Venue Visit
- Before anything else, sit down with your fiancé and create a list of what you want, keeping in mind both of your personalities. What kind of vibe do you two want on your wedding day? Something rustic and natural, elegant and sophisticated, a garden wedding, or something more spiritual? This will make it much easier to not get swept away by something that you don't really want.
- During this same conversation, create a budget of how much you are willing to spend on a wedding venue. Keep in mind that some venues include in-house catering, wedding rentals (chairs, tables, linens, etc.) in their package pricing, while others do not. This will of course affect the overall dollar amount of what you're hoping to spend on a venue.
- Choose a couple of dates, in order of preference, that you might want for the wedding day. It would be a shame to fall in love with a place only to discover it's booked every weekend of your desired month.
- Consider what time of year you are getting married. Some wedding venues are better for winter events while others look most glorious in the summer.
- Try to figure out how many people you are going to invite to your big day. Ensuring that everyone has enough space to mingle, dine, and dance is a top priority. Also, take a look at the individuals you are inviting: can elderly and physically disabled folks be accommodated at the venue?
- Consider whether you and your fiancé want a spiritual or religious wedding ceremony. This may dictate whether you have the ceremony in one place & the reception at another venue.
- Talk about whether or not you would like to make a weekend out of it—this is, in my humble opinion, the very best way to make the most out of this very special celebration. If you do decide to do this, consider renting a large house for the whole wedding party (or two, for the bride's side and groom's side).
- Stop by the local tourism center. They'll have loads of information about Aspen weddings and may be able to suggest some alternative wedding venues that you haven't thought about.
- Ask the Aspen wedding vendors you have already hired which venues they have liked the best. Most importantly, ask your wedding photographer this question. They will know which wedding venues are the best for wedding pictures. Also, ask newlyweds, friends, co-workers, and family members which venues they have most enjoyed of the weddings they've attended.
Do your homework and research Aspen wedding venues on the web, but do not make any final decisions based on what you see online. Walk through each & every venue you are interested in. Bring a camera & take photos of your favorite elements. Carry a notepad and pen.
Things to Consider & Questions to Ask While Touring Wedding Venues
You don't want to fall prey to the beauty of the venue and forget to ask some very important questions. Keep the following in mind while touring every venue and don't sign anything until you have answers to these questions.
- Be sure to go to the venue, especially for outdoor weddings, at the time you plan to get married. You will want to see how the sun shines during different times of the day to avoid you, your fiancé, and your guests having to stare directly at the sun. Squinty eyes don't make for the best wedding photos!
- If the venue is primarily an outdoor venue, ask what their rain plan is.
- While visiting indoor venues, take note of the shape of the room. A strange shape may interrupt the flow of the party.
- Do they have an in-house caterer? Can you bring in any of your choosing, or is there an exclusive catering list?
- Do they have a coat check & ample bathroom facilities? What is the parking situation?
- Is there a reception package & what does it include?
- Do they have enough chairs, tables, utensils, glasses, etc., for your guests or must you rent them from elsewhere?
- How long can you have the reception space for? Is there an overtime fee if you go over? Is there a minimum amount of time it must be rented?
- Is your pet allowed? If not, would they be allowed if they had a handler and were only present for photos?
- Is there a venue coordinator who will be there on the day of your wedding? If so, what exactly are their responsibilities and what will fall into your or your planner's hands?
- What is the payment schedule? What is the down payment? Are there any hidden costs? When are payments due?
- Will there be another wedding before/after yours? Will any other events be happening at the same time as yours?
- Are there kitchen and cooking facilities?
- Is there a dress code you must inform your guests of?
- Do they have their liquor license? Can you bring in our own alcohol? Do they have a bar? If not, can you set one up?
- Is smoking allowed?
- Is the place air conditioned/heated?
- Are there regulations about what kind of music can be played? Must the music end at a certain time? Is there a decibel restriction? Do they have their own sound system?
- Is there enough room for a band or DJ and dancing? Are there ample electrical outlets?
- Is there a place for the bride & groom to change and relax? Can the wedding party get ready here on the morning of the wedding?
- Where are the best places for photographs?
- Do they have an open flame policy?
- How much decorating will you have to do for this venue?
- If the reception is at a different site from the ceremony, what is the distance? Do they have the same style? Can they accommodate the same number of guests?
If you keep all these things in mind and ask the right questions, we're confident you'll find the right venue for your big day and can rest assured that there will be no unpleasant surprises while you continue to plan your day. We can't wait to see which venue you've chosen!