I hope I’m not alone in saying that venue searching has not been my favorite part of the wedding planning process so far. My fiancé and I had quite a few stipulations when it came to the event space: it has to fit our personalities and style, it has to be accessible for everyone, it has to include a staff for cleaning up and tearing down, and it has to be within the budget.
Lots of criteria = lots of research.
Fortunately, Greenville has so many amazing event spaces that could work, so the trick was just to narrow them down and attempt to find the perfect space. Through a little bit of Instagram and Google searching, lots of emails, a couple rescheduled tour dates, and an emergency family pow-wow we decided on the perfect space and our official wedding date.
During the process I did jot down a few helpful things I did – just in case you’re planning on planning a wedding in the near future or are still trying to find your perfect location!
- Know your style. I’m not talking about strictly fashion preferences (although that can be an influencing factor). What type of wedding do you have your heart set on? Modern, rustic, classic, elegant, boho, chic, industrial? Didn’t know those were all wedding categories? Me neither…. until someone listed them off for me. Your wedding vision will drive your location choice. For me it was simple and natural, so I was off looking for venues with exposed brick and wooden beams and lots of natural light.
- Know your priorities. Is it important for you to have a dance floor? A parking lot guard? A 100 ft long aisle? If it is ask all of those questions in the email (or phone) exchanges you have with event space coordinators. A space may be perfect in style, but if it can’t hold 400 of your nearest and dearest it’s time to keep searching.
- Know how to search. And while we’re on the subject of searching, you may be asking ‘where do I start? Google is not very helpful!’ And it’s true, while a lot of multi-purpose event spaces are found through an easy location-based search, some of the hidden gems are worth doing a little digging for. My favorite way to search for venues is to identify local wedding photographers on Instagram, follow their accounts and then see where they’re geotagging their posts. I found my venue that way and it was awesome to see photos already taken in the space!
- Keep it organized. I’m a bit of an organizational freak to begin with, but my head started spinning the moment I found more than 3 venues. Do yourself a favor at the start and create an Excel doc or a Pages chart (I actually created a Google Doc so my fiance could add in any info he found) with the following categories:
- Name of venue
- Contact info
- Date Contacted
- Plan tours and previews. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a handful of potential venues, go ahead and plan a tour so you can see the space in person. I think this is extremely helpful because you get to see the blank slate of the venue instead of it staged and professionally photographed. If you’re undecided, wait a week or so and ask to see it again, maybe at a different time of day, or just before another event. That might help you get a good feel for how the space can be used.
- Ask the right questions. My mom is a woman of much wisdom so when she asked to come along to see the venue and meet the coordinator I happily agreed. Her and I had talked through a few questions (especially relating to the decor and food) beforehand and I’m so glad we did! We were able to get a lot of great information about details I wouldn’t have thought to ask (like are open flame candles ok or not?) Knowing to ask the right questions to start with will be a lifesaver down the road, I’m sure!
Header photo via the Southern Bleachery – and my wedding venue!