So, you’re engaged. First of all, congratulations to you and your fiancé. The next part of this journey can range from fun and exciting to intimidating and overwhelming. One of the first things you’re probably thinking about is where and when you’d like to get married. There are a million factors to consider, but we chatted with one of our wedding planners to give you a To Do list of the first things to nail down before you start calling venues.
We hope this helps relieve some of the stress. Remember, wedding venues and most wedding professionals absolutely love making your day special and they know how overwhelming this can be. A venue that makes you feel comfortable, confident, and at ease can go a long way. But, before you go about trying to find that venue, here are six things to know before you call.
When Do You Want to Get Married?
“Have you picked a date yet?” is often one of the first questions that bursts from friends and family once you’ve announced your engagement, but it’s also something you will need to know when calling venues. It’s usually best to try and narrow things down as much as possible. Start with picking a season.
If you have an exact date in mind, maybe an anniversary or fun date combo (10/10/20 was very popular this year!) it is going to change your search for a venue. If you’re locked in on one date, the venues you call may already have a wedding scheduled that day. Ask yourself before you call if you are more willing to compromise on the date or on the venue. There’s no use going on a site visit if you have your heart set on a date that is no longer available. If you don’t have an exact date, just communicate your flexibility with the venue and they will be able to let you know what they have available in the season or month you are looking at.
How Many Guests Are You Inviting?
Don’t worry, we do not need a headcount or a solid guest list this early in the process, but an estimated guest count is a Need to Know before contacting venues. Not only is guest count an important part of the pricing (we’ll dive into budget next) but some venues can only accommodate a certain number of guests or may even have a minimum guest suggestion. Sterling Ridge, for example, can host up to 200 guests in our outdoor options, but the indoor space only allows 25 attendees.
Start by making a rough list with your fiancé of who will be attending. Estimate how many family members, coworkers, childhood friends, and any other major life category you’ll want to invite. You can even try to separate your list into people who absolutely must be invited and then some extras who you would love to be there. Knowing you have 50 “Must Invites” will be helpful when it comes time to hammer out the details of what venue options are available to you.
Do You Have A Budget?
While this might not be the most fun part of the process, your budget planning does need to happen early in your wedding journey. It may guide your venue choice, your guest list count, and a ton of other important decisions. If we know you have a strict budget, we will be able to better guide you and your options so that you don’t start falling in love with spaces and ideas that aren’t right for you.
A smaller budget doesn’t have to mean a smaller wedding, but it does need to be communicated well with everyone involved in the planning process. We don’t want your wedding to cause you stress and overspending is certainly a way to tip that planning process from fun and exciting into the danger zone.
What Are You Picturing for your Wedding?
Sterling Ridge is a resort filled with rustic cabins, mountain views, and tons of natural beauty. If you’re imagining something that works with our space, then we would love to work with you. However, if you had imagined a barn wedding or a grand ballroom reception, we aren’t going to be what you are looking for. Be open with your fiancé and family to be sure that everyone is on the same page so that venues aren’t being recommended that might not fit into your vision.
What Do You Want Your Venue to Do?
A venue can mean different things to different people. Are you looking for a ceremony and reception site or just one or the other? Would guests like to stay the night at the resort? Be sure to have these conversations before you get to the venue and aren’t sure what to tell the wedding planners. Some venues may have specific contracts that restrict catering options or bar services, so be sure to talk about what you had in mind so the venue can let you know if it’s available for their site.
Have You Investigated the Venue Online?
We know how busy you are and how daunting this process can feel. Before you begin calling venues, we recommend taking a look at their website, see what you can discover beforehand, and visit their social media to find some photos of events they have held in the past. Find them on Wedding Wire or The Knot and read some reviews. You may discover before you even pick up the phone that this is the dream venue you’ve been looking for or you might find that they can’t accommodate your expected guest count. We don’t want you to get overwhelmed by information and options if you start shooting emails to every venue in the state. We have an entire page dedicated to Private Events, it even features some drone footage of one of our ceremony sites!
Focus on Your Magical Day
There can be so many opinions swirling around your wedding planning process, but our best advice is to just focus on your day. How do you want to feel, what do you want to focus on, and what is most important to you? We hope you are on an amazing journey already and if you are interested in learning more about hosting a wedding or special event at Sterling Ridge, be sure to reach out. Our wedding coordinators are always ready to answer your questions.