5 Tips for Choosing your Wedding Venue

Your wedding venue choice is a multi-layer decision.  How many people? Indoor or outdoor? Turn-key or DIY?….here’s a handy list of 5 tips to help you narrow down the prospects:

1. How many people are you inviting? Assume 80-85% of those guests will attend (applies to New Orleans weddings).

2. Do you want a chair for everyone? Most people outside of New Orleans have sit-down dinners for all or part of their reception.  Are your guests traveling to the city? Will they be lost without a seat? If so, you can have a chair for everyone but have open seating to keep the mood light.  (the NOLA tradition is to have only 60% seating and high boys for the rest).  Some venues include tables and chairs.

3. Do you want an indoor, outdoor, or combination wedding? In New Orleans you ALWAYS need a rain plain.  There is no safe month from showers.

4. Do you want amplified music? Some venues have limits on how loud and how late your music can be, so get those guidelines in advance, before you fall in love with a space.

5. How much can you afford? To figure that out, take the budget for the wedding (average $150pp in New Orleans, but it can be done for less) and multiply that by 35%.  This is the average portion of a wedding budget that’s spent on the catering and bar.  If your venue is charging a room rental fee on top of food and beverage, or if it allows outside catering and only charges for the room, you need to take the venue rental fee out of your budget and use the remaining as your bottom line. Now that you have your catering and bar number, is it enough to fit with the options your dream venue provides?

 Those are my top 5 tips for choosing your wedding venue. Happy Planning!
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