Getting married? Congratulations! Here at SoHo, we love providing services for weddings throughout central Florida. This is one of the best places in the world to get married, with venues for any type of wedding you could want.
The right venue can make all the difference in getting you to your dream wedding day. And since your venue choice will also impact all of your other wedding day decisions, here are some things to keep in mind while looking for your perfect setting.
Before you plan your wedding, it’s a good idea to have at least a ballpark figure for your budget. There are wedding venues to fit just about any budget. But you don’t want to find yourself spending so much on the venue that you have to cut corners in other areas that are important to your wedding vision. Or even worse, you don’t want the heartbreak of finding the perfect venue and realizing it’s beyond your maximum budget.
Your Guest List
You certainly don’t need an exact count at this point, but you should have some general idea of the number of guests you’ll have. After all, there’s no sense in looking at venues that have a maximum capacity of 50, for example, if your guest list is closer to 150.
Before you start looking, you, your fiancé, and your families can put together a tentative list of guests. That way, you can be reasonably sure you’ve accounted for all possible guests, and your families will be happy you asked for and accepted their input.
When you think about your dream wedding, think about the things you’re not willing to compromise. Consider making a list of three or four deal-breakers to refer back to as you narrow your search for the perfect venue. These are things you’ll want to ask about as you narrow your search.
For example, do you need pet-friendly? Do you want a venue that includes things like catering, bar options, decorations, and entertainment? Or would you prefer to hire individual vendors for your own customizable wedding vision? Do you prefer a very formal or fairy-tale setting or would you prefer a more laid-back and casual one? Whatever your non-negotiables are, they’ll help you to narrow your search and save you time in the long run.
Options for Outdoor or Indoor
Here in Florida, we can have outdoor weddings all year round, weather permitting. Garden weddings, beach weddings, or barn weddings, there are venues for that. If you’re considering an outdoor setting, though, be sure to ask about a backup plan in case of bad weather.
Food and Beverage Options
Depending on your preferences, you can choose a venue that handles everything food and bar-related in-house. This is usually the most expensive option but could also mean you have fewer decisions to make and fewer vendors to organize.
You can choose to hire a separate catering company if the venue allows it, with or without a bar option. In this case, you may or may not need to also bring in your own servers and bartenders. We at SoHo have worked with and can recommend several catering companies that we frequently partner with and who share our vision of providing you with 5-star service.
Or you can choose a venue that allows you to bring in food from your favorite restaurant or even made by family members. This last option is usually the most budget-friendly. If you choose to have food brought in from your favorite restaurant, remember to ask if they also provide servers for your event. If you choose to hire your own servers and/or bartender, SoHo would be proud to provide you with both, and we can also arrange to pick up the food from your favorite restaurant on the day of your event if you wish.
In addition, if you choose to have a bar with this last option, you would also provide your own liquor and other beverage items. Just be sure to ask the venue about their policies for serving alcohol on their premises. Many require that you have a bartender licensed and certified in alcohol responsibility, something that we at SoHo can provide upon request.
Other Practical Considerations
Once you’ve narrowed your preliminary choices, it’s a good idea to visit each in person whenever possible before making your final decision. You’ll need to get a good idea of where everything will go on your special day.
For instance, if you choose to have a live band rather than a DJ, you’ll want to make sure there is enough room for a full band set-up. You’ll be able to get a good idea of the parking situation and how convenient it will be for your guests, or whether there is adequate shuttle service if the parking is not close to the venue.
Particularly in the case of an outdoor event, as about contingency plans in case of bad weather. Check to see whether there are enough restrooms for your guests and that they are conveniently located. And finally, if you are inviting a lot of out-of-town guests, you may want to consider a venue with several hotels nearby or one with easy directions for guests that are not familiar with the area.
Whatever kind of wedding you and your fiancé are dreaming of, there’s a venue for you. If you still need some ideas or aren’t sure where to start, check out our listings for venues located across Central Florida, as well as our listing of vendors we’re proud to partner with.