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WR: Reception venue - How many did you look check out?

Hi Ladies, 

I am wondering, how many venues did you guys check out before booking the venue.  So, FI and I want a venue in downtown, but that is a tons of places and lets say by process of elimination, depending on our budget and what we want out of a venue.  That would still leave us with a good number of places.  I have been checking out places online so far. 
But I was wondering how many venues should we check out?  I don't want too many, because it will make it harder for me to decide. 

Sorry for droning on....Recap:

How many venues did you check out before booking?  How did you come up to that number?  What was the deciding factor for you when you booked your venue. 


Re: WR: Reception venue - How many did you look check out?

  • edited December 2011
    Based on a process of elimination by price, capacity, and location. We only went to see 4 places. I then took my mom back to our final 2, and we decided after that. I made a chart in excel, haha. Dorky, but it helps you stay organized!
    Steph & Brandon 4.17.10
    Planning Bio
    Married Bio - Updated 7.2
  • HinajHinaj member
    edited December 2011
    That is great idea, Since I started my research I have contact people and based on info regarding food, capacity and price, I eliminated it from our list, but I did not keep track of it, so now if my sister or FI asked regarding a place, I can't recall if it was taken off the list and why.  An excel file sounds like a great way to keep track of things.  I am all for staying organized!!!
  • edited December 2011
    Within 2 days of being engaged we started contacting places for prices/packages, mostly because we couldn't decide what time of year we wanted to get married.  We emailed over a dozen places the first week, went to one venue exactly one week of being engaged (Holiday Inn Mart Plaza) and went back four days later with my parents and booked the place.  We're a little nuts, but if it feels right, no sense looking somewhere else.
  • amylulichamylulich member
    edited December 2011
    We started looking about a month after we got engaged and decided on a date first so we had an idea when we spoke with people. Like previous posts, we narrowed down that we wanted in the suburbs, at hotel for the reception, and then by price, capacity, etc.  In total we looked at 8 hotels, and finally sort of got sick of looking (and it was becoming hard to choose) but there was a venue we both agreed upon.  I took my parents to our top three and then FI and I made a decision. 

    The deciding factors were the package offerings (it included the most compared to other packaged for the same price), location (near highway), and price (affordable but ability to upgrade if desired).
  • Golfer09Golfer09 member
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I think a couple of items can factor into your selection/weeding out process:

    1)  Are you tied down to a specific date?  If so, this will help weed out locations based on pure availability.

    2)  Are you tied to a specific location in the city (must be Mag Mile, etc)?  Hotel vs non-hotel?  Do you want your wedding to be in the hustle and bustle of downtown, or can it be in the city, but just not in the heart of the tourist areas?  Will your guests feel comfortable driving to these locations?

    3)  Your budget - many hotels have minimum spends (especially for Saturdays)...you can factor in your guest list # to see if it will work with their minimums.  For non-hotel venues, some allow you to bring in your own liquor & caterer of choice but some have restricted vendors that you have to use with the venue. 

    4)  Your guests' budget - assuming hotel block and parking for people driving in, this may also be a consideration.  If you are considering a non-hotel venue, are there hotels close by and will you be providing shuttle service?  Is parking readily available or will you be paying for a valet service?

    5)  Terms of your hotel block (if you are going with a hotel venue) - some hotels build in minimum occupancy rates by your guests.  Also see if any discounts will be provided for a suite (assuming wedding party will use this either for getting ready or the after party)

    6)  Capacity - if you want a large wedding (over 300) this will also weed out a lot of venues for you....

    We looked at 3 locations - I knew my budget couldn't support a downtown hotel based on our guest number and style-wise I wanted a modern looking wedding.  Knowing we were looking for gallery types and studios, one of the biggest determinants was the number of bathrooms and location relative to our host hotel.

    Also because we were tied to having a NYE wedding, many traditional park district venues and hotel venues had policies that mandated we be done by midnight - because of NYE we wanted to start later and end at 1am. 

    We ended up having our wedding at Prairie Production.....for many out of towners, this is not a "classic" downtown area and pretty far west.  We ended up providing shuttle service and also had a private parking lot so people wouldn't have to park on the street.
    Our wedding SDE: Our wedding Feature: PW=demo
  • edited December 2011
    We started looking 2 weeks after we got engaged because we have kind of a "hot date".  I first sent out mass messages to tons of places to get prices so I could weed out the ones we couldn't afford.  Then we contacted the ones we could afford and set up appointments and took it from there.  We finally narrowed it down to 2 places and after a second look at both, went with our gut instinct.

    We looked at about 6 places before we made our decision.
  • edited December 2011
    We had a fairly good idea of the type of venue we wanted before we started looking.  We probably checked out 8 places online, contacted 3 for additional information, and only saw one before we booked it.  From the beginning we knew we really like FI's parents' country club, but shopped around a bit to check out comparable pricing.
  • HinajHinaj member
    edited December 2011
    Thank you ladies for all your responses!!!  I appreciate it. 
  • edited December 2011
    I flew in town for 4 days and ran through about 30 places that we had found in our price range (city and burbs).  Fiance was not with me, but my mom, maid of honor and matron of honor (who are all still local) were.  All I really knew was that we didn't want it at a hotel or typical reception type venue.  We basically looked at all the park district places, a few art galleries, a couple of country clubs, mansions, and zoos.  
  • BeesFroggieBeesFroggie member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Right after we got engaged I had a place in mind.  I already thought it was perfect and I thought my FI would love it too.  We went to see it a few days later, be both fell in love with it and I told my parents I was taking them to see it the next day.  Before we went I called around to a few places near me I would of considered to get a price comparison.  They were all about the same so when my parents saw it later that day, they put the deposit down. 

    So we saw one, knew immediately and never regretted it.
  • edited December 2011
    I looked at about 15 places - a mix of museums and small venues - throughout the city. We had it narrowed down when I took my mom back to what I thought were the final two. Upon revisiting them both, we realized it wasn't what we were looking for. My FI and I ended up going back to a couple of more places and booked with Salvage One for July 2011 (they were already booked all of June 2011 when I was looking in January 2010!). We had gotten engaged in December 2009 and we had planned to wait to start the planning but realized pretty early on that wasn't possible. In Chicago, depending on when you want to get married, you have to book pretty far. We wanted a summer wedding and those book up really fast at the "hot" venues in town. I'd make sure you have an idea of your budget as well as what you are looking for in a venue. It was important to us that the venue have both an indoor and outdoor space. We also wanted a space that provided tables/chairs (not a requirement but it does cut catering costs). Just a suggestion of a way to maybe cut corners in the long run. I love Salvage One b/c it is so unique both inside and out AND they have such amazing antique tables/chairs.
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