What Comes First: The Venue or the Date?

Happy New Year!! I bet there are a number of newly engaged couples out there... so congratulations! So I thought I'd revisit this post, originally posted on June 9, 2010: __________________________________________________________________________

Ahhh, the classic conundrum (chicken or the egg?). Do you select your wedding date first and then your venue? Or do you pick the venue and then the date based on the venue’s availability? Here are some tips on how to go about this tricky process:

When the DATE comes first - If you are absolutely set on a certain wedding date, whether because you love the way it sounds (7/7/07 or 10/10/10 for example), or because it has special meaning to you and your fiancé (anniversary of first date/your parents’ wedding date or whatnot), then YAY, that is half the battle. You can call around to all the various venues and check their availability on your chosen date.

If you don’t have a specific date in mind, more so a general season or preferred month, then the VENUE comes first. Then take the following considerations:

1. What is your budget? Typically you should allocate about 50% of your total budget to reception costs, which include the venue rental fee, food & beverage, rentals (equipment and linens), staffing and gratuity, to name a few. If you prefer a blank-slate type venue which includes nothing but the space, then you should definitely keep in mind that you have to rent every. single. little. item for your wedding (down to the salt shakers and serving spoons), and this could potentially increase costs.

2. How many guests? Ask both sets of parents to provide their guest list, while you and your fiancé also compile your guest list to come up with a tentative number. If you want to be fair, you can allocate a certain number to both families. Don’t bother looking at venues that can’t accommodate your numbers, otherwise you may fall in love with something that just won’t work (similar to not trying on dresses that are way out of your budget!)

3. What is your style? Do you lean towards vintage and romantic styles? Then maybe that ultra-modern loft space may not be your best bet. Or on the flip side, if your style is sleek and clean, then maybe the Ritz Carlton is not a good fit! See my old post about choosing your wedding day look and vision.

Research and visit the various venues that have availability around your preferred time of year. When you find THE reception site, then decide which of their available dates will work best for you.

What did YOU pick first… the venue or the date?

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