Things to Look for in a Wedding Venue in Colorado
I’m continuing today with a series of blog posts for those who are newly engaged and looking to get started with wedding planning here in Colorado! (Of course, if you aren’t from Colorado, read on…you may also find this information super helpful!)
Having planned weddings for couples now for several years, I’ve seen my fair share of wedding venues.
I’ve seen unique venues, traditional ones, some that were a wonderful surprise, and others that ended up as a massive disappointment.
There are LOTS of options in Colorado, so once you’ve narrowed down your choices to a particular feel or style (say, a ritzy hotel with a rooftop ceremony or a private ranch with a meadow), it’s important to know how to tell the difference between the ‘ok’ venue and the ‘amazing’ venue.
Grab a drink and read on friends!
How to choose a great wedding venue
1. Look behind the scenes, objectively.
Here are some examples of things that people don’t think about when they are first drawn into a particular venue. Look past the glam and see if you find some of these disappointing pitfalls:
-Dumpsters and sheds in plain view of the ceremony site or walk down the aisle (thus ending up in many of your photos)
-Tourists arriving by bus to tour and visit a historic venue (yes, even when weddings are taking place!)
-Tight, small walkways and bar or food buffet areas, where guests may clutter up to chat and cause a traffic jam
-Traffic or train tracks nearby that might be disruptive during the ceremony
-Old septic and plumbing systems that could prove problematic with large guest lists
-Too low ceilings (feels cramped with a crowd) or too high ceilings (which can make it harder to fill the space and make it feel warm and inviting)
-Difficult access to bathrooms because they are far away, tricky to find, or because there aren’t enough
-Venues that may have a completely different feel on some days than others (example, a hotel with a bar near a stadium on game day, vs. a quiet afternoon as it was when you originally toured it)
-A bummer of a weather contingency (if it’s raining, what does the alternative ceremony or cocktail hour space look like?)
2. Lighting is everything
Your photographer will tell you this too, but good lighting can make or break the overall feel of your wedding.
Have you ever been to a wedding where the bride was squinting the whole time because the sun was in her eyes during the ceremony, while the groom had the sun on his back?
Or a wedding where the reception space felt cold and uninviting?
Ceremony lighting: look for a ceremony space that will be either backlit during the ceremony time (sun coming from behind the alter) or front lit (sun coming from directly behind the guests). This is not only great for photography, but the direction of the light makes a huge difference on the ‘squint factor’!
(Bonus tip: avoid ceremony spaces where light filtered through the trees will cast ‘spots’ on anybody standing at the altar).
Reception lighting: a reception space should be warm and inviting, with string lights, lanterns, sconces, and chandeliers. If you choose a reception space lit by fluorescent or a similar type of lights, anticipate needing to put some of your budget towards candles and professional lighting to warm it up.
3. Look for rules
Good venues will have good rules.
Rules may be annoying, but nothing screams ‘inexperienced venue’ like one that is literally a ‘free for all’!
Some of the biggest problems I’ve seen at weddings came from venues that lacked established rules, and thus lacked an established process. While they may have been super laid back during the sales pitch, the same attitude on the wedding day may result in chaos.
You also want to avoid working with a venue that won’t let you do anything, including hire your own vendors or bring in professional lighting. Moderation and professionalism is key here, and a solid contract protecting both parties is an absolute must.
These requirements are must-haves to consider before signing the contract on your wedding venue:
. A reasonable space for catering (some caterers will charge more to work at certain venues because the catering space is difficult for them to work in.)
A space to get ready. Even if you choose to have your hair and makeup done off-site, having a reasonable, accommodating space to polish up, take a break, and store your stuff is super handy for the wedding day once you are at the venue.
Plenty of free parking for guests. For city weddings, advise guests in advance what their parking options are, and if you can swing it in the budget, help cover the cost.
Transportation alternatives for guests. If riding the ski lift is bound to practically give your Grandmother a heart-attack, make sure there are reasonable and safe alternatives.
Accessibility. If you have a lot of guests who may not be as mobile, be aware of how your venue choice may affect their ability to navigate and enjoy your wedding day.
5. Go with your gut
Lastly, none of this matters if you don’t feel a personal or emotional connection with a wedding venue.
The right place will jump out at you as soon as you see it! If something isn’t just right, there is almost always a way to work around it. I would be thrilled to show you how to make your dreams a reality!
Are you ready to find the PERFECT wedding venue in Colorado?
I can tap into my experience and share some ideas with you that may be unique, outside of the box, and not as widely advertised. I plan weddings with couples who really want to make the day beautiful and personal, and would love to chat with you! Click below to get in touch.