Finding the Perfect Wedding Venue in Redlands
Redlands can feel like the kind of place where you know every good spot in town. You’ve found the best burrito place, you know exactly where to get your morning coffee, and maybe you’ve even been to some beautiful weddings in town. The thing about Redlands (or any small town, really) is that it’s the best place in the world to discover hidden gems, and wedding venues around town are no exception.
I could write a short novel about the many different factors to consider when choosing your wedding venue, but I'll do my best to keep it brief here and talk only about the biggest deal makers and breakers on a venue hunt.
First, you have to decide what's more important to you - getting married on a specific date or getting married in your dream venue. In a perfect world, you'd be able to do both. In the real world, you'll most likely have to make some sacrifices. If you're flexible with your date, day of the week, or even season when you start venue hunting, you'll have nearly endless options. Plus, almost every venue fluctuates in price seasonally, so if you aren't married to (pardon my pun) a date, you can potentially save yourself some money! And here in Southern California, we're lucky that many of our outdoor venues are breathtaking year round - just look at The Pond at Casey Orchards in the late fall! But if your heart is set on a winter wonderland wedding, the gorgeous architecture at the Speakeasy on State, Mitten Building or The Grove might be the ticket for you!
Second, I always try to keep in mind what clients absolutely need and what they can live without when searching for venues. Most places now are aiming to be all-inclusive, which has its obvious perks. However, try not to get so carried away with "perks" that you end up paying for things at your venue that you either don't need or don't want. Don't be afraid to negotiate with your venue to lower the price if you won't be utilizing some of their services. In many cases, having a planner or coordinator that frequents certain venues can help you get the best deal.
Also, you’ll want to keep in mind the aesthetic you’re looking to capture when hunting for wedding venues. Certain aspects — like indoors vs. outdoors — may seem obvious, but there are some subtler cues that can end up costing you much more than you’re thinking. Consider the architecture of the building and the landscaping as major factors that will affect the overall look of your wedding. You’ll want to choose a place that already lends itself to your desired look (or vice versa), otherwise, you may end up spending major money on draping, decor, and flowers to cover up something you could have avoided to begin with.
Finally, once you think you've found the one (venue, that is), make sure you double and triple check your contracts before you sign or put down any deposits. A lot of places will advertise great prices, but you may find that they've left out service charges, gratuity, sales tax, rental fees, bartending charges, etc. I've found that in addition to those hidden fees, a few other factors my clients often don't consider beforehand are extra time for first look photos, setup and cleanup hours, and availability of bride/groom suites. Make sure you know your venue's policies on every detail - large or small - before you sign a contract!
Hopefully this will help some of you out there searching for that perfect venue! If not, maybe it will convince you to hire a wedding planner to do the legwork for you - I have more spreadsheets to compare venues that I'm proud to admit.
See our last post for more on finding your perfect wedding planner.