You’re engaged (yay) and ready to start planning your wedding (double yay)!! But wait, where to start? After you and your fiancee have no doubt alerted the masses of your upcoming nuptials, you should be ready to have a candid talk about making those first decisions that will plant the seeds for your wedding planning.

Some of those first few decisions? Putting together your total budget, getting an estimated head count, and picking a date!! Having those key items in place (or at least a general idea of what you’ll be working with) will lead you on the path to beginning the search for your wedding venue; and once your venue is booked, you officially have a wedding date!

But what goes into selecting the perfect venue for your wedding?

Oh so many components! I caught up with Amber Schryver, owner of Oh My Occasions! in Pembroke Pines to get her expert opinion on a few key areas.


So how much of your total budget goes into booking your wedding venue?

“It all depends on your needs!! As a rule of thumb, I’d say a comfortable 45% of the budget should go to your venue IF the venue includes F&B (food and beverage)” says Amber

45% is a large portion of your total budget!! Don’t forget to include meals for your vendors  when giving your venue a head count. Contrary to popular belief, it is customary to ensure a meal is provided for them as well (think photographers, videographers, DJ, etc.)

Staying within your budget is key! Be honest with your venue coordinator about the specific dollar amount that you and your fiancee agreed upon. Your venue should be able to make suggestions on servings, while providing you with cost per hors d’oeuvre per person, and weighing out the options on a plated dinner versus a buffet.

Modest budget? If your venue budget is modest, consider asking what options are available for hosting a wedding brunch, or an Hors d’oeuvre and cocktail hour! Both of these options will be kind to your budget and your wedding will be more of a laid back affair. Bonus if you consider yourself a ‘less formal’ couple!

Still hoping for a plated dinner or buffet with a limited budget ? Consider a cash bar over an open bar to help save on the total cost.

Banquets, Parties, Catering, Holidays & Corporate Events

The Walk Through

Taking a full tour of your venue may make or break your decision to book!

“Maybe you have your heart set on a particular venue only to realize that being directly across from a busy airport isn’t the best setup for an outdoor ceremony!! Ensure that you are getting the most complete, whole, picture of the venue that will host your wedding day. Ask whatever questions come to mind. Your venue coordinator should be willing to put your mind at ease and answer anything you are unsure about. “ – Amber of Oh My Occasions!

Is the venue sized to your needs? What are the restrictions on decorating? Where will your DJ or band set up ? All important questions that can be asked during your walk through!  Are you allowed to decorate the night before or will you have to wait until the day of? Does your venue have another event scheduled directly after yours?

What about special limitations? Thinking about candles or a sparkler exit? If your venue does not allow either of these or has certain limitations (i.e. sparklers must be 100 feet away from exit doors, or candles must be in holders that have glass higher than the flame) ask ask ask!!! Now is the time to know what is acceptable before you purchase100 glass votive candle holders and start peeling all the barcodes off! Feeling overwhelmed? Ask the director or wedding captain a simple “anything else that I might be missing that you feel is important”?

Selecting a Date

Have a very specific date in mind? The exact day you have written on your heart may already be booked (bummer, I know), be open to the idea of a time frame (think within a two week span) or season as opposed to a ‘specific date’. Another couple may have already booked the exact day you were hoping for, it’s not uncommon! Selecting a date should never make or break your wedding planning. Your wedding venue will let you know what’s available and guide you through booking a date and time that works best for the type of event you have in mind.

Above All

Don’t feel overwhelmed! Selecting your wedding venue will be one of the first major wedding planning decisions that you your fiancé make; allow it to be a fun and memorable experience!