By Paula Clark Ramirez with Historic Mankin Mansion
You’re engaged! Now what? Finding your perfect wedding venue is the very next step after the engagement. Not to worry, there are many choices to suit every couples’ vision and dream space. Chances are you have imagined something very specific and may even have a Pinterest board at the ready. Before scheduling your first tour, here are some strategic steps to help guide you along the wedding way.
Decide to be open in your exploration.
While you have most likely honed in on having a lavish outdoor wedding or a traditional church ceremony, begin your journey to find the perfect venue as open-minded as possible. Who knows, you may fall in love with a space that is even better than you envisioned!
Create a budget with contingencies in place.
Knowing how much money you have to work with for your wedding is key. There are, however, some line items that will either be forgotten, changed, or even removed altogether once planning gets rolling. In any case, having a 5-10% contingency in your budget allows for unforeseen expenses and gives you a little wiggle room for something extra special.
Narrow your places down to the top three.
All venues are not created equal, and offerings can vary greatly depending on where you visit. Comparing “apples to apples” is your best bet. Put all three side by side with pros, cons, inclusions, and costs. One of the measurables should also be how much it warms your heart on a scale of one to five. Looking at your top three venues objectively will bring to light your personal favorite.
Choose your “must-haves.”
There are usually a handful of non-negotiable items or features that couples insist on having for their big day. Sit down together (perhaps with a bottle of wine) and come to a decision on what aspects of the day are most important to the two of you…is it food, music or the venue? Focusing your efforts and dollars on these items will prevent making costly mistakes.
Above all else, enjoy the process!
Planning a wedding can be super fun or extremely stressful; the difference is all in your attitude. This will arguably be one of the grandest and most exciting parties you will ever throw, so be sure to focus on what it’s all about…celebrating your love and having the time of your life!
Paula Clark Ramirez is the Proprietor of Historic Mankin Mansion Private Wedding & Event Estate in Richmond, VA. Paula and her husband Martin have lovingly restored this National Landmark to its original grandeur and are honored to share this treasured landmark with couples and their families. The property features stunning architectural views and is the past recipient of countless awards and features in Forbes, Orbitz, The Travel Channel, Martha Stewart Weddings, The Huffington Post and Oprah Magazine.