At Maison Culinaire, we are often asked “what are your favorite wedding venues?” Having catered weddings for decades throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC, we have worked in all types of wedding venues, from the most elegant to the charmingly rustic, so we don’t have one favorite, but many!
Brides and grooms look for special and unique places to hold their weddings and knowing that we are a full-service wedding caterer, they request our advice or recommendations. As a full-service wedding caterer, Maison Culinaire can help you plan your entire wedding, from choosing the venue to selecting the ideal menu, and everything in between. We have recommendations for vendors we’ve worked with and trust, and can even provide you with an all-inclusive package. Here are some of our tips for choosing the right wedding venue:
Tips to Choosing a Wedding Venue
- Consider your overall budget. You will need to include everything you want for your wedding in this budget, including the venue, entertainment, catering, flowers, and all those little extras. Enlist help from a wedding professional in developing a checklist of items to include.
- Choose a type of wedding venue. Do you want a restaurant or winery? An indoor or outdoor ceremony? Pinpointing the type of wedding you’d like to have will help narrow the choices
- List your “must haves.” Determine in advance what you “must” have to make your day special for you. Keep these choices in mind when reviewing potential wedding venues. List also your “must have” vendors. Is there a particular photographer or caterer (like Maison Culinaire!) you want to use? Make sure their availability matches with the location’s.
- Create a list of questions. Now that you’ve selected the wedding type, develop a list of questions so you can compare one venue to another easily. Use these categories:
- Is it convenient or in a place you like?
- Is it affordable?
- Is it available when you need it? How much time are you allotted? Some venues allow you to come in the day before to set up your décor. Do you have exclusive use of the property?
- Will it easily accommodate your guests? Is it too big or too small?
- Do you need or want separate spaces for a ceremony, reception, dancing, etc.? Is there a brides or groom’s room?
- Does the venue provide tables, chairs, drapes, lighting, dance floors, tenting, etc.? Does it need a lot of decorating or is it ready to go? These are potential hidden costs when choosing a wedding venue.
- Restrictions. Does it have convenient onsite or offsite parking where you need to arrange shuttles? Is outside alcohol allowed or must it be purchased from the venue itself? Is outside catering allowed or do you need to use their foods or exclusive caterer?
- Future. Ask if any future renovations are planned for the venue. You don’t want to have construction on the property or building interfering with your wedding or the view. Upgrades can be to your benefit if completed prior to your event.
- Feel. On a site visit, can you see yourself getting married in this location? How does the venue feel to you, and how does it match your dreams? Does it represent who you are as a couple?
- Consider your guests’ experience. A wedding celebration should be enjoyed by all in attendance, so think about what kind of memory your wedding will provide for your guests. Ensure that their experience, as well as your own, is good. Provide comfortable surroundings, places to sit, delightful food, entertainment options, and access to area accommodations for out-of-town guests.
- Get recommendations. Once you’ve narrowed your wedding venue choice down to one or two, see what others say about their experience there. Ask for recommendations from other couples who married there. Check online reviews. Ask Maison Culinaire if we have input on this particular venue.
- Look for red flags. If the site manager doesn’t answer your questions or seems evasive or non-committal, there are too many restrictions, or you see something that doesn’t mesh with your vision, don’t be afraid to push back or walk away from that particular venue. Your special day is too important to leave things to chance. You will be working closely with this person, so ensure that you feel good about the relationship.
Wedding Catering by Maison Culinaire
In addition to providing the freshest, most tasty foods from our International menu choices and bespoke service, Maison Culinaire can help you through the process of planning your wedding—from start to finish. Let our experienced event planners help you choose the theme, décor, flowers, linens, table settings and more, in addition to the perfect menu. We’ll be beside you every step of the way.
For perfect and comprehensive wedding catering in Northern Virginia and the Washington DC metropolitan area, contact Maison Culinaire.