How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Venue
One of the biggest decisions that most couples have to make - WHERE will the wedding be held? It is the place where you say "I Do" to the one that you love most. Do you want the space to be an expression of your style? Or have it simply be a gathering place for your friends and family? Many factors go into making a venue selection and Sydney Rhyne, venue director at the gorgeous Ritchie Hill property, shares a few tips on how to best prepare for making your final decision.
Tips from a Venue Director:
Searching for your wedding venue can be a daunting task for sure, but it doesn't have to be! Coming prepared with just a few ideas you have for your wedding can save you a lot of time & stress.
First and foremost - create your budget. It is SO important to sit down with your new fiancé and family to discuss an initial budget for your wedding. Keeping this in mind, you are then able to narrow down your venue search. Getting the budget knocked out first makes the rest of your planning process so much more enjoyable! You should never tour a venue that you can't afford, just like you shouldn't try on a $5,000 dress when you've only allocated $2,000! It's heartbreaking for you and for us!
Second, and just as important, is your guest list! This is vital as every venue has a capacity. For Ritchie Hill, it's 175 people. Do not tour a venue if you want to invite 200 people and their max capacity is less than that. The wise old tale of "only 85% of your guest will show up" is not always true. If a guest has an invitation, they have the right to attend your wedding regardless if you go over your venue's max capacity! If you have a big family and 300 friends, make sure you find a venue that can hold that many people exactly. Do not assume that half of your guest won't come.
Research your venue before touring it. Often times when you send in an inquiry, the venue will send back a packet with information about the location, what they include and pricing. We want you to read this stuff! Coming prepared before your tour will close the door to any "gotcha moments." If you know what to expect you can then relax and really take in the ambiance of the location that you're touring. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Yes, we hear the same ones over and over again but that's okay because you've probably never planned a wedding before and we're here to help. In fact, we would rather you ask all of the small and "silly" questions to us instead of "Aunt Jan" who planned her best friends wedding 25 years ago. Things have changed and your venue contact will know what works best at their space or what vendor offers the best services. TRUST US - we have your back!
Trust your venues "Preferred Partners" list. These vendors are ones who have worked with the venue countless times and have continuously proven their professionalism and services. Venue's don't just put anyone on their list and will only recommend businesses who they full-heartedly trust and would hire for their own event. This doesn't mean you can't hire someone not on the list, but definitely ask your venue about them before making a deposit.
Unfortunately, websites and Instagrams can be very deceiving sometimes. If you've found your dream venue, CONGRATS! Hardest part is over. But don't sign the dotted line just yet - read the contract and then read it again. Know what you're signing into before you pay the deposit. Emotions are high and you and your fiancé are probably so excited to finally have a date and start planning. It's easy to forget important details when you're in that state of mind. Reading the contract thoroughly (no matter how long it is) will save you from stress down the road when you all the sudden remember that your venue requires you to hire a professional planner or have a tent reserved for bad weather.
Finally - regardless of what your venue requires - HIRE A PLANNER! Whether it is just "Day Of" or "Full Planning" find your perfect match and hire them. Wedding planners are super heroes in disguise - seriously. Just ask Lauren, from Elle M Events. She's one the great ones :)
Ritchie Hill is a southern estate designed and restored to host truly historic events. We are a family owned and operated venue who takes so much pride in every event hosted "on the hill!" Located in Concord's Historic District, only a short distance from Charlotte, NC, Ritchie Hill features a landmark residence with four acres of gardens and outdoor entertaining space. Our wrap around front porch is the perfect place to host your friends and family for a sit down dinner or cocktail party. From elaborate to simple, Ritchie Hill is the perfect backdrop for your dream wedding!
My name is Sydney Rhyne, and I am the Venue Director at Ritchie Hill. I am a small town southern girl who loves the simple things in life. My perfect night is curled up on my couch with my fiancé, James, our two pets Mattis and Penny and a TALL glass of red wine (this prevents having to get back up for refills.) I love trying out new recipes, planning my own wedding (October can't come soon enough!!!), and decorating my new house! My absolute favorite part of my job is watching our couples walk down the aisle as a married couple. It's the moment that they have been waiting on for so long and their reactions give me butterflies every time. It make's me so excited to marry my best friend and experience the same thing. I love working with my couples to help plan their dream wedding and even though it is my job, it truly is an honor to be apart of so many special moments. To learn more about Ritchie Hill visit www.ritchiehill.com.