This is typically an easy low hanging fruit when it comes to venues so we are not going to spend a ton a time here. The most critical thing is finding a venue that vibes with your both budget and vision for your day. The closer the venue is to your vision the more you will actually save on décor.
Think about it, if you want a garden wedding but your venue is a hardscape backyard it becomes infinitely harder to pull off. You would have to consider cost of foliage, greenery, drapes and all the other items to turn the venue into your vision. Though this can be achieved, you may stand to save more buy selecting a garden venue to start with. This way a lot of the natural ambiance is already present and so there less work (and cost) to pull off your vision in this environment.
In my opinion, here are some of the top venues based on different aesthetics in The Bahamas (specifically Nassau):
Outdoor Wedding: Sapodilla, Balmoral, Baha Mar, Graycliff, The Island House
Indoor Wedding: Atlantis, Baha Mar (Resorts and Hotels are normally the go-to for these types of weddings)
Beach Wedding: Palm Cay, Most major hotels and resorts (i.e. Atlantis, Baha Mar, etc.)
*This list is not meant to be exhaustive*
A venue would not be complete without some beautiful spaces for photos. Venues with dual indoor and outdoor spaces are often a plus in this regard. This definitely increases the variety of images and overall options for your wedding day.
Some venues offer a ton of services and some offer very little. One thing to consider is how many additional services the venue provides and how they can benefit you. Planning a wedding can be a tough process and the more vendors you have tends to add to the complexity of the day. Wedding planners are great here, helping to take some of the load off you.
A venue that offers catering (food and beverage), seating (tables and chairs) and parking (valet and/or self-service) can significantly reduce stress during this time. Some venues will have approved vendor listings and provide a full range of services inclusive of but not limited to audio visual equipment, DJ services, Bar packages and even WiFi.
The main point here is the more items you can consolidate the less vendors you will have to contract independently. This gives you a single point of contact for a wide range of services and potentially some cost savings as well.
Consider whether your venue has options to respond to acts of nature. If you are, having your wedding in an indoor venue this is less of a concern. However if you are having an outdoor wedding, or a portion of your wedding outdoor, it is normally prudent to choose a venue which can accommodate unforeseen weather conditions.
For instance, if your wedding has outdoor an garden but also a covered space or indoor space available, this may allow for an easy transition in the event of rain or excessive heat (i.e. heatwave). These calls sometimes have to be made the day of the wedding so having these options gives you a built in plan B in the event things occur outside of your control.
Here are some top venues with outdoor and indoor options:
*This list is not meant to be exhaustive*
Therefore, in summary, here is a list of questions you can use when deciding on a venue. These can also help you ask the right questions when engaging with a potential wedding venue. With a bit of awareness and careful planning, you can ensure your venue falls in line with all the things you wanted for your wedding day.
Capacity for Ceremony Guests
Capacity for Reception Guests
Is there a wedding co-ordinator?
Is there sufficient parking?
Is there disabled access?
Is confetti allowed?
Is there room or area for a band or DJ?
Is there a dancefloor provided?
Are there any evening noise restrictions?
Is there a PA system for speeches?
Does the venue have Public Liability Insurance?
Is there a secure room to store wedding gifts until we can collect them?
Is there a room available for the bride and groom to use on the day?
If rooms are available for overnight accommodation, then how many?
Costs for overnight accommodation?
Is breakfast included?
What time is checkout the following day?
Can rooms be reserved for guests to book?
If no accommodation at the venue, can the recommend hotels or nearby B’n’B’s to use?
Do they offer in-house catering? If not, do they have any recommendations?
Do you have example menus and prices?
Does the venue provide equipment i.e. tables, chairs, linen, plates, glassware etc.?
Can you supply a cake stand and knife if required?
Do you have an alcohol license and what time can you offer alcohol until?
Does the venue insist on supplying the wine and champagne?
If applicable. What do they charge for corkage?
What time does the reception need to finish by?
What are the various options and costs for the venue?
What is the cancellation policy?
How much is the deposit to secure the date and when is it due?
How much is the final balance and when is it due?
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