Deciding on a Wedding venue is a huge decision and there are tons of factors to take into consideration before signing the contract. While there are plenty more details to talk through with the venue before you sign on the dotted line, these are some insightful questions to help get you started and you may not think of unless you are in the Wedding biz. Of course you want to cover the basics (is the venue available on your preferred date, how many guests can the venue hold, pricing and payment information, cancellation policies etc.), but here are a few more things to consider from the pros when looking for a Wedding venue:
You will want to ask if the venue has any restrictions or rules about what décor you are allowed to bring in and what you can do with it inside the space. For example, some older or historic venues may not allow for candles or open flames or some venues do not allow confetti or glitter to be used. If you have your heart set on a grand confetti exit at the end of the night, make sure the venue allows it first!
While many venues will allow you to bring in any vendors you wish, some venues have exclusive relationships with certain vendors. Make sure you ask your venue if bringing in outside vendors will be possible or if they can provide you a list of vendors for you to choose from.
PRO TIP! Wedding venues are a great place to get recommendations for other vendors! They have seen many vendors come and go through their venue space and can help point you in the direction of a great vendor for your big day. Plus, having a vendor who has worked in your venue space can be great as they are already familiar with the space and its procedures.
If you are planning on having an outdoor Wedding, there are a few other factors to take into consideration when choosing a venue. You want to make sure they have a Plan B in case of inclement weather. Is there an indoor space available in the event that Mother Nature decides not to cooperate on your Wedding day? Ask to take a look at this space to make sure it fits with your vision for your Wedding day. Hopefully, you never have to use Plan B, but its always better to have the conversation ahead of time so there are no unpleasant surprises the day of your Wedding.
Day of Coordinator
Ask your venue if they provide a Day of Coordinator for your wedding. This would be the person from the venue there on site to help make sure everything goes smoothly and as planned on your Wedding day. Some venues will provide a Day of Coordinator free of charge, while others may offer the service for an additional fee. If your venue does not offer a Day of Coordinator, ask if you are allowed to bring in an external coordinator, as some venues may have restrictions. You will definitely want to ensure you have a point of contact for all your vendors and to run the show on the day-of.
Some larger Wedding venues may have multiple spaces they rent out individually on the same date for different groups. If you were hoping for a private and exclusive rental of the space, be sure to check with the venue if your rental is exclusive for your event or if they will be booking other events for the same date.
While some venues may offer free usage of their tech equipment (speakers, microphones, projectors, etc.) other venues may charge an additional fee for this or not offer any equipment on site at all. Be sure to ask about this up front so you know if you will need to rent any equipment or be sure the entertainment provides their own equipment.
An important logistical question to ask your venue is what time you and the other vendors will be allowed to get into the venue space on the day of your Wedding. This is important to ensure all your vendors have enough time to get everything set up on the morning of your Wedding day.
PRO TIP! Ask your venue if you are allowed to drop off décor and other supplies the night before the Wedding, rather than bringing everything in the day-of. Dropping all of this off the night before can help make the morning of your Wedding less stressful!
Always be sure to ask you venue about who will be responsible for the break down of the decor and setup after your Wedding. Some venues may provide staff to assist with taking down decor and bringing gifts to the designated vehicle, but others will not and it is important to know this ahead of time. If your venue leaves the break down up to you, be sure you have a plan for the end of the evening. Consider who will be responsible for gathering all the gifts and décor and ensuring they get to their next destination.
It is super important to make sure you are familiar with the policies of your venue regarding insurance. While some venues provide the liability insurance, other venues may request for you to provide this so make sure you ask!
The Griffin Museum of Photography, located in Winchester, MA is a charming and serene Wedding Venue just outside of Boston. Located on Judkins Pond, this colonial style building houses stunning photography exhibits and offers the perfect backdrop for a small, intimate Wedding. Not only is the Main Gallery inside the museum available for your reception, but they also offer their outside patio on the waterfront for ceremonies. They also offer the opportunity to tent the patio if you think you may have a larger crowd.
Behind the main space is an an apartment style kitchen, two bathrooms and additional gallery that can be great back of house space for any vendor, bridal party prep etc. If you’re looking for a quaint picturesque New England Wedding Venue, this one could be for you!
One of our favorite features is an operating water wheel and the family of Swans that live on the pond. If you get lucky, they may just make an appearance for your Wedding. Throughout the whole property, there are countless spots for some great Wedding photos. We've been lucky enough to plan two Weddings at the venue which both have gone wonderfully with the support of the amazing Museum team.
Here are some of our favorite moments from Nora and George’s Wedding at The Griffin Museum of Photography in 2019!
All Photos by Alex Cole Photography
Dreaming of a rustic and charming barn wedding for your special day? One of our local favorites is the Barn at Bradstreet Farm in Rowley, MA! Established in 1635, the Barn at Bradstreet Farm is the second oldest operational farm in the U.S and was in the Bradstreet family until 2007 when it underwent a 3 year renovation…and it is STUNNING! Not only is it a perfect venue for all your barn wedding dreams, but Tiffany and her team at Bradstreet Farm are incredible! We were lucky enough to work with them in 2019 and are looking forward to another wedding with them later in 2020.
Not only does the Barn at Bradstreet Farm offer a beautifully renovated barn for your reception (including heat and A/C), but also multiple picturesque spots for photos, a private cottage for you and your bridal party to get ready in, a sprawling outdoor space for ceremonies and cocktail hours with plenty of room for a tent, fire pits with seating and even baby goats! Extra bonus! The Barn at Bradstreet Farm uses fresh produce and flowers grown on the premise for their catering and wedding florals.
If all of this wasn't already great, add live farm animals, sunsets and rustic furniture included with your rental! Some more favorite perks below:
Photos by Pictus Photography
Set just 35 minutes north of Boston is Lynch Park. The expansive park lies in the middle of a residential neighborhood which makes it hard to stumble upon unless you are directed. In addition to multiple picnic tables, walking paths and a small beach, you'll find a gorgeous rose garden, enclosed by a beautiful brick wall and looking out to ocean views. Even though the park is very busy especially during peak season, the rose garden can be reserved for private events.
Location: Beverly, MA
Associated Costs: Permit, Chair Rentals (if needed)
Transportation: Parking Lot (Parking can be arranged for free for your guests)
Bonus Selling Points:
- Steps from the waterfront!
- Photos, photos, photos. In addition to taking advantage of the beautifully landscaped floral garden, literally steps away you can have a waterfront shoot. Best of both worlds!
Larz Anderson Park is a gorgeous option for anyone looking for a peaceful outdoor Wedding ceremony. Whether you are looking for a small elopement, modern Wedding, rustic Wedding, or garden Wedding, you can customize your Ceremony within one of the many options inside the park. The location options within the park are endless and you can't pick a bad spot for a backdrop. Filled with acres and acres of lush greenery and florals, there are also multiple birds and ponds offering beautiful Ceremony views.
It's definitely a little bit more of a DIY Wedding Venue, as chairs, power, arches and other Ceremony decor will need to brought in, but nothing that a Day of Coordinator cannot help you with. Guests can easily be dropped off at one of their entry gates and enjoy a beautiful walk to wherever your ideal Ceremony location may be.
Associated Costs: Permit, Chair Rentals (if needed)
Transportation: Free Parking Lot or Drop off points for buses
Bonus Selling Points:
- Swans, SWANS! There are swans that live in the park. People pay extra for that and very few Wedding Venues include this natural option.
- Photos, photos, photos. The park covers 5+ acres and includes natural options for you and your partner to venture off with your photographer and photos of a lifetime.
Things to Consider:
- It is a public park, so while getting a permit allows you to officially ask anyone to step away from you Wedding Ceremony, the park is still open to others for games, picnics, walks etc. While it is a large park and people are pretty spaced out, thinking about where in the park you decide and choosing somewhere further from the more public areas is recommended.
Enjoy some of our favorite tips, tricks and select event highlights!