Ten Tips For Choosing Your Wedding Venue

Starting the search for a wedding venue is not an easy task. It’s the location that will set the tone for your entire evening, and can seem overwhelming and difficult to take it all in.

Start your search early. This allows you to have a better chance of finding a location that meets all your needs while being available on your desired dates! Make sure to explore various venues ahead of time to see what will bring your vision to life!

When focusing on choosing a wedding venue, there are many things to keep in mind and take note of. For that reason, we’ve put together a list of 10 tips for you to keep in mind while looking for a venue, and what River Oaks has to offer. Make sure to check out our wedding page for more information!

1. Determine your budget or optimal cost for your wedding venue

When choosing your wedding venue, it’s important to determine your wedding budget and decide what percentage can be allocated to your venue. The budget and cost for your wedding is placed at the top because by prioritizing your budget you’ll be able to find a venue that fits your financial plan and gives you an evening to remember! When looking at different venues, it’s important to know that some venues include essential services in their pricing while others don’t. Also, it’s good to note that sometimes off season weddings and weddings that don’t fall on peak days can give you a lower price tag.

At River Oaks, we are forward about our pricing and open about what is included in the overall cost. We have a wedding guide for brides and grooms to use to determine if our venue correlates with your budget and for you to get a snapshot of what we have to offer. If you’re interested in learning more, please click on our wedding page and contact us for information!

2. Availability for your desired wedding date

If you have a set date in which you want to get married, make sure to begin your search for a venue early. Many venues book up quickly, which limits your options as time looms closer to the date you wish to get married.

If you have flexibility for your date, starting your venue search early gives you plenty of options– and it means you can choose a date that aligns with the venue availability. Overall, whether fixed or flexible with your wedding date, it’s a great idea to start looking sooner rather than later. It gives you more options and increases your chances of finding the perfect venue for your special day.

Start your venue search with River Oaks! Click on the wedding page and contact us to set up a time to visit our location and see for yourself how we can bring your vision to life!

3. Match your venue with your wedding theme

When you look for a wedding venue, it’s important to look for a space that will match your wedding theme. For example, if you are looking to have a rustic wedding, it might not work in an elegant hotel. Also, many venues have decorations you can use for your special day, so make sure the decorations they supply are to your liking… and If they aren’t check to see if they allow you to bring your own decorations!

At River Oaks, our event center is located adjacent to a golf course and rests right above the Mississippi River Valley. We offer decorations for you to use for your special day, and we are very open to working with you to make sure everything matches your vision. Check out our wedding page to learn more and contact us for a viewing!

4. Determine the size of your wedding guest list

Before looking at venues, it’s a great idea to determine how large your wedding will be. Reason being, if you have a smaller sized wedding at a larger venue, it may feel empty. If you have a larger wedding, you will need to make sure you don’t exceed the maximum capacity for the wedding venue. Having an estimate for wedding size will help narrow down venues that will work for you and your wedding!

At River Oaks, our outdoor wedding location and indoor reception venue hold up to 200 guests. If you want to learn more, check out our wedding page to see if we are a great fit for you!

5. For outdoor venues, is there a back up plan for bad weather?

If you are looking to plan an outdoor wedding, it’s important to ask about back up options and plans for inclement weather. Make sure to look into the back up options that the venue provides, and make sure the plan aligns with what you want for your wedding. This will ensure that you have a perfect and seamless celebration, no matter the weather.

At River Oaks, our weddings are outdoors, located next to the 18th hole on the golf course and in view of the Mississippi River Valley below. Because weather is not controllable, we are able to transition the outdoor wedding indoors into the 4,500 square feet event space. Are you interested in learning more about this process? Check out our wedding page and contact us for more information.

6. What amenities are available at the venue?

When you look at different venues, make sure to pay attention to the amenities that are available at the venue (and check if they’re an additional cost). Make sure there is plenty of parking availability, event coordination, and see if they provide tables, chairs, and linens. Check to see if there’s bathroom access at the venue (some barns and beach weddings don’t provide this).

River Oaks is home to both a golf course and event center, and has many amenities for you to utilize on your wedding day. We have parking, a great event team, and we provide tables, chairs, and linens for your use. You will also have access to bathrooms on site, a menu from our chef you can utilize, and in the event center we have a bar ready for you and your guests to enjoy. Click on our wedding page to learn more and set up a time to view our space and the amenities we have available!

7. Do The logistics match what you envision for your wedding?

During your visit with the venue event staff, make sure to discuss the different logistical aspects of the wedding day. Things like how long you’ll have your rental, the set up and tear down times, curfew and noise restraints, and any other restrictions or rules that are imposed by the venue. Other logistics to look into is the availability of taxis in the area and whether or not the venue is near any lodging for out of town guests. This will help make sure your wedding day is smooth and seamless from beginning to end!

At River Oaks, our wedding packages include tear down and set up of tables and chairs. Set up of decor varies, depending on what you choose to use for your wedding. Check with one of our event staff members to learn more about the logistics of using our event space at River Oaks!

8. Vendor options at the wedding venue

While looking at different wedding venues, it’s important to note that some venues will allow you to use your own vendors while others want you to use vendors they have contracts with. If you want to choose your own vendors, make sure to choose a venue that will allow you to do so.

River Oaks has a list of preferred vendors for you to choose from– made up of the best vendors the East Metro has to offer. For food, we have an in-house event chef on staff you can opt to make the food for the reception, which is a great bonus for events at our location. Check out our list of preferred vendors on the wedding guide found here!

9. What does the wedding venue have to offer for accessibility for disabilities?

If you know either you or any guests in attendance will need additional accommodations or accessibility for disabilities, it’s a great idea to ask the venue to see what types of accommodations they have in place. Accessibility of entrances, exits, elevators (if needed), bathrooms, parking, and seating options are some examples to look into.

River Oaks is accessible for those in attendance, but we encourage you to reach out to us on our wedding page to make sure that we have the accommodations you or your guests will need. We strive to make sure everyone has the best experience possible, and will make sure that you and your guests’ needs are heard and accommodated to.

10. Check out the customer reviews

One last tip for anyone looking for a wedding venue is to do your research on what people are saying about the venue. Reviews typically provide an unbiased approach on the venue, and you might learn information about aspects of the venue you haven’t even thought of. Take note of both the positive and negative reviews on third party sites, and go with your gut!