As you're researching venues for your wedding, your mind may be swirling with all of the options to choose and aspects of the wedding to consider. To make some of the planning work a little easier, many venues put floor plans of their spaces on their websites. You can use these floor plans to ensure that the venue includes all of the amenities and space that you need for your event. Before you spend time hopping in the car to visit a venue, consider the points below for what to look for in a wedding venue floor plan.
Space For Your Guests
You likely already have an idea of the number of guests who will be invited to your wedding. When reviewing venue floor plans, which often include the dimensions of the reception area and other spaces, be sure that the venue can not only accommodate the number of guests but also the type of event you envision. Perhaps you want a cocktail reception before a sit-down dinner or multiple bar stations and a dance floor. Also, consider how you'd like to enter the reception with all of your guests looking on.
Find out if the venue has table layouts already created from past weddings from which you can choose. Even though there are many apps which allow you to create seating charts, the venue may already have tried-and-true layouts that work well in the space. With your number of guests in mind, how many tables with chairs fit in the space?
Do you have a preference for table shapes? Does the floor plan accommodate tables that are round, square or rectangle? Is there room for overflow should more guests arrive at the wedding that what you had planned?
Considerations For Your Vendors
If you will be hiring outside vendors, take a close look at the floor plan to determine if the venue will properly accommodate them. Vendors need an area, ideally with quick and easy access to parking, for load in and load out of equipment. By this, we're referring to the DJ's equipment, food, drinks, cakes, floral arrangements, cameras, etc. Are there prep areas in the venue for your vendors, such as a kitchen for the caterer?
While your focus may be on the ceremony itself and the dance floor, keep in mind that a venue's amenities, or lack thereof, can mean the difference between a smooth event and a stressful one. For instance, the floor plan should show the location of electrical outlets, which will be useful for your DJ's equipment, microphones, speakers, and lighting. Can DJ equipment be plugged in close to the dance floor to avoid cables on the floor? Are you okay with where the restrooms and trash receptacles are located? Will elevators be needed and are they in a good location? Also, what about parking? Also, an important consideration is the availability and location of a dressing room for you and the wedding party.
You'll want to be sure that the venue allows for a nice flow of your guests at different times during the event. If the bar and dance floor are in different rooms, your guests will have to leave the festivities for a drink, leaving your party a little bare. Additionally, will guests end up creating a long line at the bar, because of its placement, cutting off other areas of the event. These are all aspects of the venue that a floor plan will show.
Another consideration, particularly for venues with indoor and outdoor spaces such as gardens, is natural lighting. The setting sun or shade will have impacts on your guests comfort as well as your vendors. This will also have an impact on your photos. Some photographers prefer the natural light before sunset for getting the best pictures, as opposed to the strong midday sun.
A venue floor plan will usually show the direction so that you can tell the orientation of different aspects of your event with regards to the sun.
Weather Backup Space
Related to planning for natural lighting, if your venue has outdoor spaces, a floor plan layout will show an alternate place for events should weather spoil your outdoor setup.