We are a Vermont Wedding Venue that hosts many Stowe Weddings and are often asked, How far in advance do I need to book a wedding venue? The answer to that question is, “It depends”. There are many factors that will determine how far out you will need to book the perfect venue for your wedding.
Popularity of Venue
How popular is the venue that you want to book? Some venues, book peak wedding season a couple of years out. We do not suggest this, but some couples have booked wedding events at The Barn at Smugglers’ Notch before they were engaged.
Exclusivity of Venue
There are wedding venues that book several weddings a day. Venues like The Barn at Smugglers’ Notch want a more exclusive experience for their event clients, therefore they do not book multiple weddings in a day. The more exclusive, the further out you will likely need to book.
Flexibility of your Wedding Date
How flexible are you in regards to your wedding date? You have more chance of your date being available if you are flexible as to a month or season. If you have a particular date that you require, it would be best to book further out. This is even more pertinent if the date you want is a in demand holiday, like New Years’s Eve. This is also true if you are looking for a Fall Foliage Saturday for a picturesque New England wedding.
Flexibility of your Wedding Venue
How flexible is the venue that you are booking at? Large corporately owned venues generally are not as flexible as an owner-operated venue, where you work directly with the owner. Other venues do not have the capabilities or staff to host weddings and events seven days a week, year round. For instance, does the venue have heat or air conditioning? Climate control is a huge factor for events year round. Without it, your guests are subject to the elements and will not be comfortable.
Full Service Wedding Venue with On-Premise Catering
Does your potential wedding venue have on-premise catering? If not, you may be able to book the venue, but not be able to book a reputable caterer. Conversely, you may have a caterer you want to book, but then find out they are not available on the same date as the venue you want. Full-Service Wedding Venues like The Barn at Smugglers’ Notch solve this problem by taking away the stress of trying to find coordinate availability for both venue and catering. These are the two biggest concerns when planning a wedding. Full service wedding venues have on-premise catering that has many benefits, including easy reservations for both wedding venue, wedding date and caterer availability. Additionally, on-premise equals exponentially more quality for your event meals, as meals that are prepared off-site, often days before, and then warmed on site can not compare. You are spending a lot on your wedding, you and your guests deserve the best quality meals and that requires on premise. Many venues claim to have on-premise kitchens, but they not professional level chef kitchens. They are warming kitchens, for warming up your high priced menu as if they were yesterday’s left overs. Additionally, a full service venue will have a full team of vendors that it trusts for most any need that may arise.
Full Bar Service On-Premise
Does your venue have an on-premise liquor license? If not, you can be in the same situation as with catering. Again, a full service wedding venue will ease a lot of wedding planning stress.
Does the wedding venue you are considering have an inside track to local resort accommodations? Full Service Destination Wedding Resorts have an inside track to local resort accommodations such as Stowe Mountain Lodge and Smugglers’ Notch Resort. Because full service wedding venues such as The Barn at Smugglers’Notch have partnerships with local resorts and hotels, they not only are able to have rooms blocked out for your wedding event, but also provide discounts to your guests and shuttles.
Short Notice Weddings
There are times when you can get lucky and pull of a wedding or event on very short notice. So it never hurts to ask. For example, in January 2018, The Barn at Smugglers’ Notch booked a destination wedding for a family that was from Atlanta and England. They were able to pull it off seamlessly with only a 7 week turnaround. This was no easy task with it being a high end winter wedding, with everyone shuttling from Stowe. The best man wound up being one of the stars of the recent Avengers movie as well as the star of the television series Sherlock Holmes. Owner operated venues where can deal directly with owners are often quite maneuverable and able to get things accomplished on short notice.
If you really want a date, ask to be put on a waiting list. Stowe wedding venues, such as The Barn at Smugglers’ Notch often keep waiting lists, just in case someone cancels.
Down Payments and Cancellation Policy
It is easier to make the commitment to book a venue when the down payment is not overwhelming. Some venues require 50-100% down, non-refundable. What is the venue’s down payment and cancellation policy? The Barn at Smugglers’ Notch offers booking at low down payments with flexible payment plans and offers to refund venue fees if the date is rebooked.
As you can see there are many factors that go into deciding how far out you should book your wedding venue. We asked Stowe Vermont Wedding Venue, The Barn at Smugglers’ Notch and they stated, “It would be wise to book 18-24 months out for a peak season Saturday. However, consider Fridays and Sundays which are often much more readily available.” Non-Peak days and seasons can often be booked on short notice. Good luck to you in your search for the perfect wedding venue!