Advice on booking a wedding venue

Planning for your wedding can be one of the most exciting times in your life. It can also become one of the most stressful. Here are some tips from Alex on booking a venue.

Picking a Date

New Hampshire is known for its seasons, and everyone has their favorites.

A spring or summer wedding may have more ideal weather, though plenty of couples find it hard to refuse a fall wedding, with fiery foliage as the perfect backdrop. Don't rule out a winter wedding, either: Not only can you get some beautiful photos, but you may find more available dates and better pricing during this time of year.

Don't get stuck on a certain date. To get the venue you want, pick out a number of days that would work for you. Fridays are becoming much more popular and might be an option worth looking into, as well.

Choosing a Location

Plenty of couples look to hold their wedding near where they live. This can be one of the least stressful decisions for the couple throughout the planning process, as other vendors will also be within driving distance.

Choosing a location that is also close to major highways and airports is an important detail for your traveling guests. For example, Brookstone Event Center's location may seem a bit remote, but we are minutes off Interstate 93 on Route 111. This makes it easy for people in the Manchester and Boston areas to attend events at our facility.

Whether you are looking for an upscale reception or a more casual day, ballrooms can be transformed to create any mood. Be sure to look at not only the ballroom, but the grounds and other places for memorable photos. You may also want to find out whether you can hold your ceremony there. While location is important, the food and service will truly be the defining factor for a beautiful wedding day.

The Budget Factor

New Hampshire wedding venues offer price points for everyone.

Most websites will list menu prices, which can get you started in the planning process. But be careful, as it is sometimes difficult to compare apples to apples. The best way to work with a venue on budget is to meet with the event manager in person. Be sure to have a firm idea of how many people you will host and an overall budget number.

Remember, almost half of your wedding budget will go toward feeding your guests.

Your Top Choices

Once you've taken all the above factors into consideration, you'll want to call the venues that have made the cut and book an appointment with the event manager to get more information and tour the facility.

Make a list of questions before the appointment: Can the venue accommodate all of my guests? What is the plan in case of inclement weather? Will my wedding be the only event held at that time? Is there a food or guest minimum?

If everything is answered to your satisfaction that day, keep the venue on your list.

Alex's Favorite Weddings

I love working with brides, from those who don't know where to begin to others who have very specific ideas on what their wedding will involve.

Your unique touches to wherever you decide to hold your event will really make it your own. A good event manager will enjoy discussing these ideas and implementing your plans throughout the process. I look forward to talking with brides about creating their fairy-tale wedding, a seasonally themed celebration or a holiday-inspired event, among so many others.

My favorite weddings are those where the bride and I work together to create what feels best for her. I'm finding more and more brides are looking for something different – not the typical cookie-cutter reception. This allows me to be creative and share in the excitement of the special day.

Remember, there's no wrong answer as to the type of setting that best fits you and your wedding.

The Final Decision

Only you and your partner will know what type of venue is right for you. Weigh the pros and cons, and come to a conclusion. Once you've made your choice, call your venue, book the date and send in your deposit.

Now it's official! You're one step closer to the happiest day of your life.

Alex van den Broek has more than 14 years of experience planning special events. He has a master's degree in hospitality management from De Rooi Pannen College for Hospitality Management in Tilburg, the Netherlands. At Brookstone Event Center, he handles events of all sizes and specializes in creating custom events.

Brookstone Event Center, located within Brookstone Park, is known for its elegance and one-of-a-kind weddings. Aside from weddings, it also hosts rehearsal dinners, showers and engagement parties, as well as reunions, proms, anniversary parties, conferences and golf outings. It was an Editor's Pick in New Hampshire Magazine's Best of Bride 2010 for its Sunlit Ballroom.

To book an appointment to visit Brookstone Event Center, visit (603) 328-9255. For more information, visit or become a fan on Facebook.

Categories: Advice from the Experts