HOW TO PICK A WEDDING VENUE
Embarking on the journey of choosing the perfect wedding venue can feel overwhelming, but fear not! It's one of the first and most exciting steps in the wedding planning process. Your venue sets the stage for the entire celebration and secures that special date, so it's essential to finalize it before diving into other details. Starting your venue search early gives you a better chance of finding a place that meets your needs and is available on your desired dates. Plus, exploring different venues ahead of time lets you discover what truly speaks to your heart and what you envision for your big day. So, let the adventure begin!
When focusing on how to choose a wedding venue, there are a number of things to take into consideration. We have pieced together advice on what to consider when selecting the place that’s just right for you and your special day. Also check out our Checklist of Questions to Ask Wedding Venues
13 THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A WEDDING VENUE
1. Budget / Cost: Determine your overall wedding budget and allocate a suitable portion for the venue. Keep in mind that some venues may include essential services in their pricing, while others charge extra. By prioritizing your budget, you can find a wedding venue that fits your financial plan and ensures a memorable celebration. Sometimes off-season weddings or Sunday weddings can yield a lower price tag. We've also put together a list of affordable wedding venue ideas you might not have considered.
Also read: How to Budget for A Wedding
2. Availability: To secure your desired wedding date, begin your venue search early to maximize availability. If you have flexibility with the date, starting in advance offers a wider range of options as you can align it with venue availability. Whether fixed or flexible, early planning increases your chances of finding the perfect venue for your special day.
3. Your Wedding Theme: Ensure that the venue aligns with your chosen theme; for instance, a rustic theme may not be suitable for a luxury hotel. Consider the overall cohesion of your wedding elements, including decorations and menu selections, to achieve a cohesive aesthetic and ambiance.
4. The Maximum Capacity: Avoid choosing a venue that is too large for a smaller guest list, as it may feel empty, and likewise, avoid overcrowding by exceeding the venue's capacity. Having an estimate of your guest count helps with table arrangements and optimizing available space. Check out our guide on creating your wedding guest list.
5. Weather and the backup plan: If you're planning an outdoor wedding, inquire about backup options in case of inclement weather. Make sure the venue has suitable indoor spaces or backup plans to ensure a seamless celebration.
6. The Surrounding Area: Think about the venue’s location overall -how close it is to the airport, any nearby accommodations (or if the venue itself has accommodations), if the area and the drive to the venue feels safe.
7. Privacy: When searching for your wedding venue, you want to make sure you find a place that is personal and private enough for you. Sometimes a venue will be hosting multiple events or weddings on the same day. If this is the case, ask how much of the place you’ll have to yourselves or how separated the different parties will be. Sometimes venues will also allow you to pay to book out the whole place for an extra cost. If you’re leaning toward an outdoor location, also think about how private it is. Is there a possibility strangers could snoop in or watch from afar? This could be a big distraction for all your guests.
8. Amenities: Consider factors such as catering options, parking availability, event coordination, and whether they provide tables, chairs, and linens. Don't forget to think about the bathroom access too. If you’re having a barn or beach wedding, for example, you might need to rent portable restrooms.
9. Logistics: Discuss important logistical aspects, such as duration of rental, setup and teardown times, curfew/noise restraints, and any restrictions or rules imposed by the venue. Ensure the venue can accommodate your desired wedding timeline.
10. Vendor Options: Some venues allow you to use your own vendors while others want you to use their floral company, catering, alcohol, wedding planner, band, etc. If you prefer to choose your own vendors, be sure to pick a venue that accommodates for that.
11. Consider Accessibility: Check and ask how ADA accessible the facilities are, including the accessibility of entrances/exits, functional elevators, bathrooms, parking, and seating options. If any grandparents are in attendance, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to enjoy themselves.
12. Customer Reviews: For a more unbiased look, make sure to do your research on what people are saying about your venue. You might find information about aspects of the venue you hadn’t even thought to consider and other helpful tidbits. Take note of both the positive and negative comments on third party sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google reviews.
13. Trust Your Instincts: Ultimately, choose a venue that feels right and aligns with your vision. Also, try and gauge your interaction experienced with the venue coordinator. You want to ensure you feel comfortable and have an easy time communicating with them. Trust your instincts and select a venue where you can envision celebrating your special day with joy and happiness.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS WHEN IT COMES TO PICKING A WEDDING VENUE:
When should you book your wedding venue? A general rule is to try and book your venue a year to nine months before your wedding. If your dates aren’t very flexible, you may want to start looking a little over a year in advance. It can take a couple of months to find the right wedding venue, so make sure to leave enough time for this process.
How long does a wedding venue viewing last? Wedding venue viewings vary in length but typically last somewhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour. How long a viewing will last can depend on the size of the venue, how much detail the venue coordinator goes into, and how many questions you ask.
Who should attend a wedding venue viewing? Aside from the obvious (the engaged couple), it’s best to keep the wedding venue viewing to as small of a group as possible. This will help the couple to focus on what they want, rather than having to weigh too many different opinions. One exception might be if someone is helping foot the bill for the venue, in which case it might be nice to include them and give them a say.