Tips on choosing the perfect wedding venue.
Updated: Feb 2, 2022
There are a lot of moving parts that go into your perfect day- dress, colors, food, cake, guest list, etc. But the one that seems to stand out the most is the venue. In 2022, almost everything about your wedding is optional- except you will need to pick where you get married. Here is how to pick the perfect wedding venue that suits all your needs.
THE ESSENTIALS FOR HOW TO PICK A WEDDING VENUE
Think About Guest List
One of the most important things to consider when you are looking for your perfect wedding venue is how large you want your wedding to be.
I would suggest having a rough guest list in advance of visiting your potential venue because you can always accommodate for less guests, but it can be really difficult to add more people than you originally planned for. You and your fiancé should go through together and make a guest list so you know exactly what size space you need.
Some would say this is the most important factor in picking a perfect wedding venue, but realistically it all depends on what you spend on other factors for your wedding. If you spend less on your dress, you might be willing to spend more on your venue or vice versa!
Just be realistic with your budget and a rough idea for other costs for your wedding. Some venues book from 12-18 months in advance, so it’s important to book ahead.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN TOURING A WEDDING VENUE
Talk to a Wedding Planner
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Ask a wedding planner, they know the venues better than anyone! A wedding planner who knows your budget, amount of guests, and your vibe can see the real potential of a venue that you might not see. Even the shabbiest of wedding venues can look chic with the right décor, and a wedding planner can help show you that everything is in the details.
You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get the perfect wedding venue. The wedding planner can also take the hassle out of booking venue showings and may have knowledge of venues you haven’t seen. If a wedding planner is in your budget, they can definitely help the venue search and take away some stress from planning your perfect wedding.
Know Your Aesthetic
I would definitely recommend having a Pinterest board of the color scheme and vibe you want to go with for your wedding. When looking at venues, you can picture which place fits the best for the look you are going for. If you have no idea what you want when looking at venues you can start to feel a little lost about what you truly want. Spend some time on Pinterest and put together something that you and your fiancé both like so that you have a clearer idea of what your perfect wedding venue looks like.
Some wedding venues include packages which can help reduce overall costs. Full service packages include catering, bar, and staffing. Be sure to ask about food and beverage minimums (such as cash bar or open bar), site fees, and other components of your package you will get billed for. Many all inclusive venues will give a photography credit should you use us instead of their in house.
Some popular venues book from 12 to 18 months in advance. If you are attached to a certain date or season, I would recommend looking at venues right away. If you aren’t getting married for more than a year, you have more flexibility in what venues work for you. Spring and Fall tend to be the most popular times to have a wedding, so most venues tend to book those seasons first. If you found your perfect wedding venue, get on booking it as soon as possible!
Indoor vs Outdoor
While you may want an outdoor venue, like I said earlier it’s important to plan for worst case scenarios. Do they have tents to put up if it rains? Is there an indoor structure on location that the wedding could be moved to just in case?
Whether you want an indoor or outdoor venue, just make sure you are planning in case these issues pop up. Your perfect wedding venue should have a plan in case the weather decides not to agree with you that day.
Although it is your day, you want to be sure your guests attend and enjoy themselves. Your grandmother and grandfather might struggle to walk in the sand on the beach, let alone a wheelchair. If you have people in your family who are disabled, make sure your venue is ADA compliant and consider entrances & exits, elevators, bathrooms, parking, and seating. A key factor in how to pick a perfect wedding venue is making sure your guests are comfortable.
Seems pretty obvious but make sure you have a place to use the restroom at your wedding. Your perfect wedding venue may not be functional if it only has one restroom (or no restroom at all). Some locations, such as the beach or a barn, might not come with a bathroom and will require that you rent portable toilets for the day.
While handicap parking spots are important for accessibility, your perfect wedding venue should also have enough parking for all of your guests. This might be more difficult in a city, so a venue with a spacious parking lot is definitely a bonus.
While you’re snooping around your potential venue, take notice of all the parking options. Is there a lot? Garage? Street parking? How far is the parking from the venue?
Some venues come with a dance floor and some you may have to pay extra for. If your idea of a perfect wedding venue includes a dance floor, ask if it is included in your contract or if you will have to pay extra. These little details can end up costing you more money, so if you know everything you want while touring you can truly see what venue can accommodate you best and for the best value.
Read reviews of your potential venue on Yelp! If someone had a terrible experience, you can bet someone posted it. If they have an Instagram account, look at their tagged photos and see how their photos of the space look. You can see what they did with the space, how well it photographs, and get some wedding inspo.
Ceremony Versus Reception
Some couples choose to have a separate location for the reception than the ceremony. Especially if you are considering a church or beach ceremony, you will need a seperate venue for your reception. Or you might have a separate guest list for the ceremony than the reception, which would be better to have two separate venues.
Having two separate venues is completely optional, but just something to think about especially if you are between two you love!
Lastly, I forgot to mention the feeling you get when you see the venue. Sometimes you immediately know this is your perfect wedding venue. Sometimes you have a favorite but you might hesitate to book because you want to be sure. Trust your gut! This is your day and it should revolve around what you and your spouse want.