Choosing the Perfect Wedding Venue
When beginning the process of looking at venues, it’s important to make sure you have established a particular style for what you want your wedding to look like. You might be looking for a traditional wedding (sometimes involving a religious ceremony), or maybe you are planning a more modern wedding, something minimalist and elegant. Other popular wedding styles include natural, rustic, and vintage. Once you have established the style you are going for, you can begin to narrow down your venue search. Different venues are set up to support different wedding styles. For example, it would be difficult to have a modern, minimalist wedding at an old countryside church.
Deciding the geographic location of your wedding is typically the next step after determining your desired wedding style. Unless you are going for a destination wedding, typically you would be looking for a venue that is not overwhelmingly far from where you are your fiancé live. Your guests factor into the location aspect of choosing a venue as well. Perhaps you and your fiancé live in a different state or region than both of your families, which may involve you wanting to have the wedding closer to them. Just like with your preferred style, there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to deciding the location of your wedding. However, it is important to determine a rough geographic area of where you will have your wedding, early on in the process, so you aren’t looking at venues across 300 miles.
Capacity limits is a crucially important consideration when choosing a venue. It is likely that every venue you research will mention what their capacity limits are. By this stage, you need to make sure you have a finalized or close to finalized guest list so you know what capacity restrictions will and will not work for you. Do not estimate a rough number of how many people you think you will have, instead actually write down everyone you want to invite so there are no later additions that could throw off what venues would work for you. 50 people can quickly escalate to 100, which would totally throw off your venue search.
It’s no secret that having a wedding is extremely expensive. Just like other wedding costs (photographer, dress, etc.) venue prices can vary widely. Many couples find the best way to address the cost considerations is to make a comprehensive budget beforehand, stating how much they would be willing to spend on each wedding expense, including the venue. Certain venues may also have packages that include other features like catering, which could be helpful for pricing considerations. Rarely will a venue have a standard price for every wedding. Venues typically mix up their pricing depending on the exact needs and desires of your wedding day, so be sure to do your research.
There are other important venue items to keep in mind that people often don’t think about. For example, you will need to make sure that the venue your getting married at is licensed to marry. For venues that specialize in weddings or host weddings regularly, this won’t be a concern, but if your venue is not a typical wedding venue, make sure they have a marriage license. Additionally, some venues are only licensed to marry in specific areas, often ones with religious or symbolic ceremonies. Another consideration is making sure the venue is pet-friendly if you want to have a special animal involved, as not all venues are. A final must have consideration is music. If having a DJ or live music artist is important for your wedding, make sure the venue doesn’t have any sound limits or restrictions against music artists.
As you further narrow down the venues you are considering for your wedding, it is important to visit these venues in person, typically more than once if possible. The first visit is more of a consultation, designed to see the venue as a blank canvas to take in the atmosphere, and if the opportunity presents itself, it may be beneficial to see the venue again during a wedding fair or event where it may be easier to picture what your wedding day would look like there. There is no magic number for how many venues you should visit, but presumably you won’t be able to visit all the places you’re considering, so try to narrow down a top few and make sure you visit those. Make sure you don’t sign a contract unless you’re positive you’ve chosen the right place. Chances are, there will be a place you’ll want into and know it’s the one for you!