Your wedding day is one of the most memorable events of your life. That’s why choosing just the right venue for your wedding is one of the most important (and difficult) decisions you will have to make.
The right venue will help to set the tone for the wedding you’ve always imagined – but the wrong venue can often prove to be more of a hindrance than a help.
Some brides often regret not taking the time to choose the right venue for their special day. Just ask Reddit user Ready_Ad1753:
“My fiancé and I ended up picking our second choice venue due to costs, size and overall convenience as we have a lot of out of town relatives and friends,” she explains in her post on the r/weddingplanning message board.
“It’s definitely not as pretty and aesthetic as our first choice venue and the more I think about it, I start to feel regretful over picking the one we did.
We have a year until the day, and already put down the deposit and can’t just accept the loss so we’re sticking with it, but I can’t help feeling insecure about the venue we did pick and feel regretful.”
With so many options available, it can feel overwhelming to make the best choice, and it can be easy to give in to the temptation to pick something you don’t love just to get the task over and done with.
But if you take your time and take a few important factors into consideration, you can avoid this trap and find the exact venue for the wedding of your dreams.
Decide on Your Theme and Style
Before beginning your venue search, take some time to envision the style and theme you desire for your wedding. Do you envision a romantic and elegant affair, a rustic and bohemian celebration, or a modern and minimalist gathering?
Understanding your desired style will help you narrow down venues that match your vision and create a cohesive atmosphere for your big day. If you envision an elegant ballroom wedding, for example, then you can easily mark all of the barn, vineyard, beach, and garden venues off of your list.
Set Your Budget (And Be Realistic)
Establishing a budget is crucial when choosing a wedding venue. According to The Knot, the costs of the venue usually account for 37% of the typical wedding budget in 2023. That makes it the single largest cost you can expect to pay for your wedding, with catering services coming in at a close second.
Determine how much you are willing to allocate for the venue and stick to it. Keep in mind that the venue cost includes more than just the rental fee, as additional expenses such as catering, decorations, and transportation may also be involved.
Being mindful of your budget will prevent overspending and allow you to allocate funds to other important elements of your wedding.
Consider Your Guest List
The size of your guest list plays a significant role in selecting a suitable venue. Ensure that the venue can comfortably accommodate your expected number of guests.
A venue that is too small will make your guests feel cramped, and may violate a fire code or two in the process. A venue that is too large may create a sense of emptiness, which may tempt you to overspend on decorations or flowers in an attempt to fill the excess empty space.
Choose a venue that strikes the right balance, ensuring everyone feels comfortable and included, while still leaving room for your own personal touches.
Think About Accessibility
When selecting a venue, consider the accessibility and location for both you and your guests. Is the venue easily reachable by road, or does it require additional transportation arrangements? If many of your guests are traveling from out of town, choosing a venue near hotels or accommodations will make their experience more convenient.
It’s also important to take into account whether or not your venue is accessible for guests who may have difficulty walking, or other physical disability. If your venue does not offer ramps, elevators, or handicap parking spaces, some of your guests may find it too difficult to attend.
As much as your great aunt would love to be present for your ceremony, she may be forced to sit it out if it involves a half-mile hike to your scenic overlook.
Take Season and Weather into Account
The season in which you plan to have your wedding can greatly impact your venue choice. For example, if you’re having a summer wedding, an outdoor venue with beautiful gardens and open spaces might be ideal. However, if you’re opting for a winter wedding, you may prefer an indoor venue to keep your guests (and yourself) out of the cold.
Also, don’t forget that the venue you choose will also affect the attire for your wedding. Your bridesmaids may not feel comfortable in sleeveless, breezy dresses if you are holding your wedding in January, but would feel much better with a shawl around their shoulders and a longer hemline.
If you haven’t thought about dresses yet, it may be time to start! Bella Bridesmaids has an excellent collection of dresses of all seasons and venues, from the beach to the ballroom. They carry one of the largest selections of sizes, colors, and fabrics online, and they offer alterations as well.
Ask About Amenities
Look beyond the aesthetics of a venue and pay attention to the amenities and services it offers. Does the venue provide tables, chairs, and linens? Are there experienced event planners on staff who can assist you in organizing your wedding?
Understanding what the venue provides can help you make a more informed decision and potentially save you time and money on external rentals and services.
Explore Catering Options
Food is an integral part of any wedding celebration. Inquire about the venue’s catering options and restrictions. Some venues have exclusive partnerships with caterers, while others allow you to bring in outside vendors.
The added bonus to taking advantage of in-house catering services is that it can often be cheaper than finding a caterer on your own, though it can often limit the kinds of food options that may be available.
If you have specific dietary requirements or culinary preferences, ensure the venue can accommodate them. Don’t forget to arrange a tasting session to ensure the food is up to your standards.
Popular wedding venues tend to book up quickly, so it’s essential to check the availability of your desired dates early on. If you have a specific date in mind, contact the venues well in advance to secure your reservation.
However, if you have more flexibility with your wedding date, you may have more options available and potentially negotiate better deals.
Visit, Visualize and Vibe
Once you have a shortlist of potential venues, schedule visits to see them in person. Walking through the spaces will give you a better sense of the venue’s ambiance, layout, and overall suitability for your wedding. Imagine yourself there on your big day, and try to really feel out the vibe of the place.
Bring a camera and take photos to help you remember the details later. Visualize how your wedding would look in each venue, envisioning the decor, lighting, and overall atmosphere.
Trust your instincts and choose the venue that feels right and aligns with your vision.When looking at a location, think about the overall ambiance of the location and whether it aligns with the atmosphere you desire for your wedding.
Choosing a venue for your dream wedding requires careful consideration of various factors such as personal taste, budget, guest count, and availability. Remember that no single venue is perfect for everyone.
Patience and persistence are key, as finding the right venue may take time. However, don’t stress too much about it, because ultimately, your wedding day will be special and memorable, regardless of the venue you choose.
Trust your instincts, follow your heart, and you’ll be able to pull off the wedding you’ve always imagined.