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Your wedding venue is essential, no matter what type of ceremony you’re having. Don’t be overwhelmed! Check out our tips on how to pick the perfect one.
No matter what type of wedding you're planning on having, there's one consideration that you can't go without, the wedding venue. Every marriage needs a place to happen in, but finding one that suits your wedding can make all the difference.
The problem is that there are so many things to consider when picking out a venue that it's easy to get overwhelmed by the process. To make putting together your dream wedding a little easier, follow these tips on how to pick the perfect wedding venue. Things we’ll consider include:
Consider The Size Of Your Wedding Venue
Before you get too far, it's critical to know just what sort of party you're planning on having. There are venues available for weddings of every size, but you don't want to pick out a location that is too big for the intended guest list and waste space—or, even worse, too small for everyone you want to attend to fit.
Most wedding venues will have a note of the guest capacity on their websites, but it also can be good to ask about how many people will fit comfortably. You'll also want to make sure that there's still enough room for your guests after you move in any necessary equipment; tables, chairs, bars, and decoration can also take up space and leave you with a crowded room when the ceremony comes around.
You don't necessarily need an exact number when considering this step since your guest list may fluctuate up or down before the wedding approaches. Having a rough estimate will be good enough to eliminate a lot of choices and save you wasted trips and heartbreak if you happen to love a location that isn't the right size.
For couples that have a location they want to get married at because it holds significance to their relationship, it's instead possible to build the guest list to fit capacity instead of the other way around.
Make a Budget For Your Wedding Venue
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Before you get too much farther, you'll need a budget, and not just for your venue—you should have an idea of just what sort of numbers you're working for the whole ceremony. From this point, having no more than half of your overall budget spent on your venue is a reasonable estimate to look at, though you can go cheaper.
Much like knowing the party size, setting a number makes it easier to avoid falling in love with a beautiful venue but not being able to afford it.
Hire a Wedding Planner
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Planning the ceremony on your own can be an exhausting task, so hiring a wedding planner can seem appealing. On top of the stress relief, a wedding planner can help you pick out a wedding venue. They're familiar with locations already, so they can make sure you've made all the considerations, plus even suggest places that fit the overall theme of your wedding.
Know if Your Wedding is Religious or Secular
This question is easy to answer, but it can make all the difference in just where you have your wedding. For secular and non-denominational weddings, there aren't many restrictions on venue other than what you want as a couple.
Religious weddings, on the other hand, can often require your marriage to occur at specific venues. You'll want to talk this over with your religious leader—especially if you and your partner have different beliefs.
Think About Style
The style and theme of your wedding also play a significant role in where you're going to hold it. More rustic ceremonies will fit well in a large barn, while traditional marriages can fit well in hotel receptions. If there's an aesthetic you're aiming for, make sure your venue will compliment it.
Don't forget about colors, either. Some wedding planners caution against picking out the color scheme of your ceremony before you settle on a location, just in case the perfect place is more suited to a different palette than what you're considering using. If you pick a venue first, that leaves you with the option to build the rest of your wedding theme around the existing décor.
Ask About Accommodations
Every wedding venue is going to have different sets of accommodations. Locations that regularly host weddings are likely to provide necessary items, like decorations, reception tables, and catering as part of their costs. It's common for these accommodations to be all or none—either you get the help or must set up everything on your own—but that's not always the case, so asking is a must.
Some locations may require you to pick from a preferred list of vendors, too, or have extra fees if you go outside their choices. This listing can help if you don't have any preferences, but for couples that have certain elements picked out already, flexibility will be the priority.
Some locations give you a preferred list of vendors but don't require you to use them, so know you're not always going to have to deal with this concern. Some venue-vendor relationships can even get you discounts!
Take note that if a venue does provide accommodations, you'll have to look at your budget differently. After all, the fee may not just be for the site, but cover parts of your food and decoration budgets as well. This possibility is another reason why it's important to know how much you want to spend overall, so you don't miss out on a location at first pricing glance.
Plan the Menu
Food is the linchpin of many a reception, so you want to make sure you get it right. This step ties to asking for accommodations—after all, you don't want to be stuck with catering you don't want or be hit with fees for bringing in outside options.
If you or your guests have special dietary restrictions, like allergies or needing vegetarian options, make sure that in-house or preferred catering can offer choices for them. Be open to the venue about what you need so that they can provide.
Check Technical Compatibility
Rustic-style weddings are popular, and barns make for lovely locations—until you realize that there aren't enough outlets to support your DJ crew. Venues that host a lot of weddings will likely have plenty of outlets, but other locations may not so be sure to check.
You'll also want to make sure that there's actual power as well. Both barns and historic buildings may require a generator to run any music or lighting. Besides being an extra expense, generators can be noisy, so make sure you're prepared in both cases if there isn't default power.
Think About the Reception
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Are you going to have your reception in the same venue, or are you going to relocate elsewhere? Is the reception space laid out well for the type of party you want, or will it awkwardly break up the guests? The reception is a good point to think about when you're visiting the wedding venue, as you can see the space available to you and think about how the area will be set up.
Prepare for Travel
No matter if you're having a destination wedding or sticking close to home, you want to consider just how your guests will get to the venue. If you're expecting a lot of out of town guests, picking a venue that's near hotels with varying price points will be considerate of their time and money. Making the wedding easier to get to will be a big bonus for everyone.
You'll also want to check if the venue has enough parking for everyone on your guest list. Some sites require valet or paid parking, so be clear about this in your invitation. You may also need to rent a shuttle for getting everyone to the ceremony without trouble. Check with the venue coordinator to see what your options are.
Visit Your Wedding Venue Beforehand
Though it may seem like common sense, you'll want to take a trip to the venue itself. After you've knocked out possibilities based on the tips on this list, go and visit the location. Don't just rely on online photos—most sites will make sure their image looks best, but the work you'll need to put in can change once you step inside.
Looking at the venue in person is also a great way to make sure it matches what you're looking for. Beyond the on-paper details, there's something about taking a visit that can be the make or break factor in picking between your top choices.
Use your trip as the chance to check a lot of the technical details, from power accommodations to space. Be sure to take notes, that way you don't forget anything important. Having notes also helps with comparing locations later if you're undecided.
You may consider bringing your wedding planner on later visits to the venue, as they'll have experience in asking questions and getting a feel if the location fits the wedding image you're aiming for.
Pick a Location That Fits You as a Couple
At the end of the day, getting married is about celebrating your relationship. Make sure you and your partner are both happy with your decision. Picking out a meaningful place to you both can be more fulfilling than anything else. Don't hesitate to make a personal choice.
Also take your initial visits of locations together—and without any other company—so that you can talk things over without someone else's vision clouding with yours.
Follow these tips, and you'll be able to pick the perfect wedding venue — the foundation of your perfect wedding.