With you and your partner getting engaged, you’re now in the process of planning your wedding. What seemed like such a fun idea is now emotionally overwhelming. Suddenly you need to consider what your menu will look like, how your ceremony will be decorated, who will be in your wedding party and more.
Most of all, the two of you will need to figure out where you’ll hold your wedding ceremony and reception. This is obviously one of the most important parts of the wedding planning process, but it’s all for a good reason.
Your venue largely defines your wedding. You need to ensure that you and your spouse love the place you’ll be and that all of your guests will be both comfortable and accommodated. But where do you start in the planning process?
Whether you’re pairing your venue to your wedding theme or want a place that embodies a particular history, here are the key points to follow to find your perfect wedding venue.
What’s your theme?
The first thing you’ll want to consider is what your wedding will look like. What colors are you using? What decorations are you applying? Is there a specific style you’re going for? Maybe you want your wedding to have a gimmick. How can that be incorporated?
For instance, you and your partner are baseball crazed. You live and die by America’s pastime. You’ll both be wearing baseball cleats, you’ll both be wearing baseball wedding bands and your ring bearer will carry your rings inside of a baseball glove. It’s only right that the two of you get married at your hometown baseball team’s local park.
What’s your guest list look like?
Along with considering your theme, you’ll want to think of how many people you need to accommodate. If you have a small guest list, you can plan a wedding basically anywhere – although a massive venue might feel awkward with such a small crowd. However, you’re going to need a large wedding venue if your guest list is a never-ending scroll. Make sure you have enough space for everyone, where people can comfortably spread out while still keeping the ceremony intimate.
What can you comfortably spend?
Wedding venues are costly, often taking up a decent part of your overall budget. It’s important you and your spouse know, ahead of time, what you’re willing to spend on your venue. Chances are your parents will be helping out, but that doesn’t mean you should go all-out on your venue. Rather, find a venue that feels right to the two of you, the one that makes you feel butterflies in your stomach as the image of your wedding becomes so clear.
If it happens to be over budget, you may want to reconsider, but you should do what feels right to the two of you.
What’s around your venue?
Now, you might not care what’s around your venue, with you simply traveling from the ceremony to the reception, but your guests will be interested. They’ll have time to kill both before and after the ceremony. Chances are they may want to grab a drink or bite to eat or go somewhere to get a breath of fresh air in between. Similarly, they’ll want a hotel nearby so they don’t have to drive a half-hour or more to call it quits for the night. Try to find a venue that works for both you and them – although, granted, you and your partner should always come first.
What does the venue give you?
Outside of the amenities around your venue, you’ll also want to look into what your venue provides you. Do you have to order all of your services outside of the venue, working through other businesses, or can you work in tandem with your venue to hire a caterer, waitstaff, and more?
The more they can provide, the less weight there will be on your shoulders to cover your bases elsewhere.
Indoor vs. outdoor?
Depending on the time of year, you’ll also want to consider whether you want your venue to be inside or outside or allow for both. Some venues will provide a mixture of both to guests, which is perfect for summertime weddings, where guests can escape into air conditioning and relax on the patio at night. The mixture of indoor-outdoor can also save you in the event of unfortunate weather. That way, you and your guests won’t be stuck out in the rain.
How easy will the setup be?
How much work is required on you and your partner’s part? If you both don’t mind the work, you’ll be fine with a venue that requires your party to set up everything that’s needed. However, if you want nothing more than to kick back with a whiskey throughout your wedding, then you’ll want a venue that covers all of the basics for you – or you’ll have to hire enough staff to take care of it all for you.
Is it private?
How isolated is the venue? Is this a winery that many other patrons will be visiting, potentially being able to slip in and out of your party unnoticed? While that might sound fun, it’s also an intrusion of privacy. If that sounds uncomfortable to you, it’s in your best interest to get a venue that provides more privacy.
Listen to your gut.
Before you make your decision, do some research and listen to your gut. That includes conducting a site visit, reading reviews online, asking around to see if anyone you know has used the space before and more.
This is your big day, after all. You should feel comfortable with the decision you’re making, so don’t rush into it. Take your time and find the venue of your dreams.