Choosing a wedding venue is one of the most important wedding planning decisions you’ll make. It sets the tone for the whole event and usually takes up a significant chunk of your budget. No pressure, right? With so many fabulous venues available around the globe, the whole process can feel pretty daunting. Many couples just start browsing the internet and then find themselves a bit overwhelmed. But here’s a little secret: knowing what you’re looking for will help you narrow down your wedding venue search significantly.
Here are some of the things you should consider to help you turn those infinite options into a more manageable number.
Location, location, location. One of the first things to consider is where you want to get married. Whether it’s your hometown, the city you live now, or some far-flung tropical island, you’ll need to know where to look. If you’re planning locally, think about specific areas that are convenient for you and your guests. For a destination wedding, start by narrowing the search to a single country, region, or type of destination.
Venue size. The next consideration is whether a venue will cater to your number of guests. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have a general draft of your guest list before you start the wedding venue search. This will immediately help you eliminate venues that are too small (and sometimes, those that are too big!) This will also ensure your cost-per-person doesn’t exceed your budget when you run the numbers.
Budget. Before you start, it’s also important to have an idea of your wedding budget. You don’t want to fall in love with a venue, only to find that it’s out of your reach.
Look and feel. While you may be open to a variety of venue styles, you may already have a specific theme or look in mind. It’s always best to work with the style of your venue instead of trying to turn it into something it’s not. The sky’s the limit if budget isn’t a concern, but let’s be real, it always is.
Special requirements. These are different for every couple, but examples include, onsite accommodations, an outdoor ceremony site, curfew limitations, the ability to work with external caterers, religious restrictions, ADA considerations, and more. Take some time to list your non-negotiables and eliminate those venues that aren’t compatible with your unique event needs.
Availability. Once you’ve narrowed the field and done some research, it’s time to reach out to a few venues and find out about availability. Remember that venues often book up a year or more in advance, so the sooner you are able to do this, the better.
Following these steps should leave you with a solid shortlist. After that, it’s on to the next part of the wedding venue search: site visits. Never book a venue without an in-person tour. Looks can be deceiving.
Happy venue hunting!
Image by Simone Photography