Like most people, you probably grew up imagining all the details of your wedding day, and most likely you had a certain type of venue in mind. And although personal preferences for wedding venues may change throughout the years, couples typically want to get married in a place that is beautifully picturesque, romantic, memorable, and reflective of them. This could be a family church, an elegant banquet hall, a chic city hotel, an oceanside resort, a secret garden, a rustic barn, or even meaningful personal property, such as a family estate.
Choosing your wedding venue will be one of the most exciting wedding planning decisions you will make, and will set the tone for everything else to follow. But before you sign the contract and make the huge announcement to your loves ones on the location, take a moment to consider the following:
1. Consult Your Planner
It is wise to first consult with your planner and explain what your expectations are of a venue. A professional wedding planner will have a lot of experience with weddings and will be able to determine if the venues that are of interest will be a good fit for the amount of guests, and if the layout will work. It is also important to understand what décor or items may be needed for the space. Basically, your wedding planner will think of everything your venue will need for your budget and vision.
2. Settle on a Wedding Date
The sooner you select your wedding date, the easier it will be to book your venue, if you wait too long, you may lose it altogether. Even if it’s a non-traditional wedding venue, such as museum, it is better to solidify your date with them as soon as possible, since venues schedule events well in advance.
If you live in an area that is impacted by the changing of seasons, it is important to take this into consideration. For example, if your wedding date is in December and you live in the Northeast, it would be wise to consider an indoor venue due to snow, windchill, and other climate factors.
3. Consider What Is Included
If you decided that a non-traditional venue, such as an estate, beach or gallery, is the right fit for you, consider that these spaces often require additional rental and logistical planning. While a banquet hall or restaurant might give you a higher quote than an outdoor venue, it may end up costing you more for the outdoor venue in the end when you total up the cost of rentals, tents, and equipment required for your wedding. If budget is a major concern, a full-service venue might be the most affordable route.
If you really have your heart set on a venue that is an outdoor space, be sure to discuss a rain plan with your planner and the site in the event of inclement weather, such as tent options or an alternative indoor space.
4. Consider your guests
If a majority of your guests are coming in from out of town, opt to choose a venue that is close to suitable hotels and a major airport. If your dream venue isn’t near anything like this, your planner can propose shuttle options that suite your style and budget.
It is also important to identify if any of your guests require special accommodations? Consult with the venue and your planner to determine if the venue can accommodate your special guests’ needs such as ADA accessibility.
If the venue you love only allows their own in-house catering, be sure to ask for a tasting to make sure that you approve of the food that will be served to your guests and if they are able to accommodate special dietary preferences. Even if you are in love with a venue, if the food isn’t to your liking, it may be worth it to keep looking.
5. Think Outside the Box
Many couples are opting to get married in unconventional spaces such as art galleries, national parks, museums, movie theaters, yachts, libraries, even zoos. Destination weddings are also growing in popularity. The key is to find a place that you, as a couple, feel right about getting married in. One that reflects your personal style, vision, and budget.