What says “I do” like a perfect wedding venue?
You could search high and low for months, but who has time for that?
I’ve got everything you need to know to pick the perfect place to tie the knot. From budget-friendly tips to finding your dream location, I’ve got you covered.
So get ready to get inspired and find the best spot for your big day!
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Venue
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the perfect wedding venue will vary depending on the unique desires of each couple.
However, there are a few key considerations that all couples should keep in mind when choosing a venue.
Accommodate for Your Wedding Guest Count
Your guest list is most crucial before picking a wedding venue because it’s how you’ll determine the size of the location you choose.
It seems pretty obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many couples have had to make some hard decisions down the line because the RSVP ‘yesses’ turned out to be much more than the venue could handle.
If you’re having out-of-town guests, which is likely the case for a destination wedding, they may feel a little out of place. Selecting a wedding venue that enhances your guests’ experience and compels them to travel to your wedding is essential.
There are many small details that can make or break your wedding, such as whether or not the venue is close to available lodgings and whether or not there is adequate parking.
It’s also quite important because other wedding planning pinnacles revolve around the size of your guest list. From the catering to the parking space, you’ll need to pick the perfect location and work around your time, effort, and budget to make sure all your guests are accommodated comfortably, which brings us to the second factor:
Stay Within Your Wedding Budget
As much as the budget seems restricting at times, it’s there for a good reason: to make sure you’re not swept up by the many options that can drive up costs even before the honeymoon jitters kick in.
So, to avoid unnecessary headaches down the line, make sure to keep your budget in mind before picking a wedding venue.
And not just factoring in the cost of the space itself, but also the cost of other wedding venue-related services like in-house catering, decor, and styling for your event.
Stay True to Your Theme, Style, and Overall Vision
At the end of the day, your wedding is a day that celebrates you and your fiance’s union. So, why not find a wedding venue that stays true to your theme, style, and overall vision?
It’s easy to want to replicate the stunning venues of other couples from Pinterest, but to truly make your day special for you, you’ll want to pick a venue whose vibes feel authentic and representative of who you are.
By now, you probably have a good idea of what you want the vibe to be at your wedding, right? Is it romantic? Elegant? Boho?
Everything from the aesthetics to the indoor or outdoor spaces to the style you have in mind should fit in nicely and enhance your overall vision.
Before traveling to the site of your wedding venue, imagine the colors you’d like for your wedding and your wedding dress. Once you have a rough idea, visit the venue and see if the aesthetics feel right for you.
Consider the Scenery for Photos
Memories are a must-have, and in photos and videos, of course. On that day, you’ll be taking lots of pictures that help create long-lasting memories for you and your guests too.
So while doing site visits for your wedding venue, take a note of the scenery and whether it makes the perfect backdrop for taking pictures.
You could also check out nearby venues for couples who prefer having a separate venue to take photos and host the reception. In that case, it should be easily accessible to you and your guests.
5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Wedding Venue
Feeling uneasy about how to pick the perfect wedding venue? Here are a few tips to get those nerves settled down already.
1. Start Early: It’s never too early to start planning. Most couples will start booking venues as early as 9 to 12 months prior. Which means, you’ll need to start researching and doing site visits a couple of months before that. Picking a wedding venue allows you to focus on other items on your wedding planning to-do list, so the earlier you book a venue, the better.
2. Create a Checklist: A checklist is always a good way to list the must-haves for your venue before searching for the perfect one–especially since some must-haves may seem miniature but are pretty important for a smooth-running day.
For instance, if you have out-of-town guests, then you may want to add having a nearby airport to your checklist. You also want nearby rentals that are easy to navigate to the venue. The parking situation also shouldn’t get messy.
Afterward, break down the nitty-gritty that makes up your perfect venue. A killer view, perhaps? In-house catering? Or a private venue? And quite naturally, the more you list down your must-haves, the more you’ll narrow down venue options specific to meeting your needs.
3. Priorities First: While we’re on the list of your must-haves, we know how easy it is to get swept over by the endless possibilities. You don’t want to make a checklist of over a hundred items.
So, to avoid ending up with endless requirements for your venue, list down the priorities first. These are the items without which you can’t possibly accept a venue. Then, communicate the items you truly want to the venues you have in mind and see whether they can accommodate your needs.
4. Look out for Restrictions: While inquiring about the ways the venue will accommodate you, it’s crucial to note the restrictions they may have. Perhaps they have a no-pets or no-live-music policy. Others may not offer in-house catering. There’s no rush here, so take the time to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s before signing on that dotted line.
5. Consider Hiring a Wedding Planner: And lastly, you may consider hiring a wedding planner to do all the heavy lifting for you. Wedding planners have network connections with wedding venues and can negotiate the best terms of service for you. You simply tell them what your wedding vision is, and they do their best to bring your vision to life.
What’s the Average Cost of a Wedding Venue?
As with most wedding planning items and all other services you can think of, the prices vary based on the service package. For a wedding venue, the average cost is roughly $6,000, with prices going as low as $3,000 to as high as $11,000. Of course, it could go much higher for a destination wedding or an over-the-top lavish wedding.
When Should I Start Looking for a Wedding Venue?
“Book Early” is the mantra you need by your side during the wedding planning process.
For wedding venues, early means 9–14 months before the wedding date. This means that you should start looking for a wedding venue a month or two before that.
It’s always good to have a prospective wedding date in mind so that you can look for wedding venues that can accommodate that date.
Also, if the date falls during peak seasons like summer and early fall, then you definitely need to start looking as early as possible.
16 Questions You Need to Ask Your Venue
Now that you know when to start looking for a wedding venue and are armed with the prime factors to consider before choosing one, it’s time to get started searching for the perfect venue.
During your search, you’ll need to ask some important questions that will give you an idea of whether the venue has the key elements you need or things like how much you’ll spend at the end of the night.
So, before you sign that dotted line, here are 16 of the most important questions (and some follow-ups) you need to ask your venue.
- Is my preferred wedding date available? If not, what dates are?
- Do we need to use your vendors?
- Do you offer a day-of coordinator? Is there an additional cost?
- Will there be ample parking?
- Who is responsible for setting up/taking down decor? When does it need to be completed?
- What is your pricing for bartending/alcohol? Are there corkage fees, or can we supply our own alcohol?
- Will the space accommodate my guest list size? Capacity?
- Any restrictions on sound, decor, dress code, or grand exits like fireworks?
- Is wedding insurance required?
- Do we need to have the music off at a certain time?
- Can we have all the events (ceremony, cocktail hour, reception) on-site?
- Is there an area for dancing/ a DJ?
- Do you offer discounts for off-season or non-Saturdays?
- How do you charge? per head, by the hour, or flat fee?
- Do you offer different packages? If so, what are they?
- What is your cancellation policy?
Wedding Venue Inspiration
Still hesitant to get started? Not to worry, uncertainty is completely normal. After all, your wedding venue sets the tone for the entire event, so getting it just right is only fair.
To help calm your nerves, here are some wedding venue inspiration ideas you can feel free to base your vision on.
Museums, Libraries, or Art Galleries Weddings
If you love art, in all its shapes and forms, why not have an indoor wedding at an art location of your choosing? From museums to libraries to art galleries—these days, art is celebrated all around us, even at weddings.
The pros are that your guests will get unique, gorgeous backdrops with exclusive art collection tours before or after the wedding. You’ll also support and promote a local organization. Two birds, one stone.
Private Home Wedding
It’s not uncommon to host your wedding at a private home. It’s intimate, flexible, and may even be a cheaper alternative. Our tip? Backyards have the coolest atmosphere and offer the subtlest personal touch of home.
Beach weddings are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s easy to see why. There’s something about the combination of the sound of waves crashing against the shore, the smell of salt in the air, and the feel of sand between your toes that just makes you feel relaxed and at peace. Plus, who doesn’t love a good beach wedding photo?
Just remember to keep track of the season. You don’t want the rain or strong winds to rudely interrupt your big day.
By now, you’ve heard of the ‘barn wedding’ booming trend. Barns are a blank canvas to curate your wedding however you want. If you’re a dreamer and are up for the wedding design challenge, here’s a way to completely express every little thing that makes your wedding true to you.
Who says hotel suites are out of style? The greatest thing about hotel suites is that most are already suited for hosting special events like weddings. That’s not to say you won’t have your work cut out for you to design the most unique and intimate event, but it sure does make your work easier to have a venue with the basic necessities pre-installed.
Conservatory, State Park, or Vineyard Wedding
A conservatory is already set up for nature lovers who want to tie the knot surrounded by the gush of wind, blossoming flowers, stunning fountains, and gorgeous stone paths around every corner.
You won’t need a florist or a decorator for this one. A state park or vineyard is also pretty similar to a conservatory, with all the greenery and scenic views that make gorgeous backdrops for photo sessions.
The underwater experience doesn’t have to seem so far-fetched when it’s entirely possible to maximize the majestic sea life as your backdrop for the day. With a team of staff to make sure everything runs smoothly, you can have the wedding of your dreams utilizing the tons of aquariums worldwide.
Find Your Perfect Wedding Venue
Finding your perfect venue can seem intimidating at first, but with these factors, tips, and inspiration ideas to keep in mind, you’ll be well on your way to settling on an option that has you beaming with joy. So breathe, trust yourself, and let your gut guide you towards the venue that makes you and your fiance feel the happiest.
What is the most important factor when selecting a wedding venue?
The most important consideration when choosing a wedding venue is the size of your guest list and whether or not the venue can comfortably accommodate all of your guests for the entire wedding.
What is the most popular type of wedding venue?
In the old days, having a ‘house of worship’ wedding venue was pretty commonplace. However, modern times are seeing couples choose hotels, private homes, barns, parks, country clubs, and many other unique places for their wedding venue.
How do I choose between two venues?
Choosing between two or more venues can be difficult. However, you’ll want to first read customer reviews to learn about their previous experiences, both good and bad.
Next, look into the venues’ histories to see if they have a history of producing memorable weddings. The physical location is also important to ensure that everyone is comfortable and has access to all the necessities they may require.
Then, chat with the venue’s team to see if they are a good fit for working with you over the coming months, and then consider any risk factors that may arise in the days leading up to the wedding, so you know which venue is worth the risks it entails and, ultimately, right for you.