Congratulations, you said “YES!” Now comes the task of planning your dream wedding. One of the most important choices you’ll need to make is selecting the perfect venue. The location sets the tone for the entire day and plays a big part in creating those unforgettable memories. To help you make the right choice, I’ve put together five tips for couples on choosing the perfect wedding venue for them.
1. Start Early and Prioritize
As soon as you set your wedding date, begin the venue search immediately. Many popular venues get booked up 18-24 months in advance, so it’s essential to start early to secure your desired date. I recommend picking two dates, so that if you fall in love with a venue and they don’t have that date available, you already have a backup plan. Additionally, before you begin touring potential venues, sit down with your fiancée and make a list of your priorities. Determine what factors are non-negotiable, such as location, capacity, and budget. Decide which parts of the wedding are most important to you, from the photographer to the DJ or band, the décor, videographer, etc., and allocate your budget accordingly. Having a clear idea of your preferences will streamline the decision-making process and prevent any unnecessary stress down the line.
2. Consider Your Wedding Style
Every couple envisions their wedding to reflect their unique style and personality. The venue you choose should align with your wedding theme and overall vision. Whether you dream of a historic venue with vintage vibes, a rustic barn wedding, a glamorous ballroom affair, or an intimate beach ceremony, your venue should complement and enhance your chosen style. Visualize how your decorations, flowers, and other elements will fit into the space, and ensure they harmonize beautifully with the venue’s existing features.
3. Evaluate the Capacity and Layout
Knowing your estimated guest count is crucial in finding a venue that accommodates your invitees comfortably. You don’t want your guests to feel cramped in a tiny space or, conversely, have a grand ballroom swallow up a smaller guest list. Alongside capacity, pay attention to the layout of the venue. Is there ample space for the ceremony, reception, and cocktail hour, if applicable? Are there designated areas for the bride and groom to get ready? The flow of the event should be smooth and cohesive, making it easy for your guests to navigate from one part of the celebration to another.
4. Consider Accessibility and Amenities
Accessibility is an often overlooked but important factor in choosing a wedding venue, particularly if you have guests that have mobility issues, or are elderly. Consider the distance from major transportation hubs, like airports and hotels, especially if you have many out-of-town guests. Additionally, inquire about parking availability or valet services. Does the venue provide golf cart or shuttle service from the parking area? You’ll also want to think about the amenities the venue offers. Do they provide tables, chairs, linens, and other essentials? Is there an on-site kitchen for catering? A venue with more amenities included can save you time, money, and the stress of coordinating with multiple vendors, however, you’ll want to if they require you to utilize vendors from their “preferred vendor” list. Many will have an exclusive agreement with a florist or caterer. Its important that you ask about any minimums that florist and/or caterer require so you don’t end up disrupting your overall budget to meet those minimums.
5. Read Reviews and Visit in Person
Before making any final decisions, don’t solely rely on online images; make sure to visit the venue in person. Schedule an appointment for a tour, so you can see the space for yourself, ask questions, and get a feel for the ambiance. Sometimes, a personal visit can make all the difference in choosing the perfect venue that resonates with you and your partner.
Choosing the right wedding venue is an essential part of creating your dream wedding. By starting early, considering your wedding style, evaluating capacity and layout, thinking about accessibility and amenities, and conducting thorough research, you’ll be well on your way to selecting the perfect place to say, “I do.” Remember to trust your instincts and go with the venue that truly speaks to your heart and matches your vision for this special day. Happy wedding planning!