You're engaged!! Now what?! Picking your venue is the first step to take to start planning your big day. There's more that can go into this than most realize, so we laid out our best tips for selecting a space that reflects you and your fiancé perfectly!
Photo: Cezann Ricci
1. Know Your Budget
Before you start searching for anything, set a budget for your wedding. Having this ahead of time saves you from the disappointment of falling in love with a space that you can't afford. Don't spend more than half your budget on a venue either. Every venue offers different things, so look at every aspect and see how much extra you will need to spend to get everything for your wedding.
Are you and your fiancé from different cities, or thinking of a destination wedding? Picking where you want to say 'I do' is the next step. Whether you want to marry in the city you grew up in, or that special location where the two of your first met, coming to an agreement on location will start your search for venues!
Photo: Jenrette Romberg
Come up with an estimate of how many guests you plan on having at the wedding. A venue can be too small for your guest count, or even too large if you want a smaller, more intimate wedding. Be sure your number will fit comfortably in a venue, and ask if a venue has a minimum requirement.
4. Pick a Wedding Date
Are you wanting to get married in the crisp, fall weather, or in the blooming spring time? Pick a date, or at least a specific season, when you start searching for a venue. Be proactive and ask for availability when you first contact a venue as well. Bookings happen fast, so if you love a venue that does not have your date available, decide if you're willing to change your date, or move on to another space!
Photo: Horn Photography
5. Rain Plan
No one wants rain on a wedding day, but it's important to have a back up plan if it happens! If you're getting married outside, is there a second location to have an indoor ceremony? If so, does it interfere with another space you will be using, such as the cocktail hour or reception? Go over these details with each venue when you take a tour, and see if they have a rain plan to ensure your wedding will still go off without a hitch!
6. Accommodations and Transportation
Whether a venue is right in the city, or out in the country, getting guests to and from the wedding is important. If there is not parking at the venue, do they have a shuttle or valet service, and is it an extra cost? If a venue is out in the country, is there a hotel for guests to stay in, and are they large enough to accommodate however many rooms you'll be needing?
Photo: Heather K Cook Photography
7. More Than a Venue
Many venues offer more than just a space for your wedding. Asking for a list of what all can be provided by the venue before you book will not only help you in terms of budget, but also with booking other vendors. From tables and chairs to an all-inclusive package, knowing what a venue can do for you can help relieve stress and make your planning experience everything you want it to be!
Is there anything you aren't allowed to have, or are there certain vendors that you have to go through the venue to use? Knowing a venue's alcohol policy is also important if you are wanting to provide drinks for guests at your wedding.
Photo: Cezann Ricci
Getting married today is not the same as it was, even 5 years ago! Websites like Wedding Wire and The Knot allow you to see honest reviews of venues, and experiences from couples on their wedding day. Looking at this can give you insight on how it is working with a venue and their staff, which is one of the most important parts of your big day!
Have any other tips for picking the perfect venue? Let us know of other ideas you've found!