Discover how to choose the perfect wedding venue with these 10 tried-and-tested tips.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the choice of wedding venues to celebrate your special day?
In this guide, discover 10 top tips on how to choose the perfect wedding venue for your event. From knowing your budget to understanding the venue’s requirements, we'll talk about things you might already be considering and a few that never crossed your mind.
Finding your dream wedding venue is one of the most important decisions you will make after becoming engaged. You not only want it to reflect your style and personalities but also fit within your budget and allow you to celebrate your wedding the way you envision.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the seemingly endless options available, then this guide is for you! I’ve put together 10 tried-and-tested tips for how to choose the perfect wedding venue and make your decision-making process a little bit easier.
1.Establish a budget.
If you’re on a high with the prospect of finding your dream wedding venue, thinking about budget constraints might seem like a bit of a dampener. But it’s important to establish what you’re willing (or able) to spend from the get-go, so you aren’t looking at venues that are beyond your means and will see you in debt when you should be enjoying your newly-wed status.
So clearly establish what your budget is, as well as any “wiggle room” if the perfect venue happens to be that little bit more.
2. Determine where you want to get married.
For some brides, they’ve known for years where they want to get married while for others it’s determined by faith or cultural beliefs. Establishing where you want to get married will help to narrow down the myriad of choices as you search online.
Perhaps you’ve dreamt of a destination wedding* in Mexico or you’re planning a cultural celebration at a temple. Maybe you want to say “I do” surrounded by the vineyards of a local winery. Once you can envision what your dream wedding looks like, your chances of finding the perfect venue are much higher.
* If you’re planning a destination wedding, then it’s not just the venue you need to consider but also accommodation for your guests. Make sure there’s adequate accommodation available (and you’re giving your guests plenty of notice to make bookings) or consider providing transportation from a nearby town or city.
3. Have a guest list “guestimate”.
Knowing roughly who you want to invite to your wedding is important in finding your perfect venue, as there’s no point in booking an intimate garden space if you end up having 300+ guests attending. On the flip side, a chandelier-filled ballroom designed for 400 will probably feel a bit sparse if it’s just you and your closest family and friends.
When searching for your dream wedding venue, carefully check its capacity and any flexible arrangements they have for larger or smaller wedding parties. If you’re worried that your wedding guests are going to be sitting on top of one another with no room for a dance floor, it’s a clear sign that the venue’s not right for you.
4. Be social media savvy.
In this day and age, we have a wealth of information at our fingertips and it’s no exception when it comes to finding wedding venues. Not only do most venues have their own social media accounts where you can browse photos of previous weddings that have taken place, but they’ll usually credit photographers who have worked there.
Most of these photographers will have their own blogs that might dish out a little more information about the venue, as well as showcase gorgeous portraits and candid moments. This allows you to glimpse a little behind-the-scenes, as well as see the details chosen by other couples and how they’ve made the space their own.
5. Document your venue search.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, consider viewing a few wedding venues before making your final decision. Keep in mind that it’s easy for this to become one big blur and your recollections of important details will likely get lost. So don’t be shy to take photos along the way or a notebook to jot down important features you notice.
If you’re nutting it out between two venues, it’s recollections like these that will help you identify “the one” for your dream wedding day.
6. Plan well ahead.
It probably goes without saying that most couples don’t leave their wedding venue booking to the last minute. As a result, some wedding venues book out years in advance, particularly during peak periods or around the holidays.
So it’s important that you get in early if you are set on a particular date or prepare to be flexible once you’ve found your perfect wedding venue. The further you plan ahead (and secure the booking), the more likely you are to book the venue you want, when you want!
7. Understand the venue’s rules and requirements
The perfect wedding venue doesn’t just come down to the aesthetic, location or atmosphere. Sometimes it’s about what you are allowed to do there that makes it ideal.
If you’ve got your heart set on doing DIY decorations, there’s no point looking at wedding venues that have strict policies about design. Or if you’re intent on having a sparkler send-off, you can immediately cross off all those venues that won’t allow them.
Establish in your own mind whether you’re willing to be flexible and work within a venue’s restrictions or if you want the freedom to live out your wildest wedding day dreams and find a venue that will let you stretch your wings.
8. What about the drinks?
Alcohol and drinks are a big part of your wedding so it’s important to find out whether you can bring your own alcohol and what the costs are or if the venue will supply the drinks. Since you will also need a licensed bartender to serve alcohol, find out whether the venue can assist with this so that you can factor those costs into your final budget.
9. Preferred Vendors.
You’re going to be working with several different vendors in the time leading up to and on your wedding day. Many venues provide you with information on their preferred vendors so find out about this before you make a booking. If they do work with specific vendors, make sure that you’re happy with their experience, style, personality, and pricing - t's more important for you to choose vendors that fit in with your budget and overall preferences.
10. And Finally.
You will be interacting with the staff and venue manager quite a bit on your wedding day. Make sure that you pay attention to how you're treated during your initial consultations. Read reviews from multiple sources. Keep in mind that not every review is going to be perfect. If the bulk of the reviews are glowing, then you should be able to make a good decision.
There are many different factors to consider when choosing the perfect wedding venue but make sure that it’s a space that speaks to your personalities and style as a couple.