PICKING A VENUE FOR YOUR WEDDING
I have a ton of inquiries from couples that are looking for venues for their wedding, but don't really know where to start or how to find the one. There is a ton of factors to take into consideration before you look at venues like:
- Estimated Guest Count
- Your Budget
- DIY styled wedding or all-inclusive
INITAL VENUE SEARCH
Start on a website like the Knot or Wedding wire to filter what types of venues are available in your area, but keep in mind that not all venues advertise themselves on the Knot or Wedding Wire. You will get an idea of what style and vibe you all are looking for to help you refine your search in your town or city. Find your keywords to describe your wedding. These are common and trendy words to help your search: classic, historic, industrial, rustic, elegant, intimate, modern, farm, urban, etc.
ASK PLANNERS / VENDORS
You can reach out to other vendors or planners in the area for venue recommendations based on your vision and style of your day. They work in these spaces and venues all the time AND they know who is professional and who is crazy to work with. Vendors and planners tend to stray from venues that have bad reputations and experiences so listen to their advice!
GO SEE VENUES
Most will require an appointment, but some like breweries and restaurants you can go anytime unless you want an venue coordinator to give you more information on the space. Ask loads of questions - This worksheet will help!
OUTDOORS VS INDOORS
There are so many pros and cons to both. Obviously it is safer to go with an indoor venue because of weather, but the photos from outdoor weddings are sometimes so much prettier. I love both, but if you are looking for an outdoor ceremony or reception, you and the venue must have a Rain Plan or Plan B. Most venues have several options for Plan B, but make sure you ask! (Sometimes the venue's Plan B requires you to hire a very expensive tent!)
If you are thinking about doing a backyard wedding at your house or a friends house, please do consider the expenses of rentals, lighting, and tents. You will also need to keep in mind that your catering service will not be able to operate out of your kitchen due to regulations/code, so you will need to budget a bit for a tent for them to set up in. You may also need to hire port-o-potties or a bathroom trailer depending on the size of your wedding.
DIY WEDDING VENUES
Usually these type of venues just provide the space or the area in which you need to fill yourself from a tent to tables, chairs, linens, decor, lighting, etc. These are great if you want to customize every inch of your wedding, but I would definitely consider consulting with a planner or coordinator to make sure you have everything covered with the right amount of tables, lighting so people can see, and even hire bathrooms.
These are usually venues that are in hotels or managed by an event company that covers the venue, rentals, catering, coordination, cake, and subcontracts out decor and floral. These venues are super convenient since you can get everything in one place, but they tend to be not as personable as another venue. They treat weddings as a strict, cookie cutter business so your wedding will probably turn out really nice, but will feel factory made.
Thinking outside the box will lead you to really cool alternative wedding spaces - warehouses, AirBnB, music venues, bars, farms, national parks, public spaces, museums, etc. You will have to do more research and asking questions, but sometimes super worth the effort to have a totally unique wedding. Do ask how many people you can seat in the space. Capacity is a totally different number than seating.
SMALL, INTIMATE WEDDING VENUES
For weddings under 60, you are considered a small, intimate wedding so make sure you think about other alternative venues that will be better for smaller weddings. Also, don't forget to check out Elopement websites since they tend to have a TON of intimate wedding venues listed. (HINT: If you are 30 or under, consider calling yourself an elopement to cut costs!)
LARGE WEDDING VENUES
If you are over 200 people, there tend to be limited options for you. Hotels tend to have the largest spaces and ballrooms so that tends to be the go to for large weddings, but depending on your area you may have other options. If you despise the idea of having a hotel wedding then get creative on the location and hire a tent and all your rentals. If you are really lucky, there will be a great warehouse space but be sure to ask how many people you can SEAT vs. the capacity.