How Do I Choose a Wedding Venue?

There’s certainly plenty of things to think about when planning your wedding, and there’s the date, your guest list, the dress and lots of big decisions like who will make up your wedding parties, such as your bridesmaids and best men.

However, one decision that you absolutely should not underestimate is picking your wedding venue. The location you decide upon is one of the most instrumental parts of your wedding, the base for your day, the backdrop for your wedding photographs and the place in which memories of a lifetime will be created. So, how do you make sure that you get this critical decision right?

Finding the place that all these celebrations are going to go down at can be seriously tricky. Trust us. We’ve been there. We decided to put together some tried-and-tested tips to help you find and choose your ideal wedding venue.

Let your wedding vision lead the way.

You want your wedding day to have an overall “feel”. So if you want a laid-back, all-natural ceremony with just a few close friends, you probably wouldn’t choose a modern art gallery as your venue.

And on the other side of that coin, if you’re looking for a beautiful, polished wedding day, dragging chairs through the sand on the beach probably won’t work. Instead, use your wedding vision as a starting point to narrow down the list of venue possibilities.

Once you’ve got an idea of how you want your wedding to look, feel and be remembered in photos, the next step is to find a wedding venue that fits your style. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Traditional

Nothing is more beautiful than a wedding that lets the bride and groom’s relationship speak for itself. Traditional wedding venues evoke a sense of history and legacy and let the specialness of the day shine without fuss or distraction. A beautiful church, country club or golf course may provide the perfect backdrop for a couple wanting a timeless and classic feel to their wedding day.

Modern

Clean, crisp and minimalistic are words that describe a modern wedding ceremony. Look for venues with elegant, open spaces without a lot of “busy” backdrops. Art galleries, modern restaurants, loft venues and warehouses can provide a blank canvas kind of space for your wedding vision to come to life.

Natural

For a more bohemian vibe, get outdoors. An alfresco wedding gives your nuptials a fresh, organic feel that wraps you and your guests in the best that nature has to offer. Think about an ocean-front ceremony on the beach or a beautiful wedding on the lawn of the park where you met. Botanical gardens are also a good option for a natural feel that have a weather-proof guarantee!

Rustic

For a more down-home feel, a rustic venue can provide simple elegance for a wedding celebration. With the flexibility to be indoors and out, a rustic platform allows your personality to shine through. Think barn venues, farms, ranches and wineries.

Vintage

A couple with an old soul will appreciate the details that a historic venue has to offer. The intimate setting of an old library or the marble floors of a 19th-century post office remind people of a simpler time. A wedding in a vintage location is charming and nostalgic.

Romantic

Soft, twinkling lights and cascading florals whisk your guests to the fairytale wedding you’ve always dreamed of. Romantic venues amplify the love that you’re celebrating on your wedding day, and guests will swoon when you choose to have your wedding in an elegant hotel ballroom, a historic mansion or even a castle.

Destination

If you’re dreaming of a Caribbean beach wedding or nuptials on the freshly-powdered ski slopes, remember that guests may be travelling a very long way. However, a smaller guest list makes destination weddings intimate and memorable, not to mention the unforgettable photos you’ll have forever!

Tips in Choosing the Right Wedding Venue

Space

The venue must have a roomy fit. The reception site must be large enough to accommodate the total number of guests. At first glance, a venue may look huge, but wedding essentials (chairs, tables, buffet setup, band setup, dance floor, etc.) consume a lot of space. In addition, your guests will need some elbow room, so take this into account.

Estimates are, sometimes, unreliable. A contingency is to take a peek at the venue when it is all set up for another wedding, that is. Just make sure that the size of the guest list is similar to yours so you can have a near-accurate estimate.

Areas

Eating, drinking, talking, and dancing are the four primary activities at any wedding reception. There must be logical areas for these activities.

When conducting a location inspection, stand in one corner and envision where you think these activities would happen. If the place cannot be separated into sections accordingly, it will probably feel crowded on your wedding day.

Look at the ‘shape’ of the venue. If there are odd contours or blockages, the back may not see what is happening at the front. These factors can compromise the actual flow of the wedding program.

Privacy

Most of the to-be-weds put importance on privacy. Indeed, they would appreciate an intimate and private reception by keeping wedding crashers at bay.

Unless you are okay with the idea of other people peeking on your wedding (true for public receptions), you might as well opt for venues that allow clients to buy out the place (guest-only basis). Ask about security availability.

As much as possible, the venue should accommodate one event per day only. Ask if it is possible to schedule the event when there is no other event in the following function fall. If not, you can always visit the venue when there is an event and see how the activities would affect other activities in the other halls.

Further, ask whether the halls or rooms are noise-proof or not. This is one way of keeping the wedding free from outside disturbances and uninvited guests.

Colour

Weddings often have colour motifs. However, the colour of the walls and ceilings and even the décors at the venue must not conflict or clash with your motif, or they will ruin the otherwise significant impact of colour coordination.

The location need not be in the exact colours as your motif, but the prominent hues at the venue must complement the motif somehow. Not just for visual interest, but contrasting colours may be an eyesore to look at. Request the owner to use a specific colour of curtains on your wedding day, if possible.

For brunch and day weddings, venues in light and pastel colours are perfect. For classic weddings, venues in darker hues or neutrals are ideal.

Lighting

Lights make or break the overall mood at the venue. For a day wedding, make sure that your chosen venue has lots of windows. For night weddings, make sure that the location is not too dim. Make sure that the lighting at the entryways and dining areas can be controlled. For a night wedding outdoors, you may determine whether setting up candles is possible.

Again, go to the venue and perform an inspection at the same time when it is your turn to use it. You will get to see how the sunlight streams through the windows to the floor. Candlelight is romantic, but this may not be enough during the evening.

Certainly, you can always ask the owner about the available lighting fixtures that you can use on your wedding day and whether these are inclusive of the fee or not.

Acoustics

During an event, you may try to inspect the sound quality of the setting. Ensure that it is not too echoey because it can let out weird reverbs when the band is playing. Also, it would be difficult for your guest to hear other people when they talk with this tool.

On the contrary, you can choose to tailor the music based on the acoustic conditions of the venue. Remember that wood or tile floors amplify the sounds while thick carpets muffle them. Thus, if you opt for a small venue, you may choose a combo instead of an orchestra.

View

It’s always a plus to choose venues that offer a stunning view of the city skyline, lush greeneries, waves, etc. Nonetheless, if there are no views per se, perhaps the venue décors will do its architectural details, artworks on the walls, period furniture pieces or crystal chandeliers.

Whatever it may be, the details can make the extra venue special. Not to mention, they can preoccupy the guests while waiting for the program to start. They are also great conversation pieces to break the ice between strangers.

Outlets

Perform a thorough inspection of the venue to determine if it has enough outlets to plug things that need plugging in. This is especially true if your chosen venue doesn’t regularly host a wedding. Take note of the exact places of the outlets.

If there aren’t enough outlets against your needs for them, make sure that the venue has several extension cords.

Parking

Most venues today have ample parking with uniformed security personnel. Nevertheless, if there aren’t any evident parking spaces, ensure an empty street where guests can park legally.

Alternatively, you may organize activities, so everyone can get to the party without worrying too much about parking, such as shuttle vans or buses. Carpooling is another good option.

You can always go the other way around, such as choosing a reception first before deciding for other wedding essentials like your guest list or choosing the venue before deciding for a wedding date so you’d ensure that the place is all yours. Whichever you choose, keep these helpful tips in mind when selecting the perfect venue.

Things to consider

Aside from choosing a venue that suits your wedding’s vision, several other things can make a difference when choosing the perfect wedding day spot.

Lighting

Make sure your venue has ample lighting for each stage of your wedding day. Of course, you want your photographer able to capture all the critical moments. If there isn’t enough lighting, ask the venue if they provide it or if you’d need to rent equipment separately.

On-site coordination

Many venues offer a coordinator dedicated to your event. This can help you know the ins and outs of your venue, especially if someone needs something quickly or for vendors with questions that you won’t have to deal with. Be mindful that a venue coordinator is not your wedding planner.

Vendor restrictions

Ask if your venue has a “preferred” list of vendors or if you can use any vendor you like. If you must use preferred vendors, ask if there is a discount. Similarly, ask if there is a fee for choosing vendors outside the venue’s vetted list. Finally, if a particular vendor you have your eye on, you’ll want to know if you can hire them to work for your wedding at the venue you choose.

Catering options

If your venue offers in-house catering, ask if you can taste it before you choose the menu. If you opt-out of in-house catering, ask if restrictions on certain foods the venue will allow.

Exclusivity

Will your wedding be the only event hosted at the venue that day? If not, you will need to ensure your guests know where and when to find your wedding, so nobody gets lost. Having more than one event at your venue could also tie up photo spots depending on scheduling the day.

Extend the celebration

Many couples are choosing to make their big day even bigger. Especially if you’re welcoming many guests from far away, a weekend of celebrating makes the event last longer and seem even more special.

Think a welcome dinner for out of town guests, the rehearsal dinner for the wedding party, the reception and even a brunch or gift-opening lunch after the wedding day. If you’re leaning toward hosting a more significant celebration, a venue may give you a discount or package deal for booking multiple events with them.

Ask for a breakdown of costs.

An easy way to narrow down your list of venue options is to see what fits your budget. The venue eats up a good portion of your wedding budget, so knowing what you can spend.

Try not to have your heart set on any venues that are outside of your budget. It’s easy to fall in love with a venue, but if it’s too expensive or doesn’t have the services you need, you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment. That being said, if you’re 100% decided on a particular venue, you must be prepared to compromise in other areas to make your dream wedding a reality.

Ask the venue coordinator for a breakdown of all of the costs associated with hosting a wedding there. Many venues don’t have pricing information on their websites as an incentive for you to contact them. After a call or email, they may provide basic package pricing for you, but it won’t be a complete list of all charges. It’s essential to ask some in-depth pricing questions to ensure a venue truly fits into your wedding budget.

Choosing Between Two Wedding Venues?

If you have narrowed it down, you are shortlisted and are torn between two venues. Then you may want to step back and look at other factors, reviews, attention to detail and ultimately, who do you feel would go that extra mile to make sure your wedding day is perfect. Go with your gut. You can’t be more honest than that. So go with your gut and follow your heart!

Dream up the Ways That You Are Going to Make it Your Own

So, you have chosen your wedding venue, you know exactly where it will be held, and you know the date. Now comes the fun of thinking of all the ways you will decorate, design and theme the space to ensure that it reflects you both as a couple. Of course, the overall ambience, atmosphere and vibe of your big day are going to come from the venue in its basic form. However, there are also likely to be plenty of things that you can do to further your own and create the perfect setting for the wedding of your dreams.

Floristry, wedding day stationery, additional lighting, photo booths, artisan mobile catering, neon lights options are abundant when it comes to decorating & styling your wedding venue.

Don’t be pressured into choosing the first venue you tour, and don’t sign a contract until you’re sure you’ve found the right place. However, keep in mind that your date is not secured until you’ve signed an agreement.

Bonus Tip: If you’re given a top-level view of the costs, ask for a detailed, itemized list. This will help you find out if there are any extra fees you may not have budgeted for.

There are many things to consider when choosing a wedding venue, but chances are you’ll know when you walk in if it’s right for you. Once the venue is set, the real fun begins!

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