Deciding on a wedding venue can be so hard! There are a million different factors to consider and it can be a challenge to compare the venues across the board. It is helpful if you already have your vision set and are able to connect with a venue when you visit it! Even though a venue may look perfect, I have a few things you should consider while on your hunt for the best wedding venue!
1.Decide on an overall Wedding Budget for the best wedding venue
The best wedding venue will be a huge chunk of your budget! Just to have space can cost thousands of dollars before even selecting all of the things to fill the space. It is important to know your overall budget because some venues will require a food and beverage minimum if they have in-house caters. If you don’t know how much you plan on spending in those areas, you won’t know if that venue is out of your budget. This was a really important tip from my wedding planner. I have a post here on why you should hire one if it’s in the budget
2. Choose the City
I’m sure you’re thinking “Duh girl, of course, I know where I want to get married” but what I mean is consider the search parameters. For example, parents live in Durham, NC but we looked at venues in Durham, Raleigh, Cary, and Morrisville. These are all surrounding cities within 20-30 minutes of each other but we didn’t limit our search to just Durham or Raleigh. You’ll also want to think about how convenient the city will be for your guests. Do you have a lot of out of town guests? Will your venue be easy to access from the airport? These along, with hotel options for guests is important to consider.
3.Know your estimated guest count
Knowing your guest count can help to narrow down options. If you’re planning on having 300 guests, that will limit your options to only larger venues that can hold that capacity.
4.Decide on a theme or general vibe you’re going for
What is your wedding vision? When you think about getting married, what does the best wedding venue look like? Do you want something super glam and elegant? I personally like a more modern industrial look for wedding venues. This narrowed my options from the beginning because I already knew I wasn’t going to be looking at golf courses or ballrooms.
5.Consider Whether you want an indoor or outdoor event
Per my Fiancé’s vote, an outdoor wedding was never an option for us lol. But if that is what you’re into, you’ll have to know if your venue options have the ability to accommodate a ceremony, cocktail hour, or reception outside. Something else to consider, if you want everything to be inside is how can you flip the space and set up for the different parts of your wedding day.
6.Decide whether Both the Ceremony and reception will be there
Whether you want to get married offsite or having both the ceremony and reception in one place is something you will need to decide. Maybe you want to make it convenient for your guests to have everything in one place, or maybe you’ve always dreamed of getting married in your childhood church and having the reception elsewhere. The choice is totally up to you, but you should think about it before going to look at venues. Something else to consider is where you will be getting ready—Some venues offer bridal/groom suites which can be really convenient.
7.Consider accessibility and Parking
No one likes a bad parking situation, especially if you’re having a large wedding! Some venues have valet options which can be a really nice perk for your guests. The best wedding venue for you will be one that is fully accessible.
8.Review what is included in the venue price
This goes back to knowing your budget. Review the list of items or services that are included with the venue price. Each venue includes different items and it can get challenging to compare the venues across the board. Some venues may include a day of coordinator, linens, chairs or certain decorations. Other places may just give you a price to use the space. Make sure you ask all the questions while you’re there or jot down any as they come up to email the contact person after the tour. I found a great list of questions on this blog here.
9.Consider if only ‘preferred vendors’ are allowed
If you planned on having your Aunt make your favorite cake for your wedding cake and the venue is strict on their preferred vendor list you’re just gonna have to save her cake for the after party and go with venue’s options lol. Some vendors might only restrict the vendors for catering and bar services but some may also limit it for any event rentals such as linens or chairs. It is important to know which outside vendors the venue will allow.
10.Think about prep kitchens and outlets
You will want to make sure the venue you select has good outlet options for the DJ. Any additional lighting or a Photo Booth may also need outlets. It is also essential to at least have prep or full kitchen for your caterers to prepare your food. You want everything to be as easy as possible for caters. They shouldn’t have anything to worry about except providing you with excellent service!
We all know that lighting is the major key to great photography! You will want to make sure you can get the best pictures (photographers cost a lot of $$) on your wedding day. It will be nice for you to have options for taking pictures outside as well if you would like.
What’s your wedding style? What kind of venue do you think is the best wedding venue? Minimal, glam, fairytale, industrial?