Reading this, there’s a high probability that you’re engaged or soon-to-be. Either way, congratulations! You’ve relished your new engagement and now it’s crunch time aka wedding planning. A task that can seem so daunting at times, but it excites you at the same time. The number one question though is, where do we start? Don’t get carried away just yet booking your wedding vendors *cough cough* your wedding photographer.
No, first things first you want to make sure you know the where. Aka you need to know which wedding venue you’re getting married at before anything else. However, this isn’t a claw machine where you let go of the clamp and hope to win your prize. Knowing how to pick your dream wedding venue takes time and commitment but in the end, is completely worth it.
How to Pick Your Dream Wedding Venue
Everyone’s criteria that they follow when it comes to choosing a wedding venue is different and that’s totally fine! You may want some things while other couples may want others. However, rest assured that there is a wedding venue for any and every couple. All you have to do is know how to pick your dream wedding venue.
Establish Your Wedding Budget & Stick With It
One of, if not the most important thing you have to focus on when choosing your wedding venue is your wedding budget. It is really really easy to go overboard and want to go all out for your wedding. Those beautiful flowers, the stunning grand mansion that you can just “picture” your wedding in. All of those things, rack up major dollar bills. It’s easy to justify these expenses by saying things like “well I am only getting married once”, but I encourage you to think twice about this. Rather than racking those bills up, I suggest having your budget set in stone and leaving little to no wiggle room. Your budget sets the stage for the remainder of your wedding expenses, including your wedding venue. Knowing where you should splurge vs. save will save you from a ton of worry and save you some major coin.
If you’re having a larger wedding with a ton of guests, you need to have a wedding space that can accommodate that. This in turn could lead you to spend a bit more money on your venue. If you’re having a more intimate wedding, you could probably get away with spending less on your venue since you might not need all that capacity. Whichever the case may be, prepare your wedding budget ahead of time and know exactly what you’re willing to spend when it comes to your wedding venue.
Determine The Number of Guests Attending
When choosing your dream wedding venue, it’s also important to keep in mind the number of guests who are attending. This number can be hard to predict since at this point you have no idea how many people will actually attend until you send out RSVPs. However, this is a good opportunity to make a list, check it twice, and determine the ideal guest list for your wedding.
Choosing a wedding venue that is the right size can be tricky, but so important for the overall comfort of you and your guests on the day of your wedding. You don’t want to choose a wedding venue that is too small, or else your guests will feel cramped and suffocated. If you choose a wedding venue that is too large, it can lead everyone to feel a bit lost. A lot of wedding venues will also let you know how many guests they allow in their space. This will help you in narrowing down your options!
So if a venue doesn’t fit your criteria for your wedding guests, on to the next!
Is That Wedding Venue Available?
It’s a known fact that there are busier seasons than others for weddings. Typically summer and fall are the most sought-after seasons. That means a lot of wedding vendors (photographers, planners, florists) and wedding venues will be booked out way in advance for this time of year. Depending on when you’re wanting to get married, this will also determine which wedding venues are available for your wedding date. Most likely you will find a lot of availability (and sometimes discounted rates) during the Winter and early Spring months. This may be a great option for couples who are looking to save a bit of money. It’s also good if you’re wanting to splurge on other expenses for your wedding.
Do You Have A Specific Look In Mind?
You should also know what type of look you’re going for on your wedding day. A better name for this is your “wedding theme”. Are you looking for something more minimal and bohemian or luxe and grand? That all plays a role in finding the perfect wedding venue. Some wedding venues offer the perfect look that will help achieve the wedding day you’ve always dreamed of. Make sure before you put that deposit down, that you are finding a wedding venue you can envision having your wedding.
Know The Amenities That They Offer
A little side note, you should also take into account the different amenities that wedding venues offer. Most wedding venues will offer different types of amenities, each one may be completely different. Some amenities to look out for when choosing your wedding venue are:
- Lighting Equipment Included
- Reception setup & breakdown/cleanup
- ADA Accessibility
- Free Parking
- Outdoor Tent Options
- DJ/Music Included
- On-site Getting Ready Spaces
There are a wide variety of amenities that wedding venues can offer. Each one may offer all of these amenities while others may not. When looking through a wedding venue’s amenities, make sure you determine what is a make or break in your eyes.
Do They Have Indoor and Outdoor Options?
Mother Nature has got to be our own worst enemy sometimes, seriously. It’s one of the many things that we can’t control and we have to end up rolling with the punches on the day of the wedding. However, a remedy to this worry is if your wedding venue offers indoor and outdoor options, especially for circumstances like this. If it starts raining on your wedding day, everything can be moved indoors for an indoor ceremony and reception. Having this option given to you by the wedding venue takes away a lot of the stress that you may have when it comes to how the weather will be on your wedding day.
The Wedding Guest Experience
You not only want your wedding venue to be everything you dreamed about, but you also want it to be an experience for your wedding guests. Some of your wedding guests may be flying out to witness this special moment, so it’s also important to think about how they will enjoy themselves on your big day. I’m not just talking about the day of your wedding and comfort, although that is important. You also should take into consideration how convenient it is to travel to your wedding venue. Is your wedding venue an hour or two away? Or is it right down the street? These are things you should be thinking about!
Also, if you’re planning of having a lot of out-of-state guests, you could consider choosing a wedding venue that has a hotel attached or nearby for ease of access. Some of these accommodations may not be something you think about right away but can make a huge impact on your overall wedding guest experience.
How Much Privacy Is There On Your Big Day?
Believe it or not, there are a lot of wedding venues that have more than one wedding happening on one day. I know, I know… shocker but totally true. If having privacy on your wedding day, meaning you’re the only wedding at the property for that day, is important to you then this is something you need to think about. A lot of couples want their wedding day to be private and not have to worry about mixing and mingling with another wedding at the same location. At whichever wedding venue you tour, ask them if they have more than one wedding on one day and what that looks like. Decide in your mind if this is a deal breaker for you or not. This will help weed out some wedding venues to make your search go a little easier.
Trust Your Judgment
Above all else though, you want to be able to trust your own judgment. You know when you can just sense something is right? Yeah, that kind of feeling. How does the wedding venue make you feel when you step onto the property? Do you feel empowered? Can you envision your wedding day being there? These are all questions you have to ask yourself to see if you can see yourself getting married there. While I’m not saying to disregard everything else we spoke about, I am saying to trust your gut. Deep down inside you know what’s right for you and your partner. It is really easy to be influenced by external factors (magazines, blogs, family members, etc). Just make sure that whichever wedding venue you decide, it’s what you really want and not what others want for you. Stay true to yourselves and everything will fall into place.
How To Pick Your Dream Wedding Venue
Hopefully, learning a few of these tips and tricks on how to pick your dream wedding venue will help make this search a bit easier. I’ve had the honor of being able to see some insanely beautiful wedding venues in my time as a wedding photographer. Below, I have linked just a few that have seriously stolen my heart.
Industrial Chicago Wedding at The Joinery
Edgy Chicago Wedding at Colvin House