Know Before You Go: A Wedding Planner’s Guide to Choosing the Perfect Wedding Venue 

Photo by Aaron Watson Photography

Okay, so as you know planning a wedding leaves you with plenty of stuff to think about…dresses, flowers, your bridal party and so many other things that you probably don’t even realize yet.  However, there is one decision that takes the cake…choosing your wedding venue.  This aspect of wedding planning should never be underestimated and should definitely be one of high priority. 

So here is the deal, the location you choose is instrumental to the rest of your wedding. The venue will help set the tone for your day; so whether you are searching for a stunning barn, envisioning an elegant ballroom or longing for an intimate celebration in a cozy restaurant, finding the perfect venue is not an easy task and should never be done in haste. Take your time as you would with any big decision, the more research and time you dedicate to this choice, the more rewarding the outcome. To get you started on this exciting journey, we put together some things to consider before planning your first tour. 

The Budget 

Did I just take the wind out of your sails? No one wants to think about budget, but unfortunately there is very little that is more important than establishing one. We suggest figuring out a realistic budget before you embark on this epic wedding planning challenge. Although it doesn’t sound like much fun, it is best to know ahead of time what you can spend and determine how you are splitting that money up between all of the different elements of a wedding day. 

The Guest List 

This is another daunting task, but in order to avoid the heartache of finding out the venue you absolutely fell in love with cannot accommodate your guest count, this must be done early on. Knowing whether you are planning on having a huge banger or going for an intimate dinner party is vital in choosing the venue that can take you on. You don’t want to hear the venue doesn’t have the capacity to welcome your guest count months before your wedding day. On the contrary, you also don’t want your beautiful intimate affair to be swallowed up in a huge room. 

The Area 

The location of your wedding is entirely up to you as a couple. Perhaps you plan on taking the traditional route and hosting your wedding in the bride’s hometown, or you wish to show off the city you and your fiance fell in love with or plan on jet setting to a tropical locale for a destination wedding with your closest family and friends. Wherever you plan to wed your true love, make sure you get to know the area.  PLANNER’S TIP: If you have a lot of out of towners, look for a venue that is attached to a hotel or at least has one close by. 

Your Style 

Seeking out a venue that aligns with your aesthetic is significant. It may be tricky to have a beach wedding on the slopes of Aspen, Colorado…but then again anything is possible. There are so many places to say “I do” so do your research and understand your vision, you can find venues by the sea, at the top of a mountain, on a yacht or in the middle of a dessert…and that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Choosing a venue that fits with and enhances your style enables your wedding to feel more connected with the space. 

Your Date of  Choice 

Venue availability needs to be a major priority if you are set on a specific date for any reason. Often,  the “desired dates” are booked two to three years in advance. Throw in all the COVID weddings that are being rescheduled and wedding dates and venues are in high demand (more so than ever before).  So be realistic when it comes to your wedding date and maybe even sprinkle in a little bit of flexibility…it will benefit you in the long run. 

Stay True to Yourselves 

There is nothing more important than staying true to who you are as a couple. We know how easy it is to fall down the rabbit hole we call Pinterest.  And while we love some “pin-spiraton”, we know how easy it is to  end up over the top, over your budget with a wedding day that looks nothing like your original vision. Identify your must haves and stick with them, don’t forgo something important because your venue can’t accommodate it…there are always other options.  Your wedding day should be void of any “what if’s”.  Ask yourselves what feels authentic to you as a couple and choose a space and design that represents who you are. 

While each and every wedding related decision plays an integral part in crafting your big day, there are a few choices that make a bigger impact than others. Your venue has the ability to set your wedding’s tone. So when it comes time to go on a tour, think of the venue as a blank canvas that will become the basis of your design style.  Happy touring!