Congratulations, you’re engaged! After you finish sharing the big news, you’ll probably start thinking about what to do next. One of the biggest hurdles will most likely be picking the location of your big day. There are so many options to choose from, and I know how tough this can be—I have been through it myself. So, to help you in the planning process, here’s a little advice:
Think about What Kind of Venue You Want
The first step is figuring out what matches your wedding size and theme. The venue will set the tone for the entire event! You could take the traditional route and find a hotel or ballroom. Most of these venues are well-versed in holding an event and have a staff to match. Maybe you want something more casual, like a barn or outdoor garden. With these options, you have more flexibility with decorations and style, which is great for the DIY bride. If you want something a little more unique, you could select a museum, rooftop or even a location in the woods. Once you know what you want, narrowing down the choices is not as difficult.
Decide What You Need from Your Venue
There are some questions you should ask yourself when exploring venue options.
- How many people do you need to accommodate? Large numbers need more space.
- What kind of parking do you need? If the reception venue is different than the ceremony site, parking is essential.
- What activities do you want to take place? How much space do you need for dancing, the DJ, a photo booth, etc.?
- What kind of lighting do you need or want? Certain outdoor locations may not have lighting.
- Do you want outdoor space? Consider the time of year and the weather.
- Do you need accommodations for your guests? Guests traveling from out of town will need a place to stay. Is this something you want your venue to provide?
- Do you need staff to work at your wedding? With a sit-down dinner, staff is needed to serve and clean up.
- Do they cater? What are the food options at the venue?
- Do you need accessibility for older guests or wheelchairs? Stairs are bad enough for a bride trying not to trip in her dress, but for those who need a little more attention, like older relatives, they can be more than just a challenge.
There are a lot of questions to ask, but they can help eliminate spaces that are not right for your celebration. Make sure you set aside plenty of time to find your perfect location!
Pay Attention to the Details
There are dozens of small details to account for when selecting your wedding venue. Bathrooms are a commonly overlooked necessity. Power is important for things like a DJ and lighting. All of these things play a big role in the success of your event. If you’re not sure where to start when looking for a venue, try searching for ones near you using a reputable venue finder.
Once you have found your perfect venue, don’t be too quick to sign over the check. Ask for a full breakdown of pricing. There are hidden fees in many cases with event licensing and insurance. You want to know exactly what you are paying for. Ask the event coordinator about cancellation fees or any other costs that could be incurred. Make sure you also have a point person to communicate with when you have questions because, trust me, you will.
There are many factors that go into wedding planning but once you have the venue nailed down, the rest will begin to fall into place. Good luck on the search!