Choosing your wedding venue is one of the most important decisions you’ll make throughout the wedding planning process—if not the most important! Your venue will define the aesthetic of your wedding day, the flow of events, and so much more. That’s why it’s so important to do careful research and take your time to decide. The last thing you want is to end up regretting the choice you made!
However, if you’re unfamiliar with the wedding industry (like most newly engaged couples), you may not know where to start. As planners with a decade of industry experience, we’ve helped dozens of couples through this process. We’ve got all of the tips you need to make the right choice, and today, we’re sharing them with you!
Choose a Season
The first thing you should discuss with your partner is the season you’d like to get married. If it’s your dream to have an outdoor ceremony, a summer wedding is ideal, but late spring or early fall can also work. Conversely, if you want a cozy indoor wedding, winter might be the season for you. Every season will bring a slightly different vibe to your wedding day, so think each option over carefully.
Keep in mind that an outdoor wedding always requires a plan B in case of poor weather. And, you should be just as excited about your plan B as you are about your plan A. That way, you can avoid disappointment no matter what Mother Nature throws at you!
Local or Destination Wedding?
Once you’ve agreed to a season, it’s time to discuss whether you’d prefer a local or destination wedding. If you decide to get married outside your country or city of residence, know that your celebration will most likely be lengthened into a weekend of festivities as opposed to one day. Because your guests will also be traveling, it’s courteous to invite them to at least one other event over the wedding weekend, such as a welcome dinner or morning-after brunch. We’re big fans of these events! But it’s important to assess your budget first to see if it will cover a second or third event in addition to the wedding day.
Create a Guest List
Before you start looking into venues, have your guest list ready. All venues have a maximum capacity, but some will be able to accommodate much more than others. You don’t want to waste time looking at intimate venues if you’re planning a big party with 200+ people, and vice versa.
Most venues have a set time that they require you to stop playing music/making noise and start cleaning up. So, if you’re a late-night partier who loves to dance, you don’t want to end up with a 10 p.m. curfew! Instead, try to find a venue that allows music and dancing until after 2 a.m. We promise they exist!
In all of the excitement of choosing your wedding venue, don’t forget to consider your guests. It’s important to map out their journey to your wedding. If a venue is only accessible by car, you’ll need to provide (and budget for) a shuttle service. Or if a venue is only accessible by boat, you’ll need a water taxi.
By the same token, some venues are rather remote. If you fall in love with a venue that’s more than two hours away from the nearest airport, it may be just a bit too far for your guests. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what you would appreciate as a guest. That way, you can ensure that your loved ones have a great experience attending your wedding!
Inspect the Food and Beverage Policy
If you and your partner are foodies who want to make great cuisine the focal point of your wedding, be sure to find a venue that allows you to bring in a caterer of your choosing. Certain venues require you to use their catering and bartending services, which can be great in terms of convenience but may not be up to your standards. Others will have astronomical cork fees but lack wines you enjoy. So, it’s best to stick with venues that allow you to take a DIY approach!
Browse the Furniture
While you’re touring a venue, take note of the furniture on-site, especially in the reception space. If it’s beautiful, you won’t have to rent any furniture and can put that money towards something else! But if it isn’t to your taste, make sure that the venue has enough space to store it so that there’s room to bring in rentals.
If your wedding won’t take place in the city, find out if there’s sufficient lodging near your venue to accommodate your out-of-town guests. If all of your guests have to drive for an hour in the middle of nowhere to reach their hotel, the atmosphere of your wedding probably won’t be up to your expectations. No one will be able to stay late or have an extra glass of champagne!
If your dream venue doesn’t fit this criterion, it isn’t the end of the world. But, you’ll need to allocate a portion of your budget to hire a shuttle service. The comfort of your guests is key!
Consider an At-Home Wedding
If you own a private estate, there’s really no need to look at wedding venues unless you want to! We absolutely love planning backyard weddings, and a sailcloth tent provides all the shelter you need while also looking gorgeous. What’s more, your wedding will be extra unique if it takes place at your home. After all, no one else has gotten married there!
Get Help From the Pros
Even with these tips in your back pocket, we know that choosing your wedding venue can be overwhelming. Pair that with all of the components that go into planning and designing a wedding day (or weekend!), and it’s a recipe for major stress. We know—that’s why we’re in this business!
At Weddings by Loukia, we want to help you create the wedding of your dreams: all the way from choosing a venue to the day you walk down the aisle. With the assurance of our professional experience and attention to detail, you’ll have the freedom to sit back, relax, and party like a guest at your own wedding! Interested? Connect with us today!