Congratulations! You’re engaged! You’ve met the man or woman of your dreams, dated for a while, and are starting to plan — gulp! — your dream wedding.
More than 2 million couples get married every year in the United States, and the average wedding has a million little details. If you’re ready to plan the perfect wedding, you’ll have to start by finding the perfect venue.
If you’re wondering how to choose a wedding venue, this article’s for you. We’ll give you pro tips on how to choose a wedding and reception location and help you get a head start on your to-do list.
Location, Location, Location!
If you’re at a complete loss as to how to find a wedding venue, the internet is going to be your best friend. You can take virtual tours and check out images from other weddings and receptions.
The first step toward narrowing down your venue options is to imagine yourself getting married. Are you with a small group of friends and family? Or do you see hundreds of smiling faces?
Would you like to get married in your hometown, in the middle of a big city, or on a tropical beach? Or would you like to “chuck it all,” take an RV out to the middle of the desert, and get married underneath the stars?
In general, you should start planning your wedding one year in advance. Even if you’re not going to have a destination wedding, you’ll want to give your guests enough time to book their hotel rooms and invest in their outfits.
When you start to contact venues, you may be able to find a better price if you get married on a weekday or in the fall or winter.
Finding the Perfect Theme
Finding a wedding venue will become easier once you have an idea of the size you’re looking for. The next step is to think about what kind of theme you’d like to have.
If you want a modern-yet-classic theme, you might consider having your reception in an art museum or theater setting. You wouldn’t have to worry about decorating in an art museum, and you know that it’ll be a memorable night.
Looking for more of a rustic setting? You could have your ceremony in a beautiful park or at a vineyard. If you’re planning to have your wedding and reception outdoors, just make sure you’ve got an indoor backup in case it rains.
When you think of yourself and your partner, what comes to mind? You could do a romantic fantasy theme complete with roses and lace, or you could do a goth wedding with a black cake.
As far as your theme goes, the only limit is your imagination. You can get more info here about planning the perfect wedding.
To Cater or Not to Cater?
Whether you hire a wedding planner or not is up to you, but they’ll be able to contact venues on your behalf. If you do hire a planner, make sure that they’re asking all of the important questions about catering and logistics.
For example, are you required to use their in-house catering and alcohol service? If you bring your own liquor or have staff cut the cake, will there be extra fees?
The same thing goes with the catering: will you be forced to use your venue’s catering services? That might not be a bad thing. Make sure to ask for a tasting menu before you make your decision.
Along those same lines, you’ll need to make sure that your venue can accommodate guests with mobility issues, vision issues, or other disabilities.
If you’re having your reception at a hotel, make sure to inquire as to the parking situation. Will there be a shuttle from the hotel to the venue?
The details are endless, which is why hiring a planner is at the top of our wedding venue tips list.
Taking Tours of Your Top Three Venues
Before you finalize dates and location for wedding receptions, you should take a tour of your top three picks. A good venue will always respond to your phone calls and emails in a reasonable time frame.
They will also provide you with a contact person to make your experience as pleasant and stress-free as possible.
If you can, bring your wedding planner, partner, and family with you on the tour. You’ll know when you’ve found the right place and you can go ahead and reserve a date.
Before you sign your contract, talk to your venue’s point person about their cancellation policies due to inclement weather. What is their backup plan in case the power goes out or your ceremony gets rained out?
When you’re taking your venue tours, try to take a few pictures with your phone. You should book a tour for the same time of day as your ceremony will be, just to get a sense of the light and backdrops.
The sooner you can sign a contract, the sooner you can get those invitations in the mail!
How to Choose a Wedding Venue for a Destination Wedding
If you’re planning on a destination wedding, you might be wondering how to choose a wedding venue from half a world away. If you can, try to pick a venue that you’ve visited before.
You might have a favorite hotel from a trip to Europe, or you might have the perfect beach in mind from that business trip to Abu Dhabi. In general, international venues can accommodate weddings and receptions.
Make sure to find out if there are any local taxes or permits that you should be aware of. A wedding planner is a blessing when you have to coordinate destination weddings.
There’s one pro tip that nobody knows about weddings. When you start planning your wedding, book an appointment with your family dentist and start getting work done as soon as possible.
You want to make sure that your teeth look great for your wedding, no matter which venue you end up choosing.
We have a wide range of health and lifestyle articles. Come check us out!