Welcome to the awesome adventure of planning your dream wedding! I totally get that this is a big deal. When it comes to choosing a wedding venue, it can be a total game-changer. Your venue will gobble up almost half of your total wedding budget! It’s also going to set the scene for your epic celebration and be the place where all those unforgettable memories are made. Embarking on the journey of choosing a wedding venue is a thrilling adventure, yet, it also brings many challenges. Fear not! In this blog, I’ll unravel the secrets to success in choosing a wedding venue, offering tips and insights to help you sidestep those unexpected obstacles and ensure your wedding day unfolds seamlessly, just the way you’ve always envisioned.
Plus, to kickstart your planning journey, I’ve got a free checklist template that will guide you in overcoming potential hurdles from the get-go, putting all the necessary pieces in place for a stress-free and joyful celebration. Let’s turn those “uh-ohs” into “I do’s” without a hitch!
1. Nail Down The Important Stuff
Before diving into the thrilling world of wedding venue hunting, it’s crucial to set the stage by unleashing your imagination, addressing priorities, managing your budget, and ensuring your favorite people will be there to celebrate with you.
Define your Wedding Style
First things first, let’s talk style! Your wedding is all about you, and it should reflect your personalities. Are you all about the glitz and glamour, or do you lean towards rustic, boho, or minimalist vibes? Maybe you’ve got a killer theme in mind? Your style sets the mood for your big day, so find it, embrace it and let it shine! . If you are clear about the overall vibe of your wedding, choosing a venue to fit that vibe will be a lot easier.
Identify your Priorities and Budget
We all know that weddings can be wallet-shrinkers, so it’s crucial to get your priorities straight from the get-go. What’s non-negotiable, and what can you compromise on? In the world of weddings, the venue often takes center stage and usually claims around 35% to 40% of your precious budget allocation. However, the exact percentage can swing one way or the other, largely depending on whether your chosen venue includes furniture, decor, catering, and alcohol services. Not sure what your budget looks like yet? Go to MoneyHub’s Wedding Budget Calculator tool to get started.
Consider the Guest List and Logistics
Your wedding isn’t a one-person show; it’s a grand production starring your nearest and dearest. So, before you set your heart on a venue, take a moment to consider your guest list. Are you leaning towards an intimate get-together, a Coachella-style celebration, or something in between? It’s the perfect time to curate your VIP list, and let’s not forget about the nitty-gritty logistics – like how they’ll get there, where they’ll rest their heads, and what’s the game plan for Grandad’s mobility scooter (just kidding, but you catch my drift).
2. Indoor vs. Outdoor Wedding Venues
You’re smack dab in the middle of your wedding planning whirlwind, and the first big choice is this: indoor or outdoor?
Choosing to celebrate indoors means giving Mother Nature a firm “Not today!”. No need to fret about a sudden downpour or blazing sun – your wedding remains the star of the show, undisturbed by the elements. Beyond weather reliability, indoor venues offer a plethora of advantages, notably in terms of intimacy and uniqueness. These spaces provide a private and secluded setting, perfect for couples who prefer a more personal celebration away from potential onlookers or distractions.
Moreover, the variety of indoor venues goes beyond the conventional, offering a treasure trove of unique spaces such as art galleries, warehouses, or repurposed factories. These can add a touch of individuality to your celebration, allowing you to think outside the box and craft a wedding experience that truly reflects your personality and style.
But that’s not all – let’s talk amenities. Indoor venues often come with a range of facilities that enhance the overall wedding experience. Imagine the convenience of built-in sound systems, climate control for comfort, and top-notch catering facilities at your fingertips. These amenities not only streamline the planning process but also contribute to the overall vibe of the event. Having access to these facilities ensures that your wedding day is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, making it a seamless and unforgettable experience from start to finish.
Things to Consider
When diving into the realm of indoor venues, it’s essential to consider the lighting vibes you’re aiming for. Some spaces might need an extra dose of glow to set the mood just right – think of it as curating your own cozy Instagram filter for that perfect wedding snapshot. Talk to your photographer about how to create the best indoor lighting for your chosen venue.
Before unleashing your inner Pinterest diva, make sure your creative genius aligns with the venue rulebook. Understanding and adhering to their guidelines ensures that your vision seamlessly integrates into the venue’s atmosphere.
Now, let’s talk about the auditory aspects. Some indoor venues come with sneaky sound restrictions, so before you pump up the volume, check and follow the rules to ensure your tunes don’t cause any unexpected drama. Additionally, consider the acoustic quality of the space. Indoor venues, with their potential echo challenges, might require a bit of acoustic magic to ensure your heartfelt “I dos” and those epic speeches aren’t lost in an echo chamber.
Finally, be mindful of the rapid turnaround that often comes with indoor venues. Many have strict one-day hire limits, turning your celebration into a wedding race against the clock. While this might add a sense of urgency, it’s essential to plan efficiently to create the magical atmosphere you envision within the time constraints.
Outdoor venues are like nature’s ultimate Instagram backdrop – think mountains, beaches, and vineyards turning your wedding into a total visual feast. And guess what? No more squeezing into tight seats! Outdoor spaces let your guests spread out, making it all about the good vibes.
Now, picture this: Your wedding, your rules. Outdoor spots are like a blank canvas for your dream celebration – whether it’s a chill rustic vibe or a full-on boho beach bash, it’s all up to you.
Feeling the sand between your toes during a beach ceremony or saying your vows under a canopy of trees adds this cool, authentic touch. And let’s not forget the best part – outdoor weddings get the sickest natural lighting, thanks to the sun – or the clouds! It’s like having an instant Instagram filter making your day look even more epic!
Key Things to Consider
So, you’re thinking of diving into the outdoor wedding scene, huh? Brace yourself for Mother Nature’s whims because, let’s face it, she can be a bit unpredictable. Have a Plan B locked and loaded – think marquee or an indoor backup – ready to roll for any unexpected weather twists, whether it’s a sudden summer downpour or a scorching heatwave. Flexibility is key in this game of weather roulette.
Now, onto the comfort game. If your outdoor haven doesn’t boast proper restrooms, elevate the game with high-quality restroom trailers. Trust me; it’s a game-changer for your guests’ comfort and your peace of mind. Also remember that outdoor spots might demand special permissions or a nod to local regulations on parking, noise, and booze. Quick tip: check in with the local council; they’ve got the lowdown.
Accessibility is no joke either. Your chosen spot needs to be a breeze for everyone, especially those with mobility considerations. Whether it’s pathways or seating setups, make it easy for your squad to roll in. And don’t forget your vendors; they need a stress-free entrance too.
Finally, let’s talk sound vibes. Outdoor spaces might need a boost in the audio department to make sure every word of those epic speeches and every beat of the music is crystal clear. Oh, and before you get lost in the dream, remember the extras. Outdoor venues love their add-ons – chairs, tables, lighting, even a dance floor. Don’t let these sneak up on you; budget smart, and keep the vibe going strong.
The indoor vs. outdoor venue choice boils down to your style, your vision, and your readiness to tackle their quirks. Both have their unique charm, and the key to choosing a wedding venue is picking one that aligns with your vision. So, whether you’re leaning towards indoor glamour or an outdoor adventure, make your choice, own it, and get ready for a wedding day filled with joy!
3. Location, Location, Location!
Alright, let’s get into the essential aspects of location. Choosing a wedding venue for your big day goes beyond aesthetics and space. Here’s the lowdown on geographical allure, accessibility, and guest comforts.
Different locations offer unique scenery and cultural flavors. However, be mindful of travel distances and local regulations when choosing your venue. If you are thinking about a destination wedding, consider visa restrictions, language and cultural barriers and, of course, the challenges of organising a wedding from another country or city! Also, consider the local climate and weather conditions. Don’t rely on glossy brochures that always depict destinations in their finest glory! Speak to a local or someone who is familiar with the location before you pick your venue and date.
Accessibility and Transportation
Venues near major transportation hubs are a breeze for guests. But remember to plan for potential traffic and consider parking options for a smoother experience. You may consider adding guest transportation to your planning and provide buses or shuttles to make things easier for your guests. It is really important to think about transportation options at the end of your wedding celebration – taxis are not easily available in some small towns or rural areas!
Accommodations for Guests
Make it convenient for your guests by choosing a wedding venue with accommodations nearby and offering recommendations for local experiences. Also, consider room blocks and transportation options to ensure everyone has a comfortable and enjoyable stay during your celebration. Some accommodations will even provide group discounts if you ask… Maybe you want to opt for an off-grid celebration, consider providing unique accommodation for your guests in the form of yurts or glamping tents and fully embracing the outdoor adventure.
4. Let the Research Begin!
By this stage you should have a selected a handful of venues that you are interested in choosing from. Take a deeper dive into those venues. This step is all about thinking clearly, calmly and not rushing into your final decision. Make sure you get all the necessary information to make an informed decision. Consider hiring a Wedding Planner to help you through this stage.
Online Research and Reviews
So, your adventure begins with some good ol’ online research. Jump into the digital jungle of wedding websites, social media, and review platforms. Discover the scoop on the venues you’re eyeing, from real couples’ stories to snapshots of their magical days. This is also a good time to pick up the phone and call the venues you have on your radar. Ask questions about dates, budget etc over the phone. Eliminate any that don’t fit your criteria to speed up the process of choosing a wedding venue that fits you the best.
Venue Visits and Inspections
Now, here’s where the real fun kicks in – venue visits! Take a field trip to your top choices and let your imagination run wild. Snap pics, envision your setup, and make sure it matches your dream. It’s like trying on a wedding dress, but for your big day location!
Interview Venue Staff and Managers
Think of this as your chance to be the host of your own talk show. Sit down with venue staff and managers and fire away with questions. Get to know their quirks, policies, and how they can make your day extra special. It’s like casting the best supporting actors for your wedding movie. Don’t forget to download the Venue Checklist and use it! Leave no stone unturned and you won’t have any surprises later on.
Don’t forget about your trusty advisory council – friends and family! Reach out and seek their wisdom. They might have hidden gems or share tales of caution about venues they’ve crossed paths with. It’s like a wisdom treasure hunt. If you’ve already secured your photographer or videographer they are a fantastic source of advice about local venues. They can help give you the scoop on the quirks of various wedding venues. And always use a wedding planner when in doubt!
5. Book Your Wedding Venue
Congratulations on finding a wedding venue for your special day! Now that you’ve identified the ideal setting, the next crucial steps involve booking and securing the venue.
Reserve Your Chosen Date
The first and foremost step in securing your dream venue is to reserve your chosen date. Popular venues often get booked well in advance, so it’s essential to act swiftly. Contact the venue’s event coordinator or manager to confirm the availability of your preferred date. Be flexible if possible, as this can significantly increase your chances of securing the venue on a date that aligns with your vision.
Once you’ve chosen your date, find out how to officially book it. Most venues need a non-refundable deposit to make sure no one else grabs your spot. Make sure you fully understand the deposit details because they can differ between venues. It’s crucial to be crystal clear on this. I’ve had stories from couples who thought they had a venue booked, only to realize they hadn’t paid the deposit and secured it. It can be really tough to go through that kind of disappointment. So, make sure you’re clear on the deposit process to avoid any heartbreak.
Review and Sign Contracts
After successfully reserving your date, the next step is to review and sign the venue’s contract. Carefully read through the contract to ensure you understand all the details, including rental fees, cancellation policies, and any restrictions or guidelines set by the venue.
If there are any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the venue’s representative for clarification. It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the expectations on both sides to avoid any misunderstandings later on.
Payment Plans and Deposits
Understanding the payment structure is another key aspect of securing your dream venue. In addition to the initial deposit, inquire about the venue’s payment plans. Some venues may require a series of payments leading up to the event, while others may have a more flexible approach. Clarify the due dates for each payment and ensure they align with your budget and financial planning.
And there you have it, wedding warriors – you’ve conquered the venue selection quest! From considering your style, budget, and guest list to diving into the nitty-gritty of location, accessibility, and the unique quirks of each venue, you’ve navigated it all. Remember, it’s not just a place; it’s where your love story takes center stage.
And hey, we’ve got your back on this journey! Don’t forget to snag our downloadable Venue Checklist – your trusty sidekick in the wedding planning adventure. It’s got all the questions you need to ask, considerations to ponder, and details to double-check. Let it be your wedding planning GPS.
And if uncertainty lingers, trust your instincts – for amidst the whirlwind of decisions, your intuition will guide you to the wedding day of your dreams. Be Brave, Be Bold and Enjoy the Greatest Adventure of Your Life!
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