Did you know that the average bride takes 13 to 18 months to plan her wedding? Considering everything that goes into wedding planning, that doesn’t leave much time to complete your wedding venue search!
Your venue will be one of the first steps that you take in wedding planning because it sets the stage for so many other aspects. Without a venue, you can’t have a wedding!
Narrowing Down Your Wedding Venue Search
Even while knowing that it’s crucial to find your perfect wedding venue early on, it can still be challenging to start the process. Here are our eight tips to narrow down your wedding venue search. Hopefully, these tips help make the process a little bit easier!
There’s one step that you need to take before you can even think about a wedding venue. Your budget. Your wedding budget sets the stage for everything. Without it, you can’t start planning your wedding.
One of the worst things that could happen during your wedding venue search is to find a venue, fall in love with it, and realize that you can’t afford it. Going along with that, you shouldn’t let your venue take up too much of your budget. You might find that you don’t have enough money left to fill other priorities, such as catering, alcohol, or decorations. Those things can all add up!
One aspect that you might want to consider is whether or not your venue offers rentals. If not, then you need to make sure that there’s going to be enough left in your budget for any rentals that you may need.
Another thing you’ll want to consider is whether or not the venue provides catering and alcohol. If they do, that’s great! You’ll be able to merge your catering budget with your venue budget. If they don’t, consider that food and beverage is another large chunk of your wedding budget.
Plus, you’ll want to consider whether or not your venue offers parking. If the venue requires guests to be brought in a shuttle, then keep in mind that your transportation costs will increase. Your venue could also require valet if parking is tight. That’s another cost to you.
Guest List & Guest Size
Once you have a budget figured out, it’s a good idea to create a draft guest list. When you’re looking at venues, you need to make sure that they will be able to cater to your guest size!
This way, you’ll be able to eliminate venues that are simply too small. You’ll also be able to eliminate venues that are too big! You don’t want your venue to be too spacious for the number of guests that you have and feel empty.
By figuring out your guest count, you can ensure that your budget fits the cost-per-person. The number of guests at a wedding has an impact on so many things, including meals, beverages, rentals, place cards, and more.
Location, Location, Location
The next thing you’ll want to think about is the general location that you want your wedding to be at. Do you want it to be in your hometown? Your current city? A destination wedding on a tropical island or up in the mountains?
This is a crucial step to beginning the wedding venue search because you can’t begin researching until you know where you want to get married.
If you’re choosing to get married locally, you’ll want to choose a location that will be convenient for both you and your guests. If you’re planning a destination wedding, you should start narrowing the search by choosing a single region, country, or type of destination.
If you’re open to a variety of wedding styles or themes, then you don’t necessarily have to worry about this step. However, if you have a specific style in mind, then you’ll want to consider that when you’re doing your wedding venue research.
It’s better to work with the style of your wedding rather than try to turn the venue into something that it’s not. For example, if you’re dreaming of a rustic wedding, then you’ll want to look at barn venues rather than industrial venues. If you want a modern wedding, then you might want to steer clear of historical and ornate venues.
If budget isn’t a concern at all, then the sky’s the limit. But in most cases, budget is a factor.
Before beginning the wedding venue search, you should make a list of any special requirements that you consider must-haves for your wedding venue. This will be personal to each couple, but they may include:
- An outdoor ceremony site
- Rain plans
- ADA considerations
- Curfew limitations
- Onsite accommodations
- The ability to work with outside catering
- Religious restrictions
- & more!
Once you have this list, you can begin to eliminate venues that don’t fit your needs.
Once you have some concrete ideas of what you want in your wedding venue, you can start doing your research. There are a few ways that you can go about this.
Another option is to ask your family and friends for personal referrals of wedding venues. Whether they recently got married or have been a guest at a local wedding, they are likely to know some venues nearby that fit your personality.
Finally, you can do some online research yourself. Google, The Knot, and WeddingWire are going to be your new best friends! Make sure to look at the venue’s website, reviews, and photos from past weddings.
Once you have a few venues in mind that you want to take a look at, you’ll want to start contacting them to figure out what their availability is like. Most venues start to book up a year or more in advance. The sooner you reach out, the better!
Email or call these venues to see what they have available. Don’t be afraid to tell them what your budget looks like! Letting them know your budget upfront can help save both of you a lot of time.
Now that you have some venues that you want to look at and know what their availability is like, it’s time to schedule some visits! If possible, try to tour them in the same season that your wedding will be in. If that’s not possible, ask them if you can see some photos of the venue from that season.
Another crucial thing that you should do while touring a venue is to ask questions and take notes. Don’t be afraid to show up with a notebook of questions and write down their answers! Depending on how many venues you’re touring, you will get them confused with each other if you don’t write anything down.
Some sample questions to ask are:
- How much is the rental fee? What is included?
- How many hours will we have the venue for? Are we able to stay longer if we pay extra?
- How much is the deposit? When is it due? Is it refundable?
- Are there spaces to get ready?
- What is the cancellation policy?
- Can we bring our own decorations?
- Do you have liability insurance?
If you’re looking for more questions to ask, this article is an excellent reference to go off of.
What to Keep in Mind
Keep in mind that hiring a wedding planner can relieve so much of your stress. Choosing a full-service planning package can help keep you on track every step of the way!
Even if you don’t have the budget for a full-service planner, hiring a month-of coordinator can be a huge stress reliever… Especially towards the end fo the planning and so you can fully enjoy your day!
Featured Image: Alysia & Jayson Photography