Choosing the perfect wedding venue is one of the most important decisions that couples make when planning their big day. The venue sets the tone for the entire wedding, and it's where memories will be made that will last a lifetime. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to select the right one.
This article provides a comprehensive guide of 25 things to consider when choosing a wedding venue. From location and capacity to style and amenities, this guide will help couples navigate the process of selecting a wedding venue that meets their needs and creates a magical atmosphere for their special day.
1) When do you want to get married
First things, you’ll need to narrow down the location for your wedding. Are you envisioning a stylish inner-city wedding at a sleek modern venue? Or is a rustic winery venue in the country more your style? When you’ve decided on a specific location and theme for your wedding, you’ll be able to start your venue search.
There’s nothing more disappointing than finding what feels like your dream venue but then realizing later down the line that it doesn’t fit into your wedding budget. Think about how much you’re willing to spend on the entirety of your wedding and how much of that should be allocated to the venue specifically.
3) Size of your guest list
This one is a no-brainer. If you have a large family and a wide circle of friends, obviously an intimate venue with limited seating won’t be able to cater to your 180+ guest list.
4) Accommodation nearby for your wedding guests
If you’re planning on holding your reception somewhere a little further afield or if you have lots of guests coming from overseas or interstate, consider whether your venue has its own accommodation or if there are any hotels nearby for your guests to stay overnight.
5) Indoor and outdoor options
When it comes to weather, it’s a good idea to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Since the weather can be unpredictable, if you’re planning to have an outdoor venue, it’s worth asking if there are covered or indoor options in the case of bad weather such as rain. If the venue has both indoor and outdoor options, you can always have a plan B that is easy to execute.
When searching for your wedding venue, you want to make sure you find a place that is personal and private enough for you. Sometimes a venue will be hosting multiple events or weddings on the same day. If this is the case, ask how much of a place you’ll have for yourselves or how separated the different parties will be. Sometimes venues will also allow you to pay to book the whole place for an extra cost.
7) Parking options
Especially if your wedding location is a bit isolated or in a busy downtown area, it’s important to check if there are good parking options or how accessible it is to get a cab or rideshare. Ask about how many parking spaces there are and if guests would need to pay for parking. In the case that there aren’t great options for parking, you can consider hiring a bus or shuttle to bring people to and from the venue.
8) Wedding date
You will more than likely have a certain time of the year in mind when it comes to tying the knot. Maybe you have always dreamed of being a June bride or maybe a magical Christmas wedding is at the top of your wish list. Don’t be disheartened if your preferred date isn’t available at your venue of choice.
9) Wedding theme and color palette
If you are a girly-girl and have set your heart on a pink color scheme with lots of sparkle, then a gothic style medieval castle is going to contradict your overall theme. You get our drift.
10) High priorities for you
Are breath-taking waterside views a must-have for your summer wedding? Or do you require extensive landscaped gardens and lush grounds as a backdrop for your photos? Maybe these requirements are more fluff, and the setting isn’t a priority for you at all.
11) Good reputation
Reputation means everything in the world of weddings sweetie. Research the venue’s online reviews and testimonials from past wedding couples. Here, you will get a good idea of what the venue is renowned for and what it is lacking in.
12) Special rate for your guests
This will be a nice perk to offer your loved ones seeing as they have traveled to celebrate with you and given a generous wedding present.
13) Child-friendly venue
It’s vital to keep the little ones happy throughout the day. Does the venue have adequate baby-changing facilities to make life easy for mom? Is there a babysitting service offered at the property or an evening kids club to keep them entertained for a few hours?
14) Compare the ballroom size with your numbers
If the ballroom is massive and your numbers don’t add up, the room could look very empty on the day. This will have a direct impact on its atmosphere and coziness. If this is a concern, speak with the wedding team who can advise on your table plan and cleverly arrange the seating to give the space a fuller look.
15) Wheelchair-accessible and disabled facilities
Do you have older relatives with mobility issues or are you inviting any guests with a disability? Take note of wheelchair ramps, elevators, the size of the disabled bathrooms and if your venue offers bedrooms on the ground floor.
16) Adequate amenities for a longer stay
Particularly useful if you are planning a whole weekend celebration. Maybe you would like a relaxing spa day with your main ladies prior to the big day, or for convenience you may wish to nurse your hangover whilst hosting your day-after party in the same venue.
17) A food intolerance
Most menus will have a vegetarian alternative for both the starter and main course. But these days, many people are also following a gluten free diet. Is this something the Head Chef will cater for when planning your wedding dishes?
18) Own decor
An essential query for DIY brides and grooms looking to put their own stamp on the venue. Will you be given free reign with table decor and wedding props? Do you need to designate a family member to set these up on the morning of your big day?
19) The vendor options
Some venues allow you to use your own vendors while others want you to use their floral company, catering, alcohol, wedding planner, band, etc. If you prefer to choose your own vendors, be sure to pick a venue that accommodates that.
20) Curfew or noise restraints
Some venues have strict rules about when you will need to be quiet or just how noisy you can be. Make sure to ask if there are any noise restrictions. Outdoor venues, in particular, might enforce quiet hours after a certain time out of respect for neighbors.
21) Dance floor
After dinner is completed and the toast have been made, it’s time for the real fun to begin on the dance floor. Check if there is a dance floor already or if one will need to be built or created, which again can add up on your list of expenses.
22) Visit the venue more than once
We can’t stress this enough. Always go and see your top venue choices at least two or three times before you make a decision. There’s no rush to sign on the dotted line, we promise. Take your time because your choice of venue affects every other choice you’ll make.
23) Adequate lighting inside the venue
A dark, dreary room with no windows can be very uninviting and lacking in atmosphere. Take pictures on your phone and make note of the brightness in the suite itself. If there are no windows, ask if you can view the room with its up-lighting turned on.
24) The venue’s policy on hiring off-site food vendors
This restriction often leaves many couples disappointed. Due to health and safety, some venues will not allow outside suppliers to provide food to guests. This can include hired fish and chips stands, food trucks and dessert tables. If you are hoping to have some quirky additions at your drink’s reception or evening buffet, always ask first as this may not be possible.
25) Wait for “the feeling”
This is something you’ll only know when you feel it. It’s a bit like getting butterflies. It’s the moment you step inside a venue and know it’s perfect. You can see yourself walking down the aisle, you can see yourself surrounded by your loved ones. That’s “the feeling” we’re talking about. And it means you’ve found your venue.
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