Choosing your wedding venue is no easy feat. Your venue is literally the setting of your wedding day. It sets the tone for the entire event! It will be the background for all of your photos, the gathering place for all of your guests, etc. Basically, the wedding venue is a big decision to make. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, let me walk you through how to choose your wedding venue step by step.
Choose your Destination or City
This is the place to start. Where are you when you close your eyes and picture your wedding day? Are you on a beach, in a forest, in a church, or dancing across a ballroom? Once you know what kind of setting you are looking for, decide where you need to go to find it. This could be a destination island or your hometown. Talk with your fiance and decide what place represents the location you are looking for.
Set your Budget
Whether you choose a destination island or a small town, you will be able to find venue options in every budget range. So, the next step is to sit down with your partner and talk about how much money you are willing to allocate to your venue. This is going to help you narrow down the kinds of places you should be looking into.
Estimate your Guest Count
In order to know what size venue you need to be looking for, you need to know how many guests you will be hosting. Take the time to write out your guest list and estimate how many people you are expecting to be there on the big day.
Pick a Wedding Date (and 2-3 Backup Dates)
There are some areas of wedding planning where you should try to be flexible, and your wedding date is one of them. As you start looking at venues, you may find that the ideal date that you had picked out is not available. It is best to go into venue shopping with a few possible dates in mind that would work for you and your loved ones so that you are able to work with the venue.
Choose a Venue Style
This is the fun part. Take a look at your dream wedding Pinterest board. Do you notice a theme in the types of weddings you are pinning? As you look through wedding magazines, is there a certain style of venue that calls to you? Do you dream of somewhere outdoorsy and low-key? Do you imagine your wedding in a great hall full of chandeliers and windows? When you picture yourself walking down the aisle, is the aisle lined with vineyard crops or church pews? As you take a look at all of the different wedding day scenes, talk with your fiancé about the style of venue that is a good fit for your love story.
Research and Tour Venues
Finally, it is time to take all of the information that you have gathered and look for some venue options to tour. Make sure that it is in the location that you are hoping for, is large enough to house all of your guests, and is within budget. If it is a style you love and it is available for any of your dates, go ahead and schedule a tour! As a photographer, I would advise you to make sure the space has plenty of natural light and areas for on-site photography so you don’t have to travel for photos.I would suggest looking for somewhere that has a space for you to get ready within 10-15 minutes of the ceremony location. A bar service or the ability to have outside vendors serve alcohol is a plus. Finally, I would ask about how many weddings are hosted at one time, so that you can decide if you want to risk sharing the space with other wedding parties.
This is my best advice for choosing the venue of your dreams!