As you start planning your wedding, one of the first big choices you’ll make is where to hold your ceremony and reception. Choosing your wedding venue is always exciting, and will help you envision what your big day will look like.
The venue is also a significant part of your budget, and it can set the tone for the day and help you inspire your wedding theme, stationery design, and color scheme. Because of that, you’ll want to spend plenty of time going through all the possible choices.
To help you decide which wedding venue is right for you, we’ve put together tips for finding your perfect venue and ideas for different types of venues to consider. If you’re about to start touring venues, read on to learn more about how to find a wedding venue that you’ll love!
How To Find Your Perfect Wedding Venue
Ready to begin looking for your perfect wedding venue? Here are some wedding venue planning tips to help you get started on your search.
Establish The General Style For Your Wedding
Before you begin touring wedding venues, spend some time establishing the overall style of your wedding––even if your theme isn’t established yet. Are you going for a modern wedding, are you looking to go more rustic, or are you going for a boho-chic look? If you have a general idea of the type of wedding you’d like to plan, use it to help you look for venues that match your vision.
Estimate Number Of Guests
You don’t need to have your guest list completely finished before you start touring venues, but it’s a good idea to have a rough estimate of the number of guests you’d like to invite. This will give you an idea of the size of the venue you’ll need.
Keep Your Budget In Mind
While you’re discussing venue options, always be sure to keep your budget in mind. This will help you hone in on realistic options, and it will ensure some room in your budget for your florist, caterer, entertainment, photographer, and any other vendors you’re planning on booking.
Estimate The Date And Season
Couples typically book their venue about nine months to a year before their wedding. And so, to help you know when to book, one of the first things you’ll want to decide is the approximate date and season of your wedding.
The season you choose will also play a big part in when you should book your venue. If, for example, you have your heart set on a summer wedding at an outdoor venue, be aware that these dates will fill up fast. If possible, it’s a good idea to have a bit of flexibility with your date—this way, you’ll have a bigger range of venues to choose from.
Establish Your Must-Have Services
It’s also a good idea to put together a list of must-have services for your wedding venue. Do you want a wedding venue that’s all-inclusive and provides their own caterers, florists, and designers? Or, would you like a venue that allows you to bring in your own vendors? Deciding this will help you narrow down your list of potential locations and make your wedding reception planning much easier.
Talk To Your Wedding Planner
Before you start visiting wedding venues, talk to your wedding planner about all of your must-haves and what you’re looking for in a venue. Your wedding planner will be able to find venues in your area that fit your criteria and answer any questions you have.
Come With Questions
You may also want to speak with your planner as they might have the answers to these questions or help guide you through what to ask.
We usually recommend touring venues for at least 12 months in advance. If your dream venue is a popular wedding or event venue, you may want to check for availability about 18 to 24 months prior.
The best time to book your venue is 12 months before your wedding and no later than eight months. This will give you enough time to arrange your wedding details, set up a payment plan, and book your vendors.
Things To Look For When Touring Venues
You’ve established the style, budget, and approximate date for your wedding, and now, you’re ready to begin touring venues. Here are some of the things you’ll want to look out for and ask about while you search.
- Availability: Most venues have online calendars that show when space is available, but it’s still always good to double-check availability while you’re on your tour.
- Capacity: Ask about the space’s capacity, and keep in mind that a room that’s at capacity may feel a bit crowded for guests. It’s also a good idea to ask how many guests the room can fit comfortably.
- Layout: On the venue’s website, it’s sometimes difficult to gauge if the layout will work for your needs. While you’re on your tour, check if the venue has space for your cocktail hour, reception, and your ceremony if you’re planning on having the ceremony at the venue.
- Cost: Make sure to ask the venue if there are any extra costs that aren’t listed on their website. For example, if there’s an additional cost to bring in outside vendors or to hold your ceremony in the same location.
- Restrictions: Ask if there are any types of restrictions, such as having to work with a specific list of caterers. Be sure to ask if they have a strict end time and if there are any decoration or noise restrictions.
- Parking/Transportation: Ask how much parking is available and if there is an overflow parking area. It’s also a good idea to ask if the venue is accessible on public transportation.
Popular Venue Types
From ballrooms to barns, there are great venues available for every style of wedding! To help you narrow down your search, here are some of the most popular types of venues and some ideas for themes that work well with these venues.
An elegant ballroom is perfect for any couple looking to have a formal or classic wedding. These venues are typically large and all-inclusive, making them a good choice for couples with a long guest list.
A lush garden filled with bright green plants and flowers is a beautiful, romantic place to say ‘I do.’ This natural venue is a good choice for a boho, fairytale, or rustic wedding. It’s also a wonderful spot for a country-themed wedding.
A vineyard is a romantic outdoor wedding venue choice—you and your significant other will be able to get some stunning photos set against the vineyard’s hills and vines. This venue pairs well with both rustic, traditional, and vintage themes. It’s also a great choice for a destination wedding.
Barn Or Backyard Wedding
Barns are a popular choice for rustic or country weddings. These venues typically have large outdoor spaces, making them a good choice for the warmer months of the year. If you’re looking for a great budget-friendly option, backyard weddings are also a popular choice.
If you love the feeling of sand between your toes and the sound of waves crashing onto the shore, a beach wedding is perfect for you. The beach is a great choice for a destination wedding—your guests will love getting to celebrate your big day with you and getting a relaxing vacation at the same time.
A contemporary venue—such as an airy loft or a chic art gallery—pairs well with a modern, minimalist, or glam theme. These spaces are usually on the smaller side, making them a good choice for couples that prefer a small, intimate wedding.
As you’re touring venues and deciding where to hold your reception, keep these wedding venue tips in mind. They will help you find and choose the perfect spot to celebrate your big day.