Once you set the date for your big day, the next important step is finding the best venue for the wedding. There are many things you'll have to ask yourself as you decide on where to stage the ceremony and the reception. These top tips will help you narrow down your choices and find the best venue for your dream wedding.
1. How many guests?
You want your venue to accommodate all of the guests who will be attending. As you work on your place settings, you'll know the number of people that will be in the space at any given time and this can help you decide on what size of venue will work for the crowd. Also consider distance. How far do you want your guests to travel? Will you need a taxi service to shuttle your guests back home? Also consider your guests' family and how far they're willing to travel for the ceremony and the reception.
2. Indoor or outdoor?
The time of year you've planned for your wedding date will help you determine if your ceremony/reception will be inside or outside. If you are planning an outdoor ceremony followed by an indoor reception, consider the distance between the two locations. Often, you can find indoor establishments with an outdoor space for the ceremony, which allows you to conveniently keep your guests in one area and avoid the stress of taxis and designated drivers. If an outdoor wedding is a priority for you, finding a venue with a convenient indoor and outdoor space may be an important element to consider.
3. What is Your Budget?
Once you've worked out the time, place, and guest list for your wedding, it's time to figure out how much you are willing and able to spend on your dream venue. There are many unique and festive places that will fit into most budgets, and the easiest way to find these venues is to work out a spending range and find the places that fall into that budget range. Outdoor venues, such as public parks, state parks, and beaches may often be less expensive than an indoor venue. Also keep in mind that many places charge by the hour, and this will be something to consider when it comes to planning the ceremony and reception.
4. Do You Need a Caterer?
Food and drink is a big factor when it comes to wedding venues. Some places provide caterers, others do not. If you plan on having a plated dinner or a buffet, you will need to check with your venue options and see if they provide these services or if you are allowed to bring in outside catering. This can change the price of the venue, so it is important to have a budget decided when you start looking for catered venues.
5. How Much Do You Want to Plan?
Working through the guest list, the menu, and your budget can be overwhelming. Many times, venues such as hotels and churches have planners that can help you work through the finer details of your wedding. You can also hire an outside planner to assist you with your plans. Unless you are willing to take on all the details yourself or with your immediate wedding party, investing in a planner may help avoid a lot of stress.
These tips for finding your dream wedding venue will keep you calm and organized during the planning process. Understanding the needs of your guests will help narrow down your venue options, and organizing a realistic budget will help you stay on track. If you find yourself overwhelmed by some difficult choices, turn to your wedding party, your family, or a wedding planner to help you sort through the array of venues available.