One of the first major steps to wedding planning is finding the venue – or venues! It also may be one of the more intimidating decisions, because it starts so early in the process and affects every aspect of the day. Many brides will delay looking for their dress until they have nailed down a venue because otherwise it might turn out that the gown doesn’t fit with the space.
On the other hand, all you need to know before booking your venue is your budget and a rough idea of the guest list. While some couples may be set on a specific wedding date, others let the availability of an event site determine when they tie the knot. No matter how flexible you are, we do recommend having a date in mind, as forms you fill out when contacting venues will likely ask. You can always explain you don’t mind changing the date after the fact.
Of course, it takes more than a date and guest list to pick a venue. Discover the tips below to help you make the decision.
- Location. You may still be deciding where you want your wedding to be, making the city or town of the venue a factor. Or if you do know where you’ll tie the knot, you might have your eye on particular neighborhoods.
- Consider a planner first. If you intend to hire a wedding planner, you may want to hire them before you find your venue so that the professional can offer you guidance.
- Keep packages in mind. One venue might be more expensive than another, but it also supplies rentals and staff to set everything up. It’s important to look at the whole picture.
- A good outdoor and indoor plan. If you want to wed alfresco, weather can be a factor no matter what time of year you exchange vows. Make sure your venue has an indoor contingency plan that you still like.
- Noise and time restrictions. A reception site that requires music to shut off at 10PM won’t be a great option if you want to keep the party going all night long.
- Vendor options. Many venues will have a list of preferred vendors, which can help you on your search. But others will have required vendors, which may not end up suiting your preferences.
- Overall aesthetics. Obviously you want to make sure the venue fits with your vision for the day! Or at the very least, provides a proper blank canvas.