How to Choose a Wedding Venue

Choosing a venue is generally one of the first steps in planning a wedding. It’ll dictate the vibe, number of people, and it might even influence your dress!

Here are a few steps to take to ensure that you’re on track for booking the right location.

Step 1: Pick a date and have some back up options in mind. Your first pick at your desired venue might not be available, so be open to other dates. Next, decide on whether your ceremony and reception will take place at the same location. If they won’t, you’ll need to do some toggling between the two locations to ensure the date and timing availability work out. Also, ask yourself if the ceremony/reception locations are a good place to take photos or if you’ll need to go elsewhere to get great photos. For example, are you limited to one indoor room and a parking lot or do you have an entire golf course? If you need to go to a different location, how much of your time will that eat up between ceremony and reception?

Step 2: Figure out your budget and choose a venue that's within it. I’m not a financial advisor, but I will urge you to not go into debt for your wedding. Remember, your wedding is about celebrating the love between two people, and not showing off an event you’re pretending to afford. Would you rather be paying off wedding debt or putting your hard earned income toward your dream home or a vacation?

Aside from your preferred date, the venue will ask you about your estimated number of guests. Be sure to know your upper and lower end numbers. If you're flexible about your dates, ask about Friday or Sunday options which tend to be cheaper.

Step 3: Ask questions and take notes!

If you’ll have a lot of out of town guests, ask about nearby hotels. Some hotels offer discounts for multiple rooms booked and will even provide a shuttle to the venue.

If the ceremony/reception is outdoors, ask about their contingency plan for if it rains. Do they offer complimentary tents? Do they have an alternative site indoors?

Also, ask how many weddings take place at the venue on the same day. With one wedding, all of the focus is on your event.