How To Find The Right Wedding Venue

So you're engaged! Congrats! Now what?

After the congratulatory posts and texts messages have passed and the reality of wedding planning is setting in --you may start to feel overwhelmed. The venue is probably one of the most important things to set during your wedding planning. Lucky for you we have some tips on how to choose the right venue to meet your needs!

1. Guests

When my husband and I got engaged we envisioned a small 100-200 people at our wedding (I know what you're thinking--THAT'S what you consider small?! But let me finish!). We're Indian so we've been to weddings where there are 400-600+ guests so to us 100-200 people WAS small. We envisioned getting married in a barn and having an outside reception. Now when we brought this up to our parents, they shut down those ideas really quickly. I think my mom may have even laughed at me? Suffice to say, we ended up having over 500 people at our wedding and you guessed it, we weren't married in a rustic barn.

I say all this because your guest count is going to be a driving factor in the venue you choose. The amount of guests you are envisioning on your wedding day will determine what kind of venue space you'll need. If it's small, maybe you can do a barn wedding or maybe a country club has the space you need to accommodate your guests. When visiting different venues one of your first questions should be: "How many guests can we comfortably fit?"

What you don't want is your guests cramped in a small space!

2. Location

When looking for a venue, you want to make sure that it's a reasonable distance for your guests to drive. If you're doing your ceremony and reception in separate locations--the rule of thumb is for the two venues to be no more than 30 minutes apart. So even though you LOVE that venue that's an hour away from your ceremony location; you may need to pass on it to find one that's closer. This will also prevent attendees from arriving late.

When sending out your invitations, remember to include directions and parking information (if necessary).

3. Parking

Who doesn't love valet parking? We love it! However, not every venue has it readily available. A venue with a parking lot is what dreams are made of! However, if the venue you are considering doesn't have it-- don't worry!

Here are some alternatives:

  • See if you can reserve a nearby parking lot.

  • You could offer valet or shuttle pickup from a designated location.

Remember, you want to ensure you have enough parking for all of your guests. This is another way to guard against attendees arriving late.

4. Layout

The layout of the venue is incredibly important when trying to find the best place to host your event. When looking at different venues, ask for a floor plan of your favorites making note of where the DJ or AV equipment can be located.

Where will be the areas of high traffic? Keep this in mind when trying to choose the right venue.

5. Think About What's Included

Some event venues are full-service, while others have you bring in outside vendors. While this is great, make sure to price everything out. Even though a venue might include things like linens and chairs, it might cost less to rent your own.

6. Cost and Flexibility of Date

Being flexible on the event date can be a great way to start negotiations with a venue. They may be looking to fill in dates on their calendar. By giving 2-3 date options, you may have more of a chance to negotiate pricing.

Another thing to consider are venue fees. When looking at different venues, ask for a list of items the fees cover. You'll want to know:

  • Are taxes included in the venue fee?

  • What is not included in the venue fee?

  • What is the price per person for meals?

  • What is the price difference between a sit down meal and a buffet?

  • What types of payment are acceptable? Is there a payment schedule?

  • What is the refund or cancellation policy?

Knowing this information ahead of time will help you make a decision that's right for you AND your wallet!

We hope these tips help you find the venue of your dreams! Are there any other tips you would include?

Happy planning!

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