Finding the Right Wedding Venue

You're Engaged!

YAY YAY YAY!! You are happily engaged, sipping champagne, and hearing the now permanent voice of “OMG!! TELL ME HOW HE PROPOSED!! WHEN IS THE WEDDING?? WHERE ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED?? ” from pretty much everyone you talk to. Am I right or am I right? 

Finding the perfect wedding venue is one of the very first decisions couples have to check off their list!! In my personal opinion, it’s actually one of my very favorite parts of the journey, but I don’t think my opinion is as popular to brides to be and I GET IT!! 

Booking a venue is a big deal. You aren’t just faced with choosing the venue, but also the many reciprocating decisions choosing a venue prompts (or doesn’t). Basically choosing a venue determines the course of everything else to follow in the journey. No pressure.

Dive in below to understand more about what I consider my top 5 priorities and details to weigh in on before signing the dotted line with a venue contract.

First, foremost, and most importantly!! It all comes down to priorities. DECIDE.YOUR. PRIORITIES!!

This is pretty much the golden nugget of wedding planning. Consider listing out the items below in the order they rate of importance to you. This will help you get clear on how to make impactful decisions that move you forward in the process of venue elimination. Your priorities will determine how you launch into the next step of planning your wedding. 

Priorities to consider

  • The Date 
  •  The Budget
  • The Venue
  • The Location
  • Guest Capacity

Date Availability:  You have probably heard a million times by now but just in case you haven’t; we are entering into a wedding boom and wedding vendor’s books are filling up, FAST! Date availability is scarce. If a specific date is really important to you, you need to decide on it and pretty much eliminate all venues that are not available on that specific date. Then begin the process of venue selection with those venues that are available by using the other key priority contributors mentioned in this blog to help get you started. 

Budget:  This one is SO important guys!!! I get it, the money talk can be uncomfortable. But it is a fact that weddings cost money and it is important to understand where you stand with it at the beginning verse having an unpleasant surprise later on. There is nothing like the heartbreak of dreaming up a design you have your soul set on just to find out you can only afford half of it. Do not fall victim to this. Heartbreak is not how you should be spending your engagement journey. This is simple to prevent by creating a wedding budget from the get-go. Budget through categories of top priority to least priority. Some big-dollar ticket items can include things such as venue, catering, florals, and don’t forget taxes!!! Honestly, I can write an entire blog on just the topic of wedding budgets!! Coming soon! 🧐

A Specific Venue:  Consider things such as seasonality at your favorite venues. True story; I had my heart set on a wedding venue for my wedding. It was a gorgeous, coastal resort, with everything one could want or need, including our preferred date. We absolutely adored it all! UNTIL we found out they were planning a huge remodel the same season as our chosen wedding date and the entire backdrop of our ceremony location would have been undergoing remodeling on our wedding day. Cranes and construction in the back of all my wedding photos?? Not really my thing. 

Other thoughts to consider.. What is their overall aesthetic like? What do they allow and what do they restrict? What are their minimums? There are so many things to consider here that next week’s blog post is on exactly this topic.. I will dive into much greater detail on My Venue Checklist as a professional planner, but the point here is… be as educated as possible about the venue of choice so that you have no surprises along the way. That hanging floral installation you had your heart set on, oops sorry ~ the venue doesn’t allow installs even though you’ve already ordered the florals..not cool! Having a professional wedding planner will help you be equipped with a toolbox that has ALLLLL of this information and a bag of chips when you need it most. 

A Specific Location:  If your heart is set on a mountaintop resort in Colorado, and you are in the big city of Dallas, it’s possible a destination wedding may be where your heart lands.  

When you consider a specific location, potentially non-local to you, there are SO MANY factors that impact your wedding planning journey and therefore you should consider them in your decision-making process, ensuring there are no surprises later on. Again, I could write another blog post entirely on the subject of things to consider about a destination wedding, and I will, but for now, these are the most pressing factors:

Cost. Travel. Remote planning. Inventory. Site tours. Vendor selection. Guest importance. Wedding party situations. Honeymoon. And so many more things. 

For the sake of keeping things simple here; if you are considering a specific location, potentially for your wedding day- make sure you are asking yourself these questions at a minimum :

1) if you are choosing a destination, are you okay if your wedding party or guest cannot make the trip? 

2) Are you okay with the extra travel cost of venue tours, tastings, and final walk-throughs? 

3) How will you get all of your belongings to the wedding itself and back home to you? 

Destination weddings are truly spectacular for so many reasons, but with them come quite a bit of extra work. Being prepared and asking the right questions are great tools to help get you moving in the right direction. 

Guest Capacity:  Okay, let’s talk about guest count!! Do you have an extra-long guest list with all of your aunts, uncles, cousins, parents friends, work friends? AND on both sides? No problem!! You just need to think about this when selecting your venue. Please be cautious when venues tell you their square footage and how many people it holds. It’s often not a true number in retrospect to comfortable guest spacing. The fire capacity may technically fit 200 people but can you fit a dance floor, stage, 25 guest tables, food stations, cake table, etc. inside the space and still move around comfortably?

You want to make sure you truly understand the spacing and floor plan availability, and that it will 100% suit your needs if a large guest count is important to you. I promise there is nothing worse than being packed like sardines on a lit dance floor, literally dripping and slipping on puddles of sweat. OR the stress when realizing you booked a space too small after you have sent out all of your invitations and now you have to decide to move your location or call and cut back your guest list. Brutal. 

I hope this helps you have a better understanding of specifics on why these topics should be considered a priority when choosing your wedding venue. I promise you, considering these things early on when deciding your wedding venue, is ever valuable. These are part of the foundation in all of my couple’s onboarding processes because it’s that important. Priorities are everything and if you don’t think about them early on, it could cost you the challenge of a wedding planning disaster.