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How to Choose a Wedding Venue That Checks All the Boxes

Should you choose that intimate garden wedding surrounded by fresh spring flowers and chirping robins? Or will you go for that luxury ballroom that makes you feel like a princess?

There are so many options. How will you settle on just one, and where do you even start?

Choosing a wedding venue is one of the first items on your wedding checklist. So, you don’t want to take too long to pick the perfect spot for your I-do’s. Instead, narrow down your options using this checklist for how to choose a perfect wedding venue for your event.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose a budget, date, and guest count before looking at venues
  • Choose attractive locations that match your theme and will look good in pictures
  • Examine logistics like accessibility, extra rooms, and available vendors
Urban wedding venue

1. Set Your Budget

The most influential part of your wedding planning is your wedding budget. Before settling on a venue, know how much you have to spend in total. You can politely ask parents what they’re contributing and decide how much you will spend.

Then, break up your budget between all your expenses.

On average, venue and catering are 40% of your wedding budget. Since the average wedding costs $28,000, venue and catering cost around $11,200.

Rustic wedding venue

2. Decide a Wedding Theme

While you don’t need your entire wedding planned out, like colors and décor, you should nail down a general theme early on. Your theme will help you narrow down your wedding venue options.

Some ideas for wedding themes include:

  • Classic and traditional
  • Garden Wedding
  • Romantic
  • Modern
  • Fairytale
  • Sophisticated and elegant
Church wedding venue

3. Choose Your Wedding Date

The wedding date will depend on what the venue has available. However, you need a general idea of the date before you book.

Your wedding theme may give you ideas for the perfect time of year. For example, a garden wedding will be stunning in spring when flowers bloom. Meanwhile, winter is ideal for a fairytale wedding with fairy lights and magical snowflakes.

Once you have a season, choose a few days and rank them in order of preference. You will book your wedding venue AT LEAST a year in advance. So, the date you choose should be 12 or more months from your engagement.

Sophisticated wedding venue

4. Create a Rough Guest List

How many guests do you want to invite?

Choose a number based on your budget or create a rough guest list to see how many people you have to invite, then adjust your budget to that guest count. Whatever method you choose, the number will decide the venue type and size.

When you choose a venue, your maximum guest count should be under the venue’s maximum count so the guests have breathing room. So, a guest list of 150 would fit best in a venue with a room for 200 or more so the space feels open.

Intimate wedding venue

5. Look at All the Available Facilities

Room for the ceremony and reception is a given, but those are not the only space to consider.

Do you also want to get ready on the property? You can ask about dressing rooms or private rooms for storing personal belongings.

If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, take special note of available facilities in case of bad weather.

An important area to note is the bathrooms. Bathrooms aren’t the event's highlight, but they are a necessity. You will want easily accessible and clean bathrooms.

Ballroom wedding venue

6. Find Picture-Perfect Spots

Pictures preserve the wedding for years to come. So, while the venue might be perfect for wedding activities, is it also photogenic? Look at the venue through a camera lens for an idea of how your pictures will turn out.

Ask the venue what areas you can use for pictures, as you’ll have a couple, a bridal party, and family portraits. If you want to capture that romantic sunset shot, ensure the venue doesn’t block the sunset.

Urban wedding venue

7. Research Nearby Accommodations and Activities

Out-of-town guests will need a hotel to stay in. So, before booking a venue, look at what hotels and accommodations are available nearby. Depending on how far away your guests are coming from, you might even consider proximity to an airport.

Sometimes, out-of-town guests will make a weekend out of your wedding. So, finding other activities for your out-of-town guests to do that weekend is a polite way of thanking those guests for making the trip. It also ensures they have the best time at your wedding and afterward.

Estate wedding venue

8. Explore the Venue’s Accessibility

A historic castle in the mountains might seem romantic until you realize there are no roads up to the castle. That means everyone would be trekking in heels and formal wear.

Thankfully, most wedding venues consider accessibility and offer plenty of parking and access roads. Nevertheless, you don’t want to wait till your wedding day to find out if there are enough parking and convenient roads to the location.

Also, keep in mind what your getaway vehicle will be. If you plan to ride away in a horse and carriage, you probably want to avoid busy areas or uneven roads.

Vineyard wedding

9. Plan the Venue around Your Activities and Vendors

What do you want to do at your wedding? Creating a wedding venue checklist of activities, like dancing, a photo booth, or yard games, will give you an idea of the space you need.

Some venues also offer vendors, which can be a cost-effective add-on. Common vendors include catering, alcohol servers, and wedding planners. However, if you intend to use your vendors for everything, be sure the venue allows outside vendors.

10. Ask about Rules

Venues usually have unique rules you want to consider before committing. For example, some religious venues may restrict alcohol consumption on the property, or venues in populated areas might have noise restraints.

One area to pay special attention to is set up and clean-up rules. You’ll want to know whether you’ll have to clean up the entire venue the night of your wedding or you have the whole next day to clean up.

You Booked the Venue – Now What?

Once you have that venue and the date set, you’re ready to start the ball rolling. The next step is getting your saved dates to your guest list.

Shine Wedding Invitations will help you design save-the-dates, invitations, and wedding stationery that perfectly complement your fairytale venue. So, whether you’re looking for subtle spring colors and soft florals or sophisticated statement invitations, we have a design for you.

Start your search here and design the perfect invitation alongside knowledgeable and empathetic designers.

Photo Credit
Court in the Square: Pacific Engagements | Rustic Barn Wedding: Significant Events of Texas | Park Chateau Estate: Idalia Photography | Hillside Estate: Hillside Estate Venue | Intimate Greenhouse Venue Martha Stewart Weddings | Willowdale Estate: Willowdale Estate | Industrial Wedding Venue Whim Events | Couple at the Atlanta History Center: Elizabeth Austin Photography | Vineyard Wedding: Katherine Joy Photography | Save the Dates: Shine Wedding Invitations

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Request a free wedding invitaiton sample todayFind your wedding invitation style by taking our styling quickFind your perfect design by visiting our wedding invitation shopping pagesUse letterpress wedding invitations to really make a statement

Request a Free Sample Set

Experience our papers, colors, and printing in person.

Not Sure Where to Start?

Take our styling quiz to find the right look and configuration for your stationery.

Bring Your Vision To Life

Browse our invitations and find the perfect design for your wedding.

A Difference You Can Feel

Make a statement with our luxurious letterpress wedding invitations

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