Finding the perfect wedding venue is the first step in planning your wedding. Depending on where you live, or where you want to have your wedding, there might be lots of venues or there may be few. We recently picked our date and venue (October 30, 2021!), but it was a harder process than I had anticipated. Here’s how to find the perfect wedding venue. This includes questions you will want to ask when you’re researching and touring venues!
Decide your wedding style
Do you want to have a farm/barn wedding? An outdoor wedding? A vineyard wedding? A rustic wedding? There are so many options of wedding styles and you can always create your own. My wedding style is white. I wouldn’t consider this to be all encompassing for everything in my wedding, but I knew that I wanted to get married in a white building. Pretty specific, but it narrowed down my choices significantly and made it easier to choose.
Decide on a rough guest count
My wedding will probably be smaller than I would have had it before COVID, but that’s the world we live in now. I started a guest list in my wedding planner that included close friends and family – people I knew I definitely would want at my wedding. If you have a large family, that’s something you will need to consider when looking at venues. You don’t have to have an exact count, just a range is usually good enough when searching. I had my guest list at 100-150 people. It’s looking closer to 100 at this point, but when I was searching I just needed a rough number.
Keep a budget in mind
A wedding venue will likely take up a large portion of your budget. You also may have to pay for two separate venues if the ceremony and reception will be in different places (don’t forget about transportation!). Don’t blow your whole budget on a venue. You’ll also need to feed people! Get my free wedding budget below – this includes everything you will need to consider when planning your wedding budget.
Where to find wedding venues
If you are familiar with the area, you might already know all the possible venues around. However, I had just moved to a completely different state and had no ideas about wedding venues! I searched The Knot and Wedding Wire for possible venues. These sites made it easy to find a venue within a range of miles, keep to a budget, find a place large enough, and give reviews. Another great way is to post on local facebook pages asking local people what the best venues are. If you have a wedding planner (See my post – Should you hire a wedding planner?) in mind, ask them their favorite venues.
Pick a date
You don’t have to have an exact date yet, but if you do make sure the venue is available on that date! When my fiance and I were looking at venues, we would ask for a list of available dates in the spring (April, May) and fall (September, October). We knew we didn’t want to get married in the summer – it is just too hot here in North Carolina! This is where it helps to be planning a year in advance. Venues will book quickly – especially Saturdays. Once we had visited a bunch of venues and had decided which one we were going to go with, we asked again for available dates and picked our favorite then. Also think about what style of dress you will be looking for and don’t forget that the men will likely be wearing suits! Check out Dress Afford for affordable wedding dresses that ship fast!
Tour the venues!
This is so important. You wouldn’t buy a house without seeing it in person and you shouldn’t pick a venue just based on their website and photos. Most venues love giving tours (they want your business) and will work out a time that works for everyone involved. My fiance and I would make a date night out of touring venues. We would visit the venue and then get something to eat after! If you’d rather have a home date night after, check out the California Wine Club for delicious wine and RealEats for a food subscription box!
It took us lots of emailing and searching, but we did eventually find the perfect venue and you will too! Keep these questions in mind to find the perfect wedding venue! What are your priorities when it comes to a venue? Share in the comments!
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