Choosing a wedding venue is one of the most important decisions you make when planning your big day. Your venue is so much more than where you get married. Your venue can control details such as how many guests you can invite, who you choose for catering, what time the party has to end, and more! Here are my tips for finding the perfect wedding venue for you.
Tip #1: First things first. You, your fiancé, and any other parties contributing financially to the big day need to discuss a few things. Come up with a budget. This will play a huge role in the search for your wedding venue. When Jeremy and I went to look at venues, I was shocked by the huge price tags of some just to use the space. Nothing included! And with crazy rules to follow. It was easy to cross a couple of venues off the list immediately.
Tip #2: Another important thing that you should try to have an idea of pretty quickly is the guest count. If you know that you’re going to be inviting 350 guests, I would say it is a waste of time to tour a venue that has a strict max of 125 guests. However, if you’re someone who is willing to cut your guest list for the perfect venue, carry on!
Tip #3: Choose potential dates to inquire about. Jeremy and I knew that we wanted to have a Fall 2018 wedding. We knew that we wanted to have a Saturday wedding in Louisiana and started by writing down any potential dates. We decided later rather than sooner to avoid any crazy hot weather, but not too close to Thanksgiving would be our best bet. We also had to check into the LSU football schedule to make sure there wasn’t a big game interfering – yes, I am totally serious. It is always good to have multiple potential dates in case your dream venue is already booked on your ideal date.
Tip #4: Brides, the internet is your best friend. Seriously, take advantage of any free resources you can find with venue information. Searching google for “how much does it cost to have a wedding at (whatever venue)?” or “rustic barn wedding venue” may just give you exactly what you’re looking for. I also recommend signing up with free accounts on The Knot and WeddingWire. Both were super helpful for getting basic venue information before scheduling a tour.
Tip #5: Schedule tours for the venues that you are considering. Obviously this isn’t something that every bride or groom gets the opportunity to do, but if you can, GO LOOK. There’s something so special about walking around a venue and visualizing the little details of your wedding day.
Before Jeremy and I went down to Louisiana to tour venues, we emailed back and forth with our wedding planner about different options for us. We narrowed down our list to three venues to tour based on which venues could accommodate certain must-haves and a rough estimated cost. We could have had a beautiful wedding at any of the venues we saw, but when it came down to the details, we knew which venue was right for us.
Tip #6: Make a list of questions that you have for your wedding venue. As I’m writing this I’ve decided that I’m going to write a whole post on this subject alone, but definitely take advantage of this time with a venue representative to fire away any and all questions that will contribute to your decision about where you get married. (i.e. Do you have to use preferred vendors? Is there a noise ordinance that is going to dictate what time your reception ends? Any hidden taxes or fees on top of the price they are quoting?)
Tip #7: Have fun with it! Choosing your wedding venue is a big deal, but remember that this day is about you and your other half coming together as one.