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Almost every aspect of a wedding is optional.
Wear a pantsuit or sundress instead of a traditional white dress. Forget the stuffy sitdown dinner and have a backyard barbecue instead. Can’t stand flowers? Nix them all together.
There is one thing that’s necessary to have a wedding — a venue. You need a physical place to gather with your family and friends to celebrate your love.
Keep reading to learn how to pick a wedding venue that’s memorable and affordable
Determine a Budget
If you’re on a shoestring budget, finding a venue that fits within it is critical. Don’t start shopping around until you’ve determined how much you have to spend.
Ask potential vendors for a breakdown of all the costs. You should know where your money is going before you book.
Some vendors will only allow you to use in-house catering services. This can add up fast, especially if you’re trying to plan a wedding on a budget. You may want to consider finding a venue that allows for outside caterers.
Consider Your Guests
Though your wedding is about you and your partner, you must consider your guest list when choosing a venue.
Number of Guests
Before booking your venue, you need to know how many people it can hold.
A hall fit for 2,000 people might not be the right choice for a 150 person wedding. The space will be far too large, and your beautiful decor will get lost in the mix.
A 200-person capacity church for 300 people won’t work either. Squeezing too many people into a small space is uncomfortable and a fire hazard.
Most wedding venues will have both a minimum and maximum guest count. These limits exist for a reason and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your guest’s safety and comfort are at stake.
Sit down with your partner and make your guest list together before looking at venues. This saves you from the heartbreak of finding the site you love won’t house the guest you’re inviting.
Another aspect to consider is whether your venue will be accessible to your guests.
Do you have people that’ll be attending who use wheelchairs or walkers? A venue without an elevator will be impossible for them to access.
Are you thinking about having your wedding in a barn or a forest? Rustic-themed weddings are all the rage right now, and it’s not hard to find out why. They’re beautiful, serene, and make for amazing photographs.
If you choose to go that route, make sure there’s ample shade and comfortable seating. The hot sun beating down on your guests can make them sick. A log bench might not be the most comfortable seat for your grandparents.
Determine the Ambiance of Your Wedding
Once you know how much you can spend and how many guests you’re inviting, the fun can truly begin. Now’s the time to start thinking about the non-negotiable aspects of your dream venue.
The venue will set the scene for your entire wedding. You should have a vision of what you want the ambiance to be.
Your venue should reflect the overarching theme of your wedding. It can act as part of the decor, which means less spending necessary for decorative items.
A rustic country theme would work well held at a family member’s farmyard or a forest park in your city. A fairy tale theme could be held in an elegant hotel ballroom or local historical castle.
Your venue’s color theme may not be a dealbreaker, but it is worth considering.
If your wedding colors are pink and gold, but your venue has ’70s style orange flooring and panel board walls, you could be in trouble.
Your venue’s colors should complement the ones you’ve chosen to represent your wedding.
Do a Walk-Through (or Two or Three)
You should never book a venue based upon photos you’ve seen online only. One of our best wedding venue tips is to meet with the vendors at least once before committing.
This is your chance to meet the vendor face-to-face and ask them everything you need to know. Come with a list of questions to ask and bring a pen and paper to take notes.
Try to make arrangements to view the venue when it’s set up for a wedding. This will give you a better idea of what the space can look like with a little decor and wedding magic.
Choosing your wedding space is a personal decision between yourself and your spouse-to-be. Leave the family and friends at home for your first viewing so their opinions won’t sway you.
Remember Your Roots
It’s essential that your wedding reflects both you and your partner. Cookie-cutter weddings are lovely, sure, but they’re not memorable. Your venue is just one of many places you can inject that special personalized touch.
Consider choosing a wedding venue that means something to you and your partner.
Maybe your partner proposed where you’re going to have the ceremony. Perhaps you two met at the church where you’re now going to say your vows.
Maybe you grew up spending your summers with your family at your uncle’s farm. His yard could make the perfect backdrop for a rustic country themed wedding.
Don’t drive yourself crazy wondering how to find a wedding venue. Sometimes the most beautiful locations are right in front of you the whole time.
How to Pick a Wedding Venue Made Easy
Deciding where to get married can be daunting. Don’t let it consume you, though. Your guests are attending your wedding to celebrate love, not to judge your planning chops.
Now that you know how to pick a wedding venue, you can consider other aspects of your big day. Check out our Love section for more tips to help you plan your wedding.