Your wedding venue is so much more than a room or a backdrop-it’s where you’ll say your vows, host your reception and make lifelong memories with your partner. Choosing the perfect venue is one of the most exciting and sometimes overwhelming parts of wedding planning. But it doesn’t have to be stressful.
With so many options to consider, from grand ballrooms to intimate restaurants, this comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to find your dream wedding venue confidently. Get ready to discover spaces that authentically capture your style, vision, and personality as a couple.
Factors to Consider
As you begin your wedding venue search, keep the following factors in mind:
Consider the number of guests you plan to invite. Large ballrooms and outdoor spaces are ideal for big weddings of 150+ people. Intimate venues may be better suited for smaller guest lists.
Look for venues near you, your partner, or your guests. Venues in a special location, like near family or a favourite vacation spot, can also hold sentimental value.
Venue types include banquet halls, hotels, restaurants, museums, gardens, farms, historic buildings, and more. Determine the overall vibe you want for your wedding. Rustic barns and elegant ballrooms set very different tones.
Wedding venues have a wide range of pricing. All-inclusive venues tend to be more expensive since they handle all the details. More affordable options allow you to select your catering and rentals.
Check the venue’s calendar to ensure your desired wedding date is open. Saturdays book up quickly, so flexible dates expand your options.
Ask about guest minimums, noise ordinances, curfews, layout limitations, vendor policies, and other rules that could impact your plans.
Top Wedding Venue Types
Today’s couples have endless venue options, from urban rooftops to countryside mansions. Here are some of the most popular wedding venue styles:
Banquet halls remain a top wedding choice thanks to their elegant ballrooms, in-house catering, and planning services. Many offer custom wedding packages with amenities like a DJ, centrepieces, and a wedding cake-the convenience factor appeals to busy couples.
Hotels excel as wedding venues because they contain everything under one roof. You can host your ceremony, reception, and guest accommodations in one place. Many hotels have ballrooms, outdoor terraces, and restaurants to host events.
For foodie couples, restaurants make natural wedding venue choices. You can craft custom menus using the restaurant’s catering services. Pick a place with personal significance, like where you got engaged.
Nothing feels more romantic than exchanging vows surrounded by lush greenery and flowers. Botanical, estate and private gardens provide dreamy backdrops for outdoor weddings. Some handle all the event rentals, while others are DIY venues.
For history buffs, venues like museums, galleries, theatres, and historic halls brim with old-world charm. Your event can showcase the vintage architecture and details. Be sure to ask about any restrictions on decorations or music based on their preservation policies.
Barns and Farms
Country chic weddings thrive in rustic barn and farm venues. Fairy, light-lit barns, open fields, and lush greenery exude romantic countryside vibes. Look for full-service venues that handle the rentals, or opt for bare-bones barns you can transform yourself.
Wineries and Vineyards
Winery weddings evoke laid-back sophistication with gorgeous vineyard views. Many offer indoor and outdoor ceremony sites. Guests will love sipping local vintages during cocktail hour or the reception.
To help your venue search, here are some key features to look for:
Indoor/outdoor space: Mixed-use venues give you flexibility for various events. An outdoor ceremony and indoor reception is a popular combo.
Capacity: Ensure the venue can seat all your guests comfortably for the ceremony and reception.
Catering: Many venues have preferred or required caterers. Review menus and options like served vs. buffet.
Venue view: Properties with pretty views of nature, skylines, or architectural details make ideal photo backdrops.
Getting ready suite: Having a dedicated bridal suite to get hair/makeup done and dress is convenient.
Accommodations: Venues like hotels that offer overnight guest rooms streamline travel logistics.
Amenities: Nice extras to ask about include chiavari chairs, lighting, sound systems, and more.
Parking: Valet parking or ample on-site parking helps guests easily get in and out.
Availability: Check the venue’s calendar to ensure your date and backup dates are open.
Vendor policies: Some venues limit your choices, while others allow outside vendors.
Finding Venue Inspiration
With so many venues to consider, gathering inspiration can help crystallise your vision. Here are some sources of venue ideas:
- Wedding websites: Major sites like StrictlyWeddings showcase real weddings at different venues. Browse by location or style.
- Social media: Follow the venue’s Instagram accounts and hashtags like #vineyardwedding or #restaurantwedding to discover options.
- Wedding magazines: Flipping through wedding mags exposes you to new platforms and trends. Dog ear pages of ones you love.
- Location sites: The Knot, Here Comes the Guide, and other tools let you search venues by region to uncover local gems.
- Driving around: Take weekend drives to scout potential wedding-worthy venues in your area and jot down the ones that catch your eye.
Prioritising Your Venue Wishlist
After gathering inspiration, make a comprehensive venue wishlist to hone in on your absolute must-haves, top priorities, and nice-to-have features. Rank aspects like capacity, budget, location and amenities from essential to optional. This thorough wishlist will serve as an invaluable tool as you evaluate potential venues and narrow down your options.
Finding the perfect wedding venue takes time, research, vision and flexibility. Allow yourself plenty of time to weigh all the options thoroughly. Set up tours of your top contenders to get a firsthand feel for each space. Envision how the venue would come to life on your big day – from ceremony setup to reception decor. Look for hidden amenities like bridal suites and built-in audio-visual.
If you find a venue you love but it doesn’t have every single item on your wishlist, get creative about workarounds. With an open mind and dash of creativity, you’re sure to discover a venue that checks all the must-have boxes and sets the stage for your dream wedding. The right venue is worth the search – let your heart and wishlist guide you to wedding magic.