Your Step-by-Step Guide on Choosing the Perfect Wedding Venue

A happy newly-wedded couple walking back down the aisle

Mardie Caldwell

December 8, 2021

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Everyone wants their wedding to be memorable and one-of-a-kind. While things like theme, seating arrangements, and food menus play vital roles in your celebration’s success, there’s one other factor that could significantly impact your special day:
Your venue.
The place you choose to hold your wedding could influence the overall mood of your party. This is why it’s important that you make a wise decision when it comes to your wedding venue.
However, choosing a wedding venue isn’t as simple as choosing what to eat for your next meal. There’s a great deal of planning and deliberation involved to ensure that the venue you choose is the right one for you.
If you’re unsure where to start the process, no worries!
Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to choose the perfect wedding venue.

1. Create a guest count.

Consider if you want to invite 200 people to your wedding or more like 20. Would you like to invite relatives and extended family? Or would you like to limit it to immediate members of your household and close friends?
Some couples want a large and extravagant wedding, while others prefer a more intimate and quaint celebration.
Before choosing a wedding venue, it’s important to decide how many people you want to attend your wedding. After all, you want to ensure that the venue you choose can accommodate your guest list. So sit down with your partner and list every person you plan to invite on a piece of paper.
Make adjustments for at least two to three extra people. However, as much as possible, try not to go over what you’ve already estimated as the amount of guests for your wedding. The last thing you want is to invite 200 people to a venue with a guest capacity of only 150.

2. Choose a location.

In the western world, it’s a tradition for the wedding to occur in the bride’s hometown. However, in our modern society, weddings can be held almost anywhere the bride and groom wish.
They could host it in the groom’s hometown, in the city where the couple currently resides, or even a favorite travel destination.
Your wedding location will determine your celebration’s budget and requirements. So, before things like dress shopping and florist choosing, decide where you want your wedding to take place.
Every option will have its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, destination weddings can add an air of adventure and excitement to your celebration. But on the flip side, it can be much more expensive for your guests than simply celebrating in your town.
Weigh each option carefully and see which one you find best suits you.

3. Consider your budget.

Bride and groom peacefully gazing at the sunset after following their own step by step guide to set up their weddingWhen it comes to weddings, the venue is one of the most expensive things a couple will pay for besides the photographer taking the wedding photos. As you shop around for your wedding venue, pay attention to venue package types (will they provide space, food, and drink?) You’ll also need to consider each venue’s overall capacity, as you don’t want to waste your money on space you don’t need!
Costs for your wedding venue will depend on your wedding location and guest count, of course. This is why you need to determine those two factors before anything else.
For instance, renting a venue in a busy city will be much more expensive than renting a spot in a more rural location.
Even though selecting a specific portion of your budget for your venue isn’t always a science, couples commonly designate around 10-15% on average. But you might allocate up to 20% or more of your budget to the venue if they include extras.
Discuss your total budget with your partner and/or a parent helping financially with your wedding planning. Come up with a number that everyone is comfortable with, then move on to the next step.

4. Research venues based on your desired location, guest count, and budget.

Once you’ve got your location, guest count, and budget down, it’s time to comb the area for possible rental venues.
If you have a wedding planner, you can ask them to help you narrow down your choices to the best options based on your preferences and resources. Otherwise, you can check wedding directories yourself for venues that best suit your needs.
Here’s a rough summary of the information you’ll need to find out:

  • Venue capacity
  • Availability
  • Amenities
  • Insurance
  • Catering services

Next, narrow your list down to at least five possible choices. This should make your search process go much faster.

5. Schedule a visit with potential venues.

Once you have a list of potential venues, it’s time to reach out and schedule a visit to tour your desired places. This way, you’ll be able to see for yourself if the site has exactly the right amenities, floor area, and vibe for your special day.
Some venues may look very different in photos than they do in real life. Therefore, it’s best to have an in-person view of the whole place before making a final decision.

6. Create a pros and cons list.

After you pay a visit to all your potential venues, it’s time to create a pros and cons list for each space. As mentioned before, each venue will have its advantages and disadvantages. It’s important that you weigh these out and see which ones are worth sacrificing.
For instance, this venue has all the right amenities for your wedding theme but doesn’t have enough room for your guests. In that case, you may want to consider cutting your guest list down a little more to fit everyone into the space.
You’ll want to be aware of each venue’s accessibility. Can it be easily reached, or is it out of the way? Will directions be simple enough for out-of-town guests to make sense of, even when they’re unfamiliar with the area?

The bottom line.

Ultimately, choosing the perfect wedding venue will be entirely up to you to decide. The important thing is that you have a clear idea of where you want your wedding to be, how many people you want to invite, and how many resources you’re willing to shell out for your special day. Good luck and best wishes for your future together!

Mardie Caldwell

Written by Mardie Caldwell

Mardie has been a successful businesswoman since 1981. The Rough & Ready Vineyards was created out of Mardie’s desire to contribute to the community. Mardie’s vision to serve the community is rooted in her love of Nevada County, and it provided her with the opportunity to revitalize an old Ranch property into a breathtaking wedding venue.

Her innovative mind and commitment to environmental accountability contribute in a positive way to our community and the surrounding area. With the Rough & Ready Vineyards, Mardie seeks to create the best wedding experience for our clients and their guests, creating memories that will last for generations.

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