what to expect
The wedding venue is one of the most important parts of any couple’s day – it sets the scene for the wedding, hosts all your guests, and is one of the first decisions you’ll have to make once you dig into planning! But this decision can also be one of the hardest, because it typically is a big portion of the budget, and it can be pretty stressful trying to choose. So this guide will give you some tips and tricks on how to find a wedding venue, to help make the search a little easier!
Before I tell you how to find a wedding venue, decide where you’ll be looking! The perfect venue isn’t going to do you much good if it’s 500 miles away from where you want to tie the knot, so talk to your partner about where you want to get married.
Some couples want to stick close to home, some have family in a different state and want to have the wedding there, while others want a destination wedding somewhere beautiful! The decision totally depends on the couple, as everyone has a different vision for how their day will go. Think about how many guests you’re planning to invite, how far your loved ones (and you) will be able to travel, and if there’s a place that’s particularly meaningful to you! After you’ve settled on a general area or a distance-from-home radius for your wedding venue, it’ll narrow down your options.
The next step in this “how to find a wedding venue” guide is to decide what kind of venue you’ll be looking for! There are so many different types of places to have a ceremony, and couples are usually drawn to a particular type. If there are a few types that you like, deciding which ones you don’t like can be just as helpful!
Here are a few examples of popular types of wedding venues!
Hotels are popular for weddings, and are convenient because they can host your guests in the same place as the ceremony. It’s nice to not worry about transportation, and there are usually a few different event spaces to choose from.
Rustic chic is all the rage, and farm wedding venues make a cozy place to tie the knot! They feel casual, without sacrificing elegance – and the farms often have great scenery too.
For smaller ceremonies, you can consider a less traditional wedding venue, like a public park or garden! These offer natural beauty, with the added perk of being less pricey.
Estate and mansion wedding venues are usually similar to farms, but a little more upscale. The central feature is a large house, and there’s often a lot of history behind these venues! These are perfect for couples who want to get married somewhere that feels remote, but aren’t quite as “farm-y.”
An industrial venue is more bare bones, usually a loft space or a minimalist spot in a modern building. These are perfect for customizing your day, as they can be decorated however you want!
Of course, you don’t have to know exactly how many people will be attending your wedding when you start figuring out how to find a wedding venue. Most places will have a maximum capacity – it just depends on what that number is! Of course, bigger venues can accommodate more people, and you certainly don’t want to be looking at tiny parks for a 400 person wedding. Think about how many people you want to invite, and start making a list with your partner. As a general rule of thumb, don’t look at venues smaller than the number of people you’re inviting – even though it’s unlikely that everyone you invite will attend, it’s much better to have too much room than not enough.
Money is usually a factor in most couple’s search for the right spot, so creating a budget can help you know how to find a wedding venue. The average cost of a wedding venue in the US is about $13,000, but of course this will vary based on where you’re looking. Do a little bit of research before deciding how much you’re willing to spend, as you may have a hard time finding a venue with too small of a budget.
Once you have a general idea of what kind of venue you want to find, and where you’ll be looking, there are plenty of directories online where you can filter your search to find a few options. Venue Report, The Knot, and Wedding Wire, are a few good ones! You can filter by type, location, guest capacity, amenities, and more.
When it comes to how to find a wedding venue, Google is great, but you can find some less popular gems by using social media, or just asking around. Instagram and Pinterest are the best, and you can search for venues in your area through hashtags, or geotags. If you know someone who’s gotten married recently, or you’ve been to a wedding you loved, ask them about their venue!
It’s a good idea to find a couple venus that you like, and inquire with each one! Send an email through their site, and chat with a coordinator. If you don’t have a date set yet, you’re likely to have an easier time finding a wedding venue as you can be flexible based on their availability, but if there’s a time frame in mind or you have your heart set on a date, this will help rule out some venues too!
I recommend scheduling a call to ask questions and get to know the coordinator, as this will help you figure out if the venue is right for you. The look of your wedding venue is important, but it’s also important that they’re easy to work with and align with what you’re looking for! Ask about what’s included in your rental fee, and about any other costs.
Once you have a favorite venue, schedule a tour to see it in person!
After you’ve made up your mind, you’ll probably sign a contract and pay a deposit, and your wedding venue is booked! The next step after the quest for a venue is over is to book a photographer – and luckily, I happen to know one… wink wink.