How To Choose the Perfect Venue: A Complete Checklist

How To Choose the Perfect Venue: A Complete Checklist

As you plan your big day, there are many things you’ll need to consider and places you need to visit. Your venue should be one of the priority items on your wedding checklist since it’ll be the place at which you’ll have the best party of your life! In this complete checklist for choosing the perfect venue, we’ll cover key topics such as:

  • Having a budget
  • Noting your guest list
  • Working with a pro
  • Knowing where you’ll get ready
  • Following your vision

Eliminate some of the stress of planning with advice from the wedding pros. With these tips, you’ll easily decide on the right location for your big day.

How To Choose the Perfect Venue: A Complete Checklist

Set a Budget

Every aspect of wedding planning should tie back to your budget because things can add up in no time. When you feel excited, it’s easy to get caught up in all the bliss and forget how much money you’ve set aside for your venue.

To avoid falling in love with something you can’t afford, hold off on touring venues until you’ve set a budget and narrowed your scope. Doing otherwise can create unnecessary complications, specifically if you compare your budgeted venue options to expensive venues. As important as location is, you shouldn’t pour all your money into it.

Weigh the Value

You may find an inexpensive venue, but it may not provide the easy bar access, ample space, or beautiful backdrop that you desire. Inspect the types of venues you can afford at your price point. Do they fit into your vision? Do the venue managers offer rental package deals? Noting these things can help you determine if the location is worth the price.

Find Out What’s Included

It’s important to note what’s included in your venue’s rental packages as these packages can either increase or decrease the venue’s value. Talk with the venue manager and ask whether the rental price includes décor, furniture, vendors, and setup. Having to supply everything in addition to renting a venue could be more costly than a pricy location that covers almost everything on your list.

 Some other things to find out about are:

  • Parking fees
  • Alcohol rules
  • Space for coats and purses
  • Noise restrictions

Knowing all these factors about your potential venue can make creating a list of must-haves and top venue options easier.

Food and Drinks

Delicious food and plenty of drinks can help crank up the party atmosphere. Inquire whether the venue supplies this service or if you need to hire a caterer. If they provide food and drinks, you’ll then want to find out whether you’re required to use their vendors. No matter who’s making the food, you should do a tasting to sample whether it’s up to your pallet before having it served at your wedding. No one likes bad wedding food.

How To Choose the Perfect Venue: A Complete Checklist

Think About Your Guests

Although your vision is important, so is the comfort of your guests. If you have many out-of-town family members and friends coming to celebrate, you may need to find a venue near a hotel. Likewise, all guests should have easy access to reliable transportation.

Depending on the age and ability of your guests, you may need to decide on a location with additional amenities such as wheelchair access and flat terrain. This is especially important if the ceremony and reception are in separate areas of the venue.

Guest List

Having an idea of how many people you can expect at the wedding makes planning everything much easier. You’ll know how many place settings to establish, how much food vendors will need to make, and more. But a guest list also helps you rule out which venues you cannot use. Most locations have a maximum capacity to ensure the safety of the guests and employees.

Factor in the number of guests you expect to see at the wedding as you begin your hunt for the perfect venue. Just like your budget, noting this ahead of time helps you rule out the places you don’t need to visit.

Bridal Tip

Strive to reach out to guests after sending your save the dates to gauge who’s most likely coming, but don’t put these numbers in stone. It’s always better to aim higher than lower when you give guest list estimates to your venue manager. This way, you don’t have to worry about additional fees or certain things falling through if more guests RSVP than you anticipated.

Out-of-Town Guests

Some of us have friends and family scattered throughout the country or even the world, and you don’t want anyone to feel left out. Remember, you’re a host; all that work starts before the wedding.

When prospecting venues, inquire if they collaborate with any hotels in the area as some of them may offer a discounted stay or shuttle to the ceremony! It never hurts to ask. It’s your special day, and there will be all sorts of questions you’ll need to discuss with your venue manager, so don’t feel like your concerns are silly.

Guest Experience

The size of your venue and its location aren’t the only things that matter when it comes to your guests’ experience. The layout and season in which you have your wedding can also impact the experience your guests will have.

For instance, many brides love the idea of an outdoor, summer ceremony, but your guests may prefer other options—especially on a blazing hot day. You can compromise by asking your venue manager if they can put up canopies so guests can sit in the shade. Alternatively, it can get chilly in the fall, especially if you live in the northern part of the States. Find out if the venue can provide space heaters to keep guests toasty so they can focus on the ceremony.

How To Choose the Perfect Venue: A Complete Checklist

Consult a Wedding Planner

Knowing how to decide on the perfect venue can sometimes feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to make this decision alone. When in doubt, you can hire a professional to help you make your wedding the perfect day you’ve dreamt of since saying “yes” to the proposal! Wedding planners build their careers around assisting couples to achieve the wedding of their dreams, on budget and in alignment with their guest list.

A wedding planner can also show you the many venues you have to choose from, and help you pick the perfect one. While it’s traditional to get married in a hall or place of worship, you can also say “I do” at:

  • a winery
  • a mansion
  • a beach resort
  • a nature sanctuary
  • a barn

Every couple has a different idea of what would be best for their wedding. Regardless of what speaks to you, a planner can help you narrow your options, so you can have the venue of your dreams.

Can You Get Ready There?

Some venues allow the couple and wedding party to get ready in separate rooms within the location, but this isn’t always a possibility. You’ll want to search for information on the website or talk with the venue manager during your tour so you can plan accordingly.

You’ll need a place to get ready and store your wedding emergency kit of must-haves to ensure you look perfect for that walk down the aisle. If you cannot get ready at the venue, find out if they offer other accommodations. Perhaps they offer a shuttle service for you and your wedding party to travel to another location nearby so you can prep?

How To Choose the Perfect Venue: A Complete Checklist

Does It Match Your Vision?

If you want a fairytale wedding, search out venues with a lush, wooded backdrop or a beautifully decorated mansion. Aesthetics are a big deal and can often transform a venue into a space unique to you.

Another thing you should ask about when touring the venue is whether you are allowed to provide decorations. Sometimes the venue supplies the décor, however, you may have only a few options to choose from. Other times, any decorations you desire will be up to you to provide. It’s important to note that some venues don’t allow you to decorate. In this case, the venue may be exquisite, but without some personal touches, it may not be your ideal spot.

Bridal Tip

How you decorate is up to you and your partner. Friends and family may have ideas on what you should do, but your happiness matters most. If you find a breathtaking venue that’s your definition of ideal, rent it.

If your guests are comfortable, have delicious food, and there’s a party atmosphere, they’ll love the venue as much as you do. Use our complete checklist on how to choose the perfect venue to help you decide on the place of your dreams, so you and your guests can have an unforgettable time celebrating this new chapter in your life!

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Everyday Bride

Freelance Writer
October 5, 2022

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