Picking a wedding venue is the top priority on your wedding planning checklist. Having a venue means you not only have a date locked down, but you also have a location! These are two important things you need to have set when it comes to hiring any other vendors. Before you jump into venue tours, you need to know how to pick a wedding venue! Since every wedding is unique, there isn’t one perfect venue for everyone. You need to consider a list of details that will help you narrow down wedding venue options.
One of the biggest things to consider when you pick a wedding venue, is the location of the venue. Do you know what state, city, and area you want your wedding to be? If you want to get married in your hometown, you can cross off venues in other cities! Deciding the general location of your wedding will give you a place to start. If you are looking around the Fargo, ND area, head over to my blog post about area venues. If you are looking elsewhere, you now have a location to put into Google!
Once you have a location in mind, your next decision is the budget. Deciding what your budget is ahead of time will help avoid any issues with falling in love with a venue that is out of reach. If you know the venue is out of your budget, skip the tour and head to more budget-friendly options. It is important to stick to your budget when picking out a venue, because it is one of the first down payments you will make. If you start out over budget, the rest of your wedding planning will be difficult!
Take into account your guest count when you are creating your wedding venue checklist! Some venues hold less than 100 guests, where other options can hold up to 1000! Make sure you sit down with your significant other and make a quick list of how many guests you may invite. This does not need to be a final list, just a rough idea of how many people you both want to invite. Once you have a number in mind, you can start narrowing down venues. If you plan to have 300 people, make sure there is room for everyone at dinner!
Another thing to consider is if you will need one venue or two. If you are getting married at a church, you will need to find a reception space. If you have a ballroom venue in mind, but want an outdoor ceremony, you will need two venues! Keep this in mind when you are looking at your budget since two locations will add to the final cost.
Now that you have a nice list of possible venues in your ideal location, you will need to start contacting venues for their availability. It is helpful at this point to have a wedding date picked out. With a date in mind, you can continue to narrow down your options based on how much room you need. However, if you have one dream venue, you might need to remain flexible on your date in order to find an opening!
When you start touring wedding venues, take note of their layout for each part of your wedding day. Do they offer both inside and outside ceremony options? Is there space for a social hour? You should also consider how your guests will flow through the space. You don’t want to wait until your wedding day to realize your guests have to wait until the ceremony is moved before social hour can start.
Most wedding venues have various restrictions that you need to pay attention to. Some have in-house only catering while others require you to be out by 11pm. Before you pick a wedding venue, look over the fine print and see if any of these restrictions are deal breakers.
Now that you know how to pick a wedding venue, you start booking your wedding vendors! Contact me to book your wedding photography!
Need to cross a few more things off of your to-do list? Check out my other wedding tips!
Alecs Kay Photography is a Wedding & Portrait Photographer in Fargo, ND