Before You Choose Your Perfect Wedding Venue

The proposal was beautiful and you said YES! So what’s next? Of course, share the good news with your family and friends. Take time to celebrate this new beginning. And begin planning! Planning your wedding and reception does not have to be a stress-induced time for you as a newly engaged couple. It can be a really enjoyable time where you create a celebration that will be a stepping stone to a great life together. Likely, the biggest decision you will need to make when you plan your wedding is the VENUE. According to The Nest, couples should plan to spend close to 50% of their budget on the wedding reception venue. That is no small potatoes, so we are here to calm your nerves and give you the tools needed to choose the perfect wedding venue.
We are going to break this into three parts.

Part One: Before You Choose Your Venue

Formal Wedding at The Ballroom at The Willows event venue in Indianapolis, Indiana1. Create your vision

Think of this as large brushstrokes. It isn’t time for the nitty gritty and every detail does not matter here. But what are a handful of features that you both want for your wedding and wedding venue? Are you thinking an outdoor wedding? Will this be a formal affair? Traditional? Modern? Spend some time imagining your dream wedding venue. What does that look like? What is exciting is that there are so many incredible venue options available these days and your venue can be the cornerstone of your wedding vision.  From the re-purposed urban warehouse to a lovely intimate wedding overlooking a beautiful lake, there are endless venue options available to couples. Taking time to create these brush strokes will serve as a guideline as you move forward.

2. Determine your budget

This is so important and can truly help you avoid much of the planning stress and fatigue couples experience. If you are not ready to do a detailed budget, developing a draft budget can provide you with a solid framework for choosing your venue. If you have no idea where to even begin when budgeting for your wedding, check out "How Much Does a Wedding Cost?" for some good advice.

Wedding Ceremony The Gardens at The Gardens at The Willows3. Choose a location

Traditionally, weddings took place in the bride’s hometown, but the times have changed and the options are limitless. Do you want to be married in one of your hometowns or maybe you are well established where you currently live and that seems like the best place to celebrate your nuptials?  There are so many options: a destination wedding, a friend’s backyard, a favorite vacation spot, a place you both love. Think about it all and see what feels best for both of you. 

4. Determine an approximate guest count

Having some idea of how many people you want at your wedding will save you a great deal of time when looking at wedding and wedding reception venues. Certain venues are perfect for a more intimate wedding reception and others are designed to accommodate a larger event. Most weddings fall into the following ranges: 0-50, 50-150, 150-300, and 300+.

5. Choose optional dates

The perfect venue is not so perfect if it isn’t available. Your ability to be flexible can be very helpful. Remember some venues for both the wedding ceremony and the reception can be booked up 12 – 18 months in advance. Consider the time of year you would like to be married. Come up with a variety of weekends that would work. This is also the time to check with family and friends that you definitely cannot have your wedding without. Picking a wedding date that is the same day your younger sister graduates from college, probably would be something to avoid.
And weddings don’t have to be on a Saturday either. Friday and Sunday options can provide real cost savings. Finally, are you interested in a daytime reception or an evening reception? A Sunday brunch wedding is a creative new option for weddings that will likely save you some money, and who doesn’t love a Bloody Mary bar?

6. Search online for venues that fit your criteria of location, size, and vision.

Reach out to the venues you chose and start with two basic questions:

  1. Are these dates available ?
  2. Can you accommodate our guest count? 

Once you get those covered, it is time to pay a visit.


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