What To Look For When Choosing A Wedding Venue

by Emma W.R. on June 11, 2014

Choosing a wedding venue is arguably the most important part of wedding planning. This is where most of your budget will be spent and will help determine many other factors in your wedding planning. There are some important things to look for when choosing a venue.

Number of Guests

Before you even begin to look, you should make an initial guest list. Knowing how many people you plan on inviting will really help in narrowing down which venues you can even consider. Some venues may have a minimum that you can’t reach while others have a maximum that is too small for you. One thing to note, though, is you want to have a good cushion between the venue’s guest maximum and the amount of people you expect to attend. A venue will cram as many people into a room as they can, so having 200 guests in a room that can only hold 200 will result in a cramped wedding.

Crowded_Wedding_Tables

Pricing

In a perfect world we could all choose the venue of our dreams and not worry about what it costs. Unfortunately the world is far from perfect and your budget is extremely important. You can expect the venue to be anywhere from 40-60% of your total wedding budget. This percentage can vary depending on a few things. Are you going to have your ceremony on site? Does the venue include such items as centerpieces and a wedding cake? You may be able to go slightly higher on the per guest cost if you find a venue that includes items that would otherwise cost money. Also, one important fact to remember that any per guest price quoted to you typically does not include gratuity and tax. This can inflate the cost by anywhere from 25-30%, making a $100 per guest cost actually $125. Multiply that across 150 guests and that is an additional $3,750.

Décor

Once you have your guest count and budget nailed down, you will have a group of venues that you can choose from. This is where you can impart more of yourself into choosing your venue. Do you want a fancy banquet hall or a more rustic wedding on a farm? You have to choose what you will be happy with here…not what you think your guests will be happy with. You and your fiancé will be the ones looking at your wedding pictures in the years ahead and you want to make sure that you will always be happy with your venue choice. Don’t be something you’d regret by choosing a venue that doesn’t fit your personality.

Extras

Every wedding venue is different and if you are stuck on a few that you like, consider the following extras to see if one actually has an edge over the other.

  • Is there a lot of space for the cocktail hour?
  • Is there an adequate bar (or bars) for your guests so they don’t have to stand in line.
  • Is the dance floor big enough?
  • Do the food choices have enough variety?
  • Are there hotels in the area that your guests can easily stay at (and do they provide free shuttle service)

These are all important questions to ask yourself for any venue as their answer can really impact your wedding day in a positive or negative way.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sammie May 8, 2018 at 12:35 pm

I think the most important question to ask is is this place within my budget. If it’s not then run! You don’t want to fall in love with a venue that you cannot afford.

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Robert Guilliman October 12, 2016 at 4:12 pm

Pays to compare a bunch of venues, me and my wife saved $75 a person from going over state lines, the same poshness just a bit longer drive.

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Clare M. September 14, 2016 at 10:29 am

Many venues also charge extra to decorate the tables. If you have a friend who is artistically inclined, you could save money by having them make the centerpieces for the tables. With so many ideas on Pinterest, you’re sure to find something that goes with you theme.

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Annie T. July 14, 2014 at 12:25 pm

I agree with April. Planning sounds so stressful – you’d think more people would elope!

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April June 18, 2014 at 3:09 pm

This is a lot to consider, maybe eloping is the way to go!

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