Tips for Choosing The Perfect Wedding Venue by Sarah Canning

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Natural light fan, blush lover, never not dreaming of Mexican food, join me as I share my favorite moments and details from the engagements and weddings I capture in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and beyond. P.S: Exploring blogs is better with a margarita!


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Tips For Choosing The Perfect Wedding Venue

Aug 31, 2022

Choosing your dream wedding venue can be a tough decision, because if I’m being honest… there are a lot of options out there. From small cottages to grand halls and estates, it can be tough to narrow down a choice when you have a plethora of options. With so many fish in the sea, it’s important to know what to look out for when you’re choosing your wedding venue. Over the years, after working at several wedding venues, I have learned the ins and the outs. What works and what doesn’t when it comes to having a well-run wedding venue. This is why I have put together a list of tips for choosing the perfect wedding venue. For the couples who just can’t find the right one or who don’t even know where to start… this is for you.

Tips For Choosing The Perfect Wedding Venue

Everyone’s criteria that they follow when it comes to choosing a wedding venue is different and that’s totally fine! You may want some things while other couples may want others. However, rest assured that there is a wedding venue for any and every couple. All you have to do is know what to look for!

Having A Budget + Sticking With It

One of, if not the most important thing you have to focus on when choosing your wedding venue is your budget. It can be really easy to go overboard and want to go all out for your wedding. I mean it’s not every day that you get married, right? However, I suggest having your budget set in stone and leaving little to no wiggle room. Especially when it comes time to book your wedding venue. Your budget sets the stage for the remainder of the expenses for your wedding venue. It’s important to know where you want to splurge and where you want to save.

If you’re looking for a large wedding with a ton of guests, you need to have a wedding space that can accommodate that. This in turn could lead you to spend a bit more money on your venue. If you’re having a more intimate wedding, you could probably get away with spending less on your venue since you might not need all that capacity. Whichever the case may be, prepare your wedding budget ahead of time and know exactly what you’re willing to spend when it comes to your wedding venue.

Number of Wedding Guests

Tips For Choosing The Perfect Wedding Venue

When choosing your wedding venue, also keep in mind the number of guests you’re wanting to attend. As mentioned above, your wedding guest list will determine the size of the wedding venue you choose. You don’t want to choose a wedding venue that is too small for the number of guests you have attending. If you choose a wedding venue that is too large for your guests, it can lead everyone to feel a bit lost. A lot of wedding venues will also let you know how many guests they allow in their space. So if a venue doesn’t fit your criteria for your wedding guests, on to the next!

Wedding Venue Availability

It’s a known fact that there are busier seasons than others for weddings. Typically summer and fall are the most sought-after seasons. That means a lot of wedding vendors (photographers, planners, florists) and wedding venues will be booked out way in advance for this time of year. Depending on when you’re wanting to get married, this will also determine which wedding venues are available for your wedding date. Most likely you will find a lot of availability (and sometimes discounted rates) during the winter and early Spring months. This may be a great option for couples who are looking to save a bit of money. It’s also good if you’re wanting to splurge on other expenses for your wedding.

What Type Of Look Are You Going For

Tips For Choosing The Perfect Wedding Venue

You should also know what type of look you’re going for on your wedding day. A better name for this is your “wedding theme”. Are you looking for something more minimal or bohemian or luxe and grand? That all plays a role in finding the perfect wedding venue. Some wedding venues offer that perfect look that will help achieve that wedding theme you have always been dreaming of. Make sure before you put that deposit down, that you are finding a wedding venue you can envision having your wedding at.

Know The Amenities

Amenities are incredibly important when choosing your wedding venue. Most wedding venues will offer different types of amenities, each one may be completely different. Some amenities to look out for when choosing your wedding venue are:

  • Lighting equipment included
  • Reception setup & breakdown/cleanup
  • ADA Accessibility
  • Free Parking
  • Outdoor Tent Options
  • DJ/Music Included
  • On-site Getting Ready Spaces

There are a wide variety of amenities that wedding venues can offer. Each one may offer all of these amenities while others may not. Just be on the lookout for this and always ask the wedding venue what type of amenities they offer for their couples!

Indoor and Outdoor Options

wedding venue | Pennsylvania wedding photographer

Our worst enemy for a wedding day has got to be the weather. It’s one of the many things that we can’t control and we really have to roll with the punches up until the day of the wedding. However, a lot of wedding venues offer both indoor and outdoor options, especially for circumstances like this. If it starts raining on your wedding day, everything can be moved indoors for an indoor wedding ceremony and reception. It takes away a lot of the stress that you may have about getting rained/snowed on, on your wedding day. Oh and trust me when I say, you want as little stress as possible. When finding your perfect wedding venue, look to see if having indoor and outdoor options are important to you.

Wedding Guest Experience

You not only want your wedding venue to be everything you dreamed about, but you also want it to be an experience for your wedding guests. Some of your wedding guests may be flying out to witness this special moment, so it’s also important to think about how they will enjoy themselves on your big day. I’m not just talking about the day of your wedding and comfort, although that is important. I am also talking about how convenient is it for them to actually get to your wedding venue. If you’re having a lot of out-of-state guests, maybe your wedding venue should have a hotel attached or nearby for ease of access. Things that you might not think about at first can go a long way especially when it comes to how your guests are feeling too.

Wedding Day Privacy

wedding venue | Pennsylvania wedding photographer

Believe it or not, there are a lot of wedding venues that have more than one wedding happening on one day. I know, I know… shocker but totally true. If having your wedding day go uninterrupted by other wedding guests from a different wedding is important to you, this is something you need to think about! A lot of couples want their wedding day to be private and not have to worry about mixing and mingling with another wedding on the same property. At whichever wedding venue you tour, ask them if they have more than one wedding on one day and what that looks like. Decide in your mind if this is a deal breaker for you or not. This will help weed out a lot of wedding venues to make your search go a little bit easier.

Trust Your Judgment

Above all else though, you want to be able to trust your own judgment. You know when you can just sense something is right? Yeah, that kind of feeling. How does the wedding venue make you feel when you step onto the property? Do you feel empowered? Can you envision your wedding day being there? These are all questions you have to ask yourself to see if you can really see yourself and your partner getting married there. While I’m not saying to disregard everything else we spoke about, I am saying to trust your gut. Deep down inside you know what’s right for you and your partner. It can be easy to be influenced by magazines, blogs, and others in what you “want” for your wedding day or what you really want. Stay true to yourselves and everything will fall into place – trust me!

Tips For Choosing The Perfect Wedding Venue

At the end of the day, wedding planning should be a fun process. Although at times we can admit that it can get very stressful. We always recommend that if this process seems daunting to you, seek out a wedding planner! They can seriously change lives and help take a huge stress load off of you. If you’re going at it by yourself, that’s totally fine too. Take these tips for choosing the perfect wedding venue and roll with it. Take a deep breath, plan accordingly, and know that you totally got this. For more wedding tips, click here!

Weddings

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@sarahcanningphoto

Mexican food connoisseur. Most likely to quote F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Philadelphia wedding and engagement photographer.
Follow along as I share all my favorite things and more on Instagram while capturing couples madly in love!    

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