One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when planning your wedding is where your big day will take place. But with so many options to consider, it can get overwhelming trying to figure out how to choose a wedding venue! Inside or outside? Church or garden? Big or small? Here’s our best advice on how to choose a wedding venue as practically as possible!
1. Consider Hiring a Wedding Planner
A good planner will help you allocate your budget to get the most bang for your buck! They can save you a ton of time because they already know how much local venues cost (and which ones will take the best care of you!) and will be able to help you find the best fit for your day depending on your vision, size of your guest list, and budget. Too often we see couples book their dream venue before they set a budget, only to find they run out of money to afford other must-haves on their list. Ask a planner to help you determine a short list of venues to tour. Consider off season dates (like winter if you’re in the midwest like us!) if you’re trying to stretch your budget – many venues offer discounted rates outside of peak wedding season!
This is an obvious concern for most couples when choosing a wedding venue. Depending on what time of year you are getting married, you could be battling heat, rain, snow, cold, wind… you name it! For this reason, if you have your heart set on an outdoor ceremony, we always recommend selecting a venue with a backup option. In the event you need to move your wedding indoors, you’ll want to make sure your venue has a tent or indoor location you would be satisfied with if you had to change plans at the last minute. Also worth noting – If you’re the type of person who will be super stressed out making a last minute change to your plan, an outdoor ceremony may not be the best fit!
3. Consider Your Guest Experience
You want your day to feel cohesive, so consider what colors, aesthetic, and overall vibe feels most true to you when selecting a venue. The venue will be the backdrop for most of the special moments on your wedding day, and it will be where your guests get to celebrate your love. If you have a lot of out of town guests, consider venues near hotels or incorporate a shuttle service into your plans. Make sure you choose a wedding venue that will comfortably fit your guests for each portion of your celebration, from cocktail hour to dinner service to dance floor space.
4. Will this be a religious ceremony?
Many couples decide to marry in a church, whether it is their home parish or another place of worship. Others decide to bring their pastor to a different venue to lead a faith-centered ceremony outside of the church. Consider your faith and how drawn you are to tradition to decide on the best fit for you. If you do decide to tie the knot in a church, familiarize yourself with the restrictions you’ll need to follow, as most churches have policies in place to limit distractions during the service. You’ll also want to consider reception venues in relatively close proximity to your church if you’d like to avoid a long commute from place to place in the middle of your celebration.
5. Be Authentically YOU
From Pinterest to social media, it’s easy to become distracted by current trends or to fall in love with another wedding you see pictures of. But your wedding day isn’t about them – it’s about YOU. Pretty much every tradition on a wedding day is optional, so how do you choose which ones to take and which ones to leave? Do what feels good to you and your future spouse! In the end, your wedding day is about your marriage and your promise to each other – everything else is just extra sugar on top.
6. Consider an All In One Venue
Still can’t decide how to choose your wedding venue? If you’re on the fence, look for an all-in-one venue where you have gorgeous indoor and outdoor options. This eliminates the need for transportation to multiple locations and allows you to easily make backup plans for outdoor portions of your event.
In the end, listen to your heart! If you love the tradition of getting married in a church, do it. If you swoon over the architecture and elegance of an ornate ballroom, make it happen. If your dream is to have an outdoor wedding of any kind, whether it’s an intimate ceremony in the mountains, a laid back beach wedding, or a huge gathering of all your friends and family in a beautiful garden, do it! Just work with your photographer and wedding planner to have a backup plan in place to eliminate stress on your big day.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. From wondering if you should have a first look to trying to decide where to get ready on your big day, wedding planning requires you to consider a million tiny details. The months leading up to saying “I do” should be spent making memories with your best friend and enjoying the process, not Googling for hours on end. If this post was helpful, check out our best tips on how to get great portraits with your family on your wedding day or even grab a list of our favorite Cincinnati wedding venues here!
Ready to book your photographer? Reach out to chat more about our availability to photograph your wedding day!