How to Choose Your Perfect Wedding Venue
10 Questions to Ask Your Venue Before Booking
How to Choose Your Perfect Wedding Venue
*This is Part One of our wedding venue series. Check out part two here: 10 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue Before Booking
How do you choose a wedding venue? Choosing your venue might be the most important wedding planning decision you will make (other than deciding who to marry)!
You can’t make most of your other plans without choosing your venue first. You can’t choose or send out invitations or schedule any professionals like photography, catering, or music until you are certain about your date which you will need to be sure is available at the venue first and foremost! So, here are some questions to ask your venue before booking!
1. Search for venues within your budget window.
First, you will need to understand your venue budget. The average cost for a full day event space in 2021 is about $13,000. Of course while some venues charge more than that, many wedding venues aren’t quite that pricey. There are even a few places you can get hitched for under $1,000 (get in touch about our elopement photography options)!
Venues around Middle Tennessee, though, seem to range from about $1,000 to $6,000. But most venues on the pricier end come with lots of perks like free use of their tables and chairs and truly unique experiences.
Your venue and your photographer are probably the most important things to consider for your wedding. It may be worth expanding your budget window and cutting back elsewhere for your perfect spot.
2. Location, location, location.
Another important factor to consider is location. Some of the most beautiful wedding venues are tucked away in places you don’t usually go. Are your family and friends able to travel a bit to attend? If not, you might want to stick to a wedding venue in a more accessible location like the city.
Pro tip: If a little bit of driving is do-able, look in places close to your target city, too. Just a little bit of driving takes you out of the city and opens up lots of new possibilities! If you happen to be getting married in Tennessee, check out these curated venue guides to help simplify your decision.
3. Consider your guest count and the capacity of the venue.
Next up to think about is capacity. How many guests do you expect to attend? This can be tough because you can’t send out invites before choosing a location so you won’t have been able to count your RSVPs yet!
Most people say that about 75% of your guest list will actually attend unless you have a lot of guests from out of town in which case that percentage is closer to 50%.
In my experience this is typically true. With this said, it’s always safer to guess higher than lower and avoid a hot, cramped, and uncomfortable experience for you and your guests.
Use your guest count to estimate how many guests you will have and that should help you choose a venue. Many wedding venues will only seat up to 150 people so if you are expecting more you can easily cross a few off your list.
Knowing how many guests you will have and the capacity of the venues you are looking at will help you find a venue that works for you!
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4. Look for great lighting!
This cannot be stressed enough! Something to consider when choosing a venue is lighting.
It’s not the most important factor when choosing a venue because a good photographer will be able to shoot most places, but good lighting makes for the best pictures. At the end of the day, the pictures are the only thing you really get to keep!
If your venue is outdoors, you won’t have to worry much about this (just be sure not to have the ceremony when the sun is too high- your photographer can help you choose the perfect time if you aren’t sure).
If you are looking for an indoor venue, make note of nice windows that let in lots of natural light. This is a great way to amplify your photos and have an airy feel to your day.
The next best thing would be for the venue to have neutral colors like white, beige, or gray on their walls and ceilings. This allows your photographer to bounce light in a flattering way to have you looking your best in your photos. Strong colors like black, brown, forest green, and other dark can make things more difficult if there is little natural light.
You’re welcome to pick my brain on what “good lighting” means. I’ve been to a billion venues at this point and can tell you which ones are great. Just reach out.
Some venues have tables and chairs you can use that are rolled into their price or at an extra cost. If not, you will need to consider the costs associated with renting such things in your budget.
5. Go with your heart.
For real. You can get straight scientific with your search, but at the end of the day you have to pull the trigger on the venue that speaks to you and your fiancé. The trick is to narrow down your options to just a few that fit you well so that no matter which your heart calls for, you are in a winning situation.
This short guide will help you narrow down your venue hunt to just those that fit your and your partner. Once your are ready to visit some venues, don’t forget to ask these 10 Questions Before Booking Your Venue.
More Wedding Resources:
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Enjoy this list of the very best venues available with images, detailed information, and contact lists. I’ve spent years photographing weddings to be able to bring this to you!
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