What To Look For In a Wedding Venue

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He popped the question and you said yes!

Your family, friends and loved ones celebrated with you.

Your wedding budget is set

And perhaps you’ve already selected your bridesmaids and groomsmen.

And your gown has been ordered and you can’t wait to wear it on your wedding day!

Wow, way to go you boss woman, you!

But the planning is at a halt now, because you don’t have your venue and thus, don’t have your wedding date yet.

Below are 3 things to look for in a wedding venue:

  1. Budget, Location, + Date:

Because your wedding budget has been set, you now have a fairly good idea of what you can afford when it comes to your venue.  You should be spending roughly 11% of your total budget on your venue.  On average, we’re seeing venues cost anywhere between $2500 to $10,000.  There are reasons for these price differences that we’ll discuss in a bit!

Location:  Hopefully you’ve determined whether you want a hometown wedding or destination wedding at this point. 

Kim Hidalgo and Brant Daugherty Wedding, Ruth Bancroft Garden
Adriana Klas Photography

Do you want your guests traveling a good distance or are you just as happy with finding a venue closer to home? This will guide you in the areas to look for in a venue.

Destination weddings may decrease the guest count but cost more per guest and potentially less for you.

Hometown weddings may increase the guest count, cost less for your guests, and potentially more for you.

  1. Space:

What feel/vibe are you looking for? There are outdoor rustic venues, venues in the mountains, venues by the coast, garden venues, luxurious hotels, and low cost reception halls to choose from (to name a few). How much space do you need? Are you having a smaller guest count? Or do you need a venue that can host up to 300 guests? These factors play a huge part in choosing your venue.

    3. Inclusions:

Okay, here is the fun part.  Remember I said I’d talk more about the price gap in venue prices?

There are several factors to that:

  • Location:  You can bet that the venue in the more desirable location will cost more.  It may have more scenic views or be in a more exotic or upscale region with prices to match.  For the lower cost venues, they may be new and are offering booking discounts or they’re in a less upscale/exotic place.


  • What’s provided:
Custock Photography

Many of the higher priced venues charge accordingly because they provide so much! Often, they’ll provide a venue supervisor to represent the venue during your event.  They’ll also include tables, chairs, + linens.  Some even include your glassware and table settings along with some decor for you to use! If you’re even luckier, they’ll include a complimentary champagne toast and coffee for your guests. Note:  Some venues require you use their catering. This’ll be a bigger overall venue cost but you get to add the catering budget to create that total.

For the lower cost venues, you probably guessed it.  They usually ONLY provide the venue.  Some will include the tables and chairs but you’ll

Some other things to note:

-Some venues will require that you use only the vendors on their preferred vendor list.

-Check to see if they require you purchase event insurance and what limits they require.

-When they provide tables and chairs, be sure to look at the quality of chairs they provide.  Some offer basic white plastic folding chairs while others will offer even chivari chairs for your wedding!

-A Venue coordinator is not the same thing as a wedding planner.  Their man job is to represent the venue and will perhaps help with some vendor recommendations and timeline.

Have questions or comments?  Leave the info below!

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