Figuring out how to choose a venue is one of the first steps in your wedding planning process. Before you jump into your venue search, it helps to have some criteria narrowed down first. Refining your venue search can reduce mind numbing scrolling, information overload, and get you to your perfect venue quicker.
7 Tips to Finding Your Wedding Venue
When it comes to choosing a wedding venue, one of the most important factors is how much you can spend on the space. You should know your overall budget before you start searching for a wedding venue. Break down your overall budget by category and then prioritize more funds for vendors that are higher priority. When it comes to your venue budget, you should know how much it will cost to execute the design and decor you want. If adding that on top of the cost of using the space blows your budget out of the water, you’ll need to scale back your design or look at more affordable venues.
Location is key to narrowing down your wedding venue. Traditionally, weddings were held in one of the couple’s hometown. Nowadays, weddings are being held everywhere – the area where you currently live in, favorite vacation spot, central location for families and guests to travel to, destination spot, etc. Since I grew up in Wisconsin, I’m a little biased but think there are so many amazing locations throughout the state to get married in.
Some key elements to keep in mind when narrowing down the location of where to search for a wedding venue are:
How big do you want this party to be? 100 guests? 200 guests? 300+ guests? You don’t have to have your guest list set in stone but you should have a good idea of how many guests you intend to invite before you start your venue search. Knowing how many people you intend to have will help refine your search but also save you from headaches and heartaches of falling in love with a venue that is either too big or too small for your wedding day.
Wedding and venue styles can be described in similar ways. They can be formal, bohemian, rustic, glam, modern, industrial chic, etc. This might seem obvious but you want to look for a venue that fits the vision of your wedding. If you’re planning a chic and modern wedding, you’ll want to look for venues with modern architecture. On the flip side, a wedding incorporating more rustic and natural aesthetics works well with outdoor venues and barns.
Did you know that The Eloise can host ANY of these wedding styles and beyond? The venue was intentionally designed to be the blank canvas you’ve always wanted in a wedding venue. Let your unique couple style and love story shine!!
Create a list of items that you must have when choosing a venue. Be realistic with your must-have items because the bigger the list, the bigger the budget you’ll need.
Your must-have list can include things like:
This list can go on and on but having a handful of items that are a priority can help refine your search when choosing a venue.
Pro Tip: An all-in-one venue might cost you more upfront than a venue where you need to rent your own, but you should get an estimate from a rental company to see how the pricing compares. Keep in mind that many all inclusive packages have basic chairs, tables and linens and you might have to pay additional for options that match your style.
This goes without saying but you need to do your research. Try to get as much information about a venue before you go tour it. When you do your research, use steps 1-5 to narrow your selection. Does the venue fit in your budget? Is it in a good location for family and friends? Can the venue accommodate your guest count? Does the aesthetics match the style of how you vision your wedding? Does it have some or all of your must have items?
You can start your venue research by scrolling through Instagram and Facebook or doing a larger search using Google and national platforms like The Knot. A great local resource I highly recommend you use for all things wedding planning is The Wed Planner & Guide. The Wed Planner & Guide is a Madison, Wisconsin based wedding planning gem. It has endless wedding planning resources to help you along the way.
Reach out to venues. Please reach out to us!! We’re here to help you and happy to provide you additional information to help with your search. Most wedding venues will not have 100% of their information online so you will probably have to inquire for availability, rental rates, bar packages/pricing, and to schedule your tour.
Once you’ve gotten through your initial search, make sure to check out the venue’s social media pages. Instagram and Facebook are a great way to get more information and a feel for the venue. You can get a “behind the scene” feel for the venue and a glimpse into their day to day operations by scrolling through their feed and stories.
Pro Tip: Create a spreadsheet for your venue search so you can easily compare your top venue choices and narrow down which venues you want to tour.
We love spreadsheets so much that we created one just for you! Click the button below to download your wedding research spreadsheet.
It’s important to ask yourselves what feels authentic to you as a couple and choose a venue that represents who you two are. Don’t try to force yourself into something you don’t like or be pressured into something that doesn’t feel right. You’ll end up with buyer’s remorse and heartache. If it doesn’t feel right, move on to the next one. There are a lot of options when looking at venues so find one that speaks to you and your fiance.
Finding the perfect venue doesn’t have to be a daunting task. You can break it down to 7 actionable steps to keep you on track and having fun. Knowing your budget, location, guest count, and style will help narrow down your initial search. Then, when you research your top choices you’ll be able to refine your search to meet your needs and wants. By the time you go tour your top choices, you will have covered all of the basic information and be able to ask specific questions. Lastly, stay true to yourselves and enjoy the process.
Phone: (608) 338-3610
Photo Credit: Megan Menchaca Photography