What to Expect When You’re Planning a Wedding – Part 2

So now that you have established a budget for your wedding, the next step is very important. There are two important decisions to be made and they are dependent on one another: the venue, and theme. These elements make up the foundation for the look and feel of the wedding. For this edition, we will take a look at the basics for choosing your venue.

Your venue is more than just a place to host your celebration; it sets the stage for the story of you and your fiance, as a couple, moving into a new chapter in your lives. Your venue will help shape and develop your wedding theme and decor and vice-versa. Before choosing the wedding venue that’s right for you, there are a few factors you need to consider:

  1. How large do you want your wedding? How many guests do you expect to attend? Having a general idea on the size of your wedding is crucial when looking at potential venues for both the ceremony and reception.
  2. What type of ceremony do you want to have?
    • If you are having a religious ceremony at a place of worship, be sure to ask if there are any specific guidelines or limitations for decorating, taking photos, dress code, etc.
    • In the event that you and your fiance (or families) have different religious beliefs, consider honoring both faiths by hosting your ceremony at a neutral venue so you have the freedom to exercise traditions each religion.
    • If you are not religious but want to incorporate a spiritual aspect to your ceremony, consider sharing your nuptials in a natural location like the arboretum, vineyard or beach.
  3. How much time and effort are you willing to invest in the venue? This is especially important when considering non-traditional wedding venues like a museum, barn, park, etc., because you likely need to make arrangement for set up and tear down of tables, chairs tents, lighting and other essentials. You’ll also need a back-up plan to account for changes in weather conditions, especially for outdoor events.

There are four main types of venues to consider for your wedding:

  1. Traditional venues include reception halls, country clubs, and restaurant banquet halls. The advantage to using this type of venue is that the site is accustomed to hosting weddings so they are equipped to handle all of your wedding needs from tables and chairs to linens, dinnerware, food, alcohol, etc. These venues typically accommodate guest lists from 100-400 people. The downside: there may be limitations to the layout or decor options which might make it feel a bit cookie-cutter.
  2. Private Residences also include private and public estates where the ceremony and reception are typically held in the same location. These venues can feel grand yet intimate and have a lot of flexibility with regard to decor and layout. Guest list accommodations are dependent on the size of the property. The downside: these venues can be more expensive than they appear. You will responsible for renting nearly all the supplies and big-picture details like the tent, parking logistics, dance floor, lighting, etc.
  3. Destination locations are great getaways for both you and your guests. Many couples choose exotic locations with festivities that span several days. Choosing a destination location is great for smaller, more intimate weddings usually with guest lists no larger than 75 people. Be sure to find out the specific marriage license rules and regulations to ensure hassle-free nuptials. The downside: this is typically more expensive for your guests to attend. Coordinating wedding details from out of the area can also be challenging unless you have an experienced planner who has worked in that location before and has resources available to organize all the details for you remotely.
  4. Unconventional venues include (but not limited to) air museums, botanical gardens, art galleries, roof-top terraces, warehouses, etc. Choosing this type of venue is sure to deliver a truly unique wedding experience. With regard to cost and guest accommodation, these venues run the gamut from budget-friendly to over-the-top; it all depends on the specific location and how resourceful you are at finding great deals. The downside: much like private residence venues, you can bear the burden of rental costs and responsibilities. However, a high risk can yield a high reward.

Once you chosen locations for both your ceremony and reception, securing your wedding date is the next step. As we mentioned earlier, your venue and theme work hand in hand with one another to create the big picture for your wedding day vision. We’ll talk more about theme in our next series installment. For now, rest in the fact that in all the decisions that lie ahead, you’ve already made the most important one: finding the love of your life.


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