How to Pick the Ideal Location for Your Wedding

A venue is one item you can’t exclude from a wedding, even when everything else is optional, like wearing a suit instead of a dress and doing away with the flowers and wedding cake. Even if you’re planning a micro-wedding, you still need a place for your loved ones to congregate and enjoy.

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Finding the ideal location is difficult, though. Whether you’re searching for a gorgeous barn, a sophisticated ballroom, a quaint bistro, or a peaceful stretch of coastline, there are a ton of possibilities available. In order to help you discover your ideal location, we asked a few wedding planners to provide their best advice.

Consult a Planner First

Indeed, consult a planner before you begin to see locations. “Organizers possess a greater understanding of a space’s potential, its design, and the resources and time required to bring about significant changes,” says Alliey Kline-Weichelt, CEO and lead planner of Alley & Co., located in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Your planner will be aware of any unique ways to make it stand out and any peculiarities with the area that can make realizing your idea difficult.

Select a Location That Supports Your Goals

“Although it may seem apparent, look for locations that complement the style you have in mind,” advises Kait Costanti, creative director and co-owner of Bash in Bozeman, Montana. “If you’re doing a modern wedding, consider dining at stylish restaurants, art galleries, or warehouse spaces. Conversely, a wedding with more natural features complements outside settings like parks, ranches, and backyards. Your wedding will seem more integrated into the room if you select a location that complements your concept.”

Understand Who’s on Your Guest List

“Before you look at venues, know how many guests you’re expecting to invite. This will help save you from headaches and heartaches later on,” explains Holly Patton Olsen, owner of Perfectly Posh Events in Seattle. “If you choose a venue that is too small for your guest list and more guests RSVP ‘yes’ than you can fit in the space, you might be in a tough situation.” Have that talk up front to find out how many guests you’re actually dealing with—couples frequently underestimate how many guests they will invite (or how many guests their parents will want to add). “This will also help you break down your budget, as some costs are very dependent on the number of people you’re inviting,” explains Olsen.

Recall Your Budget

According to Kline-Weichelt, “it’s more than just how much renting the space will cost,” as establishments that offer in-house catering, such as hotels, would bill by the dish. “Décor and floral design will also drive the cost up.” Be aware of your overall budget and the approximate cost of implementing your concept. If covering it in addition to the space’s usage costs completely breaks your budget, you’ll either need to reduce the scope of your design or hunt for more reasonably priced locations. Olsen continues, saying, “Divide your total budget into categories, giving higher priority to suppliers that have more needs. It will be difficult to remain within your budget when you still have a dozen other people to hire if you choose your location first and then find out it costs more than you should have anticipated.”

Think About Your Visitors’ Experience

“If you’re inviting a lot of out-of-town guests or having a destination wedding, look for a venue that’s near (or connected to) a hotel,” Kline-Weichelt advises. “And keep in mind how comfortable they are in the space. Ask the location how many people they can accommodate comfortably and what is permitted by the fire code. Often, a room’s maximum capacity isn’t a pleasant amount of space.”

Consider What’s Included

“If you’re looking at some venues that are full-service, and somewhere you can bring in your own vendors and décor, be sure to price everything out,” Olsen advises. “A venue with tables, chairs, and linens included might cost 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 they compare when you’ve added on the price of renting things for yourself.”

Additionally, keep in mind that the rental goods that are included are frequently more basic (white tablecloths, regular silverware, banquet seats, etc.), so you could still have to pay more to hire items that better suit your vision.”Additionally, remember to include in both the tax and the tip when working with a venue that offers in-house catering and has a minimum for food and beverages. For instance, the sales tax in Seattle is ten percent, so I advise my customers to add a minimum of thirty percent to the food and beverage minimum in order to cover the tax plus a twenty percent tip. That requires at least $10,000 and up to $13,000.”

Remain True to Who You Are

“With the influx of Pinterest weddings, a lot of couples choose venues based on the style of a wedding they fell in love with online,” Costanti explains. “But it’s important to ask yourselves what feels authentic to you two as a couple, and to choose a space and a design that’s a representation of who you are.” Additionally, keep in mind that while a location may have looked stunning with a different theme or color scheme, it might not be the ideal blank canvas for yours.

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