Saturday, November 22, 2014

Things to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Venue

Choosing a wedding venue is one of the hardest and most important parts about planning your wedding!  It is important to find a place that suits you and your fiance's personality while meeting all the needs of your wedding.  And the venue is going to be one of the biggest finances in your budget so it's important to look around at all your options.

Hopefully you've already made your budget so you know what's in your price range (Look at this post for major ways to save on your budget: Setting a Wedding Budget).  Once you know that, it's good to start a preliminary search based on the location and setting that you want most to see if your dreams are within your budget.  My favorite website to use was Here Comes the Guide because you could get really specific in your search like views, setting, guest count, etc.  And what makes this guide even more handy is that in the description of each venue, it gives a breakdown of all the rental costs.  That is super handy to have because sometimes it is hard to find on each venue's site and it also explains it all in an easy to understand way.  Those that didn't have their prices available for the Here Comes the Guide site, I assumed were too pricey and trying to hide things.

Once you've looked at a few places that you were thinking of, you'll be able to see if what you were envisioning is within your budget.  You may have to make some compromises, but don't get discouraged!  There are hidden gems, other ways to get the feel that you want, or if you're really set on a place, you can make compromises in other areas that have a big impact on price as suggested in Setting a Wedding Budget.

Areas that are important to a venue (I will be focusing on Northern California as that is where I live, but the same idea applies to all places):

This may be what makes a price the most expensive.  Bigger cities are going to have higher price tags.  Try going a little outside the city to save a few bucks (and probably make it easier on the guests too!).

Are you really set on a winery?  Of course everyone thinks Napa, but those wineries are the most expensive.  Try the nearby Sonoma Valley or even the Livermore Valley has a lot more wineries now at a much cheaper price!  (My wedding was at a beautiful winery in the Livermore Valley, Elliston Vineyards.  Check it out!)

Really want an ocean view?  Most people gravitate towards Monterey but there's a whole coastline full of wedding spots!  (Here's a great place that I loved but was too small for my wedding, Landmarks Art and Garden Center.)

Catering Offered
This may seem like it makes a place more expensive but, trust me, it saves a lot of hassle and usually ends up being cheaper in the long run.  In fact, the really packaged places can save you A LOT of money.  It wasn't my thing because I wanted more say in the decision-making process.  But if you're not big on the whole details thing, you should really check out some awesome packages like this cool company that has a lot of great venues throughout California, Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada: Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Center.

Hope this helps and happy venue hunting!


  1. My sister is getting married next month and she has given me the responsibility to book a best vow renewal location for her wedding party. Now I am getting really confused in selecting a good one. You have provided nice guidelines and I will definitely consider these while booking a venue.

  2. Glad to have helped! Check out my next blog about venues too:

  3. Also keep in mind venues where you and your family members are members--churches, Masonic centers, country clubs, synagogues, etc. The church where we married only set us back $50 for a cleaning charge, since we are members, and we did a small reception at the community room of the local assisted living community. The venue, complete with tables and chairs, set us back less than $200 for the entire weekend. If we had been in a slightly different location, I would have opted for the Masonic Center, which is beautifully plush and very affordable. We then went back to California for a vow renewal and another celebration, and the venue cost was rentals of tables and such, since we held it at Jolon's parents' house. It was a wish fulfillment for them, who had dreamt for years of having their son's bride come down their stairs, and a wonderful place to throw a party.