There’s a very good chance that choosing your wedding venue is one of, if not the first big decision you’ll make after deciding to get married to your person. If you’re hiring a wedding planner (which, of course, we highly recommend), they’ll be able to walk you through this entire process. Regardless, it’s still helpful to understand how your wedding planner will source venues for you and what questions they might ask. If you’re doing this sans planner or if you opted for partial planning or wedding management, this guide will be super useful in helping you figure out how to choose your wedding venue!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million more times: your budget and guest count impact nearly every aspect of your wedding planning. Your overall wedding budget will dictate how much you should spend on your venue(s), which automatically narrows your venue options. When it comes to your guest count, you can’t fit 200 guests into a venue that holds a maximum of 120 people, and you wouldn’t necessarily want to put 50 people in a ballroom made for 300.
Whether you’re planning on having your ceremony and reception in two different locations or just one, knowing that will help you choose a wedding venue. If they are in different locations for religious reasons, there’s a good chance you have your ceremony location pre-selected. If it hasn’t been selected yet, you may need to tour churches, synagogues, or mosques in addition to reception venues. Either way, be sure to still keep all of these tips in mind for your ceremony location, though they may not be as important as when picking your reception venue.
Are you thinking of having a country chic party or a luxe affair? Those are two wildly different vibes for a wedding, and you likely wouldn’t have them in the same venue. You don’t have to have a set theme or strong aesthetic yet; just try and decide where on the casual to luxury spectrum you fall. If you’re hoping for a black tie event, then you can probably cross barn venues off your list.
This is where you can start getting more nitpicky with things (but not too nitpicky). Have you always dreamed of having your first dance under a chandelier? Want killer photos of you walking down a grand staircase? Need to make sure that your family is less than 10 minutes away from their hotels? Determine what you want, need, and don’t want out of your wedding venue and make a list!
Now you can start on research! Skip over venues that don’t fit your general vibe, won’t hold your guest count (or are way too big), have anything on your “don’t want” list/are missing things from your “need” list, or are out of budget. Keep in mind that you might need to fill out contact forms to get pricing information, so it’s extra handy to have a wedding-specific email to keep all of that info contained!
Once you have a list of venues, rank them based on your specific criteria. I recommend looking at how many items on your “want” list are checked off and comparing general looks to choose your favorite 3-5 spaces to tour.
If you haven’t already been in contact with your top venues, go ahead and reach out now! Get any additional information they have to offer and schedule a tour to see the space in person. I recommend that you and your partner both attend tours so both of your opinions are considered.
Does one venue have a gorgeous getting ready space but another has those upgraded linens you’re dying for? I’m a big fan of pros vs cons lists! You don’t automatically have to select the venue with the longer pros list. This just gets everything out on paper so you can visualize your priorities.
You’re likely not the only person involved in this wedding with opinions, so be sure to talk things through with your partner and anyone else whose opinion may be helpful such as parents, a best friend, or (especially) your wedding planner. You’ll also want to compare any additional information such as if furniture is included, rental timelines, etc. You may even want to request sample contracts if you’re having a hard time deciding.
Now that you have allllll the info, it’s time to choose your venue! There’s a good chance you have a clear winner already! But if not, go through your priorities again and continue narrowing your choices until you’ve found the one.
If you’re looking for a Kansas City wedding planner or need help choosing a wedding venue in the Kansas City area, don’t hesitate to reach out! In addition to full-service wedding planning, partial wedding planning, and wedding management, we also offer individual wedding planning meetings to talk over any tough spots throughout your planning process (like how to choose a wedding venue). You can find out more or contact me. Happy planning!
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