Top Things to Consider When Choosing Your Wedding Venue

One of the first steps to planning a wedding is finding the perfect venue for your celebration. 

This process can initially feel a little overwhelming since there are so many options. Simply Google “Wedding Venues in [insert location],” and you’ll see what we mean. 

However, these options will be narrowed down quickly once you consider your needs.  

We have helped hundreds of couples find their perfect venue, so we’ve compiled a list of the top things to consider to help you narrow down your options and find the perfect fit. 

Choosing the Location

Think about your style and the atmosphere you want to create for your big day. Do you envision a waterfront wedding, a mountain-top ceremony, or a historic venue? Identifying and discussing your preferences with your wedding planner will help you narrow the options and find the ideal spot.

You’ll also want to be mindful of the weather and season. While you can’t control these factors, you can plan ahead by selecting a location with a favorable climate during the time of year you want to marry.  

Consider hosting your wedding in a location that offers additional activities or attractions people can enjoy during their visit. 

Venue Selection

Once you’ve selected a location for your wedding, the next step is to find the perfect venue. The proper venue can set the tone for your wedding and create the ambiance you’re looking for. 

Things to consider


Capacity is a critical consideration when choosing a venue. You’ll need to determine how many guests you plan to invite and ensure the venue can comfortably accommodate them. 

So, if the venue says it can accommodate 200 people, you must understand what that really means. Does that mean 200 guests standing up eating cheese and crackers or 200 people at a seated dinner with a band and a dance floor? 

It’s always a good idea to see a preliminary floor plan showing your estimated guest count with room for your band, dance floor, and bars. 

Most venues can provide this for you, or your wedding planner can create a preliminary layout so you can envision the space with your guest count. Unfortunately, a lot of venues overestimate their capacity. 

Also, don’t make the mistake of planning that fewer people will show up because it’s a destination wedding. Couples often think because guests have to travel, they won’t attend, but that’s typically not the case. 

If you invite 200 people, book a venue that can accommodate that amount, and assume everyone will show up to celebrate with you. It’s much better to have a little extra space than not enough. 

What’s Included

Many venues require you to use their in-house catering, which is terrific as long as the food is delicious. Some provide tables, chairs, china, and linens, which can be a cost saver, but we have found that most of our clients do a rental upgrade on most of these items to elevate the overall look. 

In the end, know what you’re signing before you book the venue. And ideally, don’t sign the contract until you run it by your wedding planner. We know all the little details and verbiage to look for to ensure you’re getting the most out of your choice.

Food & Beverage Minimums 

Most venues that offer in-house catering will require a food and beverage minimum. This can often range from $15K to as much as $50K before tax and service charges, which can run an additional 20%-30%. 

We strongly recommend that you get a preliminary proposal for the catering based on your minimum guest count before moving forward with a contract.  


Remember that most venues have set start and end times and must comply with the local noise ordinance. 

If you are having your ceremony at the same location as your reception, we recommend a minimum of 5 hours and ideally 6 hours. 

You will also want to know when vendors can begin their setup. The number of hours available for setup will impact the overall design possibilities. 

Rain Plan

Be sure the venue has a good rain backup plan for both the ceremony and reception. The weather is the one thing even the best wedding planner can’t control, but they can guide you on the best rain backup plan. We always tell our clients, “The better the rain plan, the better the weather!” 

Bridal Party Suite 

A getting-ready suite for the bridal party is always a big plus. Having all the girls together at the venue in the morning for hair and makeup, and perhaps some mimosas and a little brunch is one of the best parts of the day. 

A bridal suite also offers much more room than most hotel rooms, providing plenty of space for the bridal party and the moms, grandmoms, hair and makeup stylists, photographer, and videographer. 

Let’s Get Started

Planning a destination wedding can be daunting, but with careful planning and the help of a wedding planner, it can be a stress-free and unforgettable experience. Contact us today, and let’s start the journey to something beautiful.

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