Coming in hot with the advice, ready beebs? Because no matter what stage of choosing a wedding venue you’re currently in, I’m sure you’ve realized there is a heckuva lot more involved in the decision than many of us think going into it. So fingers crossed this helps even one person because it’s a big decision.
I’m going to start off easy, just a little warm up basically, but make sure it will accommodate your guest count. Unless you are willing to choose venue first and then create a guest list around how many the venue will accommodate, which isn’t a bad idea at all if you’re looking for an excuse not to invite your third cousins and their entire extended family to your wedding. Then feel free to disregard this first one and fall madly in love with a venue of any size and then work on creating a guest list based on its capacity. But if you want a big wedding with errrrrrybody, this is going to be a big one for you. I personally have fallen in love with small to medium size weddings so throw me a hey girl hey if that’s you too.
I feel like where most people’s mind goes to with a venue is budget. But I don’t really want to touch on that. Obviously the venue you choose has to be within your budget. Okay now that we’ve stated the obvious can we move on to the fun stuff? Okay cool.
Okayyy so we live in the PNW right? Rain & the weather in general can be unpredictable. I have family members that practically drilled into my head “dress in layers” and they were right. It can go from sunny to raining in .5 seconds. Now, having said that, I don’t think anyone that lives in the Pacific Northwest really minds the rain. We love it, embrace it, and are grateful for all the lush greenery we enjoy year round. But, we’re talking about your wedding day here, so better to be safe than sorry and plan for a “just in case” option. I’d recommend looking at venues that offer an indoor/covered and outdoor ceremony location that you will be completely in love with either way. You want to make sure if you have to do an indoor or covered ceremony on the day of due to weather, that you’ll still be dyyyying with happiness over the entire aesthetic and the images.
On that note, make sure the venue has a getting ready location where you and your future husby will be comfortable. As a photographer I selfishly want to add *and make sure it has lots of pretty natural light with lots of heart eyes emojis* BUT even without that I will do my dang best and shoot true to life wherever your getting ready spot takes place. It’s just something to keep in mind if those photos are important to you. Even if they aren’t, it’s still soo nice to get ready in a bright, beautifully clean space.
Keep in mind what is most important to you about your wedding day and what your priorities will be throughout the day. If it’s making sure your out of town guests will be comfortable and well taken care of, check out a venue that has accommodations either on site or just down the road. If you’re all about those PNW views, you may need to cast your net a little wider and be willing to be flexible on guest count, or nearby accommodations, in order to make that happen. There’s a lot of give and take when picking your venue, so knowing your top 1-3 priorities will totally help you find some direction.
My last piece of advice is to keep your mind open to how a venue can be transformed once everything is setup and completely in place. Florals, string lights, table setups, ceremony setup, and music will bring so much life to your venue on the wedding day. However, having said that, make sure your venue looks good as is. Just imagine how insanely beautiful it will be all glammed up on your wedding day. It will completely take it to the next level seeing it all come together.
I also reached out for some help from my past brides on IG and they came through you guys like holy smokes they delivered some solid advice and I want to include it below!!
“1. Price – we were shocked by how much it can actually cost!
2. What’s included in the price – our venue came with a wedding planner. Some places charge several thousand dollars AND require you to hire a planner.
3. Is there housing on site so our friends and family don’t drive drunk? If not, is the price good enough that we can afford busses? Can busses even get on and off site?
4. What are they’re food options? Can they provide food? If not, do they require that we choose from a list of vendors? If so, do we like any options on the list and are any reasonably priced?
5. Do they allow live music/amps? Some of our favorite and most reasonably priced spots only allowed acoustic music!
6. When do we have be done partying? Some need the music off early and we were not interested in a “after-party.” We wanted our venue to let us party until midnight.
7. An inside space that we liked so that, if it rained, we weren’t heartbroken about moving inside. General beauty and ambiance – does it feel like “us?””
And for my babes considering an elopement, here’s a tip from one of my elopement brides:
“For me, I knew we wanted something with great scenery so we could relax and enjoy our day but also get to have incredible views at the same time. You know this since you picked the spot but it was pretty awesome that you had done your research and found a spot just like what we had in mind. I think our main goal for our spot was somewhere kind of easy to get to (because dresses and non snow boots 😂) but not over populated and I think it was perfect! I also loved that you had eyed out places on the drive in to stop after and take more pictures out.”