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Wedding Venue Options

Everyone has their own idea of the perfect wedding. There’s so much to consider…the ceremony, the bridal party, the reception, the food…and all the other little details. Some women have had their wedding plans organized for years, even long before that special someone came along!

In reality, however, how elaborate our wedding will be depends largely on our budget. When the budget is high, the sky’s the limit. When you’re planning a wedding on the proverbial shoe string, the options are a little narrower. As you begin to search for that ideal wedding venue, you’ll get a good idea of just what things cost these days and you’ll better be able to narrow down the choices in your budget range and make a final selection.

The Search

Thankfully, there are a host of options available when it comes to choosing a suitable wedding venue for the type of affair you’re planning, whether it will be ultra-extravagant or pretty low-key. However, when you’re shopping for that venue, you need to remember to ask questions because – often – what you see isn’t what you get.

It’s traditional for the bride and groom – and often the bride’s parents, if they’re paying – to shop together for wedding venues, particularly for the reception. As you make the tour of those venues in your area, keep a log of what you like or dislike about each location and ask questions such as:

o How many people will the room accommodate? (i.e. banquet-style or for a sit-down dinner)

o Can you choose linens and other décor? Can you decorate yourself?

o What are the catering options? In-house? Can outside food be brought in?

o Can you taste the food?

o Do they have a liquor license?

o Is the room handicapped accessible?

o Is a deposit required?

o What is the payment schedule?

o Is there ample parking on site?

o Is there room for a DJ or band?

o Is there a room the couple can use to change?

o If outdoors, is there an option if weather is inclement?

These questions and others you might think of are essential to determining if a venue is right for you. Ideally, visiting the venue during a wedding reception is a great idea, if such a visit is permitted. This way, you can not only sample the food but also see if things run smoothly.

Venues to Consider

Depending on where you live or where you’re getting married, there may be a host of different venues from which to choose. If you’re in a rural area, you may have fewer choices. Here are some considerations.

o Hotel banquet rooms – If you are in or near a large city, these are a very logical choice. Many hotels have huge banquet rooms that can accommodate several hundred people at a time. Generally, catering is onsite and there is a wedding/event planner on staff at the hotel. Often, these need to be booked far in advance.

o Catering halls – Some towns have catering halls that are not affiliated with a hotel or restaurant. They are designed specifically for the purpose of accommodating social events or business meetings/conferences. Often, there is a catering service linked to the venue but sometimes you can choose your own caterer. Prices vary with the services offered.

o Community rooms – Your local fire company or community center may have a room that they rent out for wedding receptions. These are often low cost and you can usually choose your own caterer for the event. There may be limitations on decorating, etc. but, usually, these are ideal for lower budget weddings.

o Outdoors – If you’re getting married when the weather is pleasant, you might be considering an outdoor wedding. These can be held in your own backyard or perhaps on the grounds of a local B&B or even a vineyard. Obviously, using your own property keeps the cost down. Be sure, however, that whenever you’re considering an outside option, there’s room for a tent or for guests to go inside in case of bad weather.