Finding Your Wedding Venue

Have you started your wedding venue search yet?! This is one of the most exciting/overwhelming parts of the planning process for any couple unless you’ve magically found a venue long ago before the wedding and knew, that when the day came, that place would be it; that’s rare. For the rest of the world, we can’t check off the remainder of our items without having the venue locked in so this piece is pivotal. There are so many factors to consider for your venue that can be a little intrusive for someone that’s never done this before.

For my wedding, a million thoughts came to mind with so many variables to consider: I had to figure out what county, then the city, then there was the question of whether it would accommodate my guest list, I also had to figure out how late we wanted to party till and then the dreaded reality of whether I could afford it or not was a drag.

Crystal Nicole Photography

The venue process alone is a monster so we had to make it a service offering on it’s own because that's what our clients needed. Once you're a client, there is a whole research process we go through before we EVEN start researching venues. First there is a fun questionnaire I send out, which allows me to get to know you on a personal level. From there, I pull from my inventory to put together the “am I on the right track” property presentation. I’ll present 3 - 5 properties for you to review and make notes. The feelings and notes that arise from that is what guides my research. A couple hundred emails later and 50ish phone calls later with vendors and venues, I submit a venue presentation with 5 - 10 potential venues that tick the main items on your list. The reason I do this is that oftentimes couples burn themselves out and are so overwhelmed by rules, permits regulations, “admin fees,” and then confuse what’s offered with a particular venue ultimately making a costly choice.

Some couples try to DIY this but after touring a number of venues you’re not as excited as you once were. I try to avoid that for you so that you’re excited every step of the way. The alternative is that you settle but when you find your venue the decision should come almost instantly and then easily.

The reason we do this is that looking at venues is like shopping for a house but not as simple. You need to figure out first (1) your guest count- intimate versus giant family affair. We mainly focus on intimate events inviting your nearest and dearest because we think weddings are that much more special for it. Second (2), you’ll want to intricately envision the vibe of your wedding which goes hand in hand with location. Do you want a destination wedding, a wedding in the mountains, or my personal fave; a wedding with an ocean view. Third (3), figure out if you’re going to hire a wedding planner or coordinator? If the answer is yes, you can certainly have a private estate wedding or host your wedding at a place that’s not conducive to weddings. If you can’t swing the planner then that’s indication you need to go with a more conventional venue space that may be limited in what you can do to personalize your wedding to make it uniquely represent you. Lastly (4), we have to look at the numbers. The venue and catering eat the biggest piece of the budget pie! PRO TIP: From what I’ve experienced with the many dozen couples we’ve worked with, your estimations are typically short by roughly $10,000 to $15,000 for the overall wedding budget. Whatever your budget, add another couple thousand because you’re most likely short.

RECAP

  1. Outline your guest list

  2. Verbalize your wedding vision by listing words like: ocean, mountains, desert, luxury, elegant.

  3. Figure out if you’ll be hiring a planner or a coordinator. This will help you determine the type of venue you can host your wedding in.

  4. Determine your budget for the venue, typically 10% of the overall budget.