Eight Things to Consider Before Selecting Your Wedding Venue

bride and groom kissing near tent

Selecting your wedding venue is one of the biggest (and first!) decisions you’ll make during the planning process. Although this may seem overwhelming, we have collected eight things to consider before making this decision. Your event space has the ability to set your wedding’s tone, which is why choosing your site carefully is crucial. No biggie, right? We got this! 

tuscan brick buildingVenue Featured: Ranch at the Canyons | Photography: Tony Gambino

1. Style 

First off, you need to ensure you are selecting locations that fit your wedding style. Ask yourself: are you planning a classic affair? Consider elegant ballrooms.  A boho soiree? Think outdoor alfresco dining and dancing under the stars. Or more of a rustic event? Look into the picturesque barns or ranches. This foundation will ultimately make or break any prospective venues.  Also, if you’re considering a certain theme and color palette for your wedding, make sure the venue’s existing, nonremovable décor doesn’t clash with your vision.

people dancing outside under bistro lighting

Venue Featured: Brasada Ranch | Photography: Ely Roberts 

2. Budget

It is imperative that you know how much your total budget is, as well as approximately what your design will cost to execute. If adding florals, rentals, and décor on top of your venue space fee exceeds your budget, you’ll either need to scale back your design or look at more affordable venue options. 

ceremony set up facing mountainVenue Featured: House on Metoulis | Photography: Max Grudz

3. Capacity 

Having an idea of how many guests you’re expecting to invite, before you start looking at venues, will help save you from headaches and heartaches down the road. You don’t want to fall in love with a venue just to find out it can only accommodate half of your guest list. Ensure there is ample space for all the portions of the day, from getting ready to the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. Inquire if the spaces will need to be re-used at any point. This will ensure your day has a nice flow, for not only you and your partner, but for your guests as well. 

bride and groom kissing near tent

Venue Featured: Loloma Lodge | Photography: Sarah Lynn PDX

4. Location & Transportation 

Your wedding day is all about you (of course!). Yet, it is also all about curating a positive experience for your attendees, from ensuring that there will be enough space for parking or shuttles between venue sites, to checking in with hotels to ensure that there will be lodging available nearby.  It is essential that your family and friends will be able to travel to and from your event without any discomfort. This will only add to all the amazing memories they create while celebrating your day. 

ceremony set up with fireplace

Venue Featured: Sunriver Resort | Photography: Keni & Co. 

5. Full Service vs. DIY  

If you’re looking at venues that are full-service and others where you need to bring in your own vendors and catering, be sure to price everything out first. A venue with tables, chairs, and linens included might cost more upfront than a venue where you need to rent your own. However, this might be less stress and hassle than hiring many different vendors to pull it all together. (Also, this is where our Partial Planning package would come in handy for those unique spaces!) When you book a venue that has in-house catering with a food and beverage minimum, be sure to include the tax (if applicable) and gratuity in your calculations. For example, many hotels and resorts charge a 22-24% service fee on top of those minimums. 

lodge with wedding dress hanging up outside

Venue Featured: Lake Creek Lodge | Photography: Michelle Cross

6. Date Flexibility & Curfew

What comes first – the venue or the date?  It ultimately depends on what is most important to you – do you want to get married during a particular time of year or potentially land the venue of your dreams? We suggest going into the venue search with two ranges of dates, one that works fabulously (perhaps your favorite season) and dates that simply do not work, and go from there. Also, be sure to inquire about any curfews, it is crucial to be aware of any noise ordinances and/or restrictions prior to booking your venue. 

wedding ceremony inside of ballroomVenue Featured: Tetherow Resort | Photography: Sound and Sea

7. Weather Back-Up Plan

If you do decide to have any portion of your wedding celebration outdoors, always ask the venue coordinator what the weather backup plan would be. Of course, this would be a worst-case scenario, however, you need to ensure there is an indoor option or the ability to set up an outdoor tent, should mother nature have other ideas on your special day. As long as you have this plan in place, if it were to rain – your wedding team can still make the magic happen and you will still have the opportunity to celebrate the best day ever with much less stress. 

Venue Featured: Abernethy Center | Photography: The Soft Season

8. Your Instinct

Lastly, the most important one – your instinct, your gut feeling, the vibe. It is important to ask yourselves what feels authentic to you two as a couple and to ensure the venue or space is a true representation of who you are. You both simply need to feel good about your selection. 

We hope these considerations assist you along your wedding venue search and planning journey. For more wedding day tips, design, and information about The Indigo Bride, check out our portfolio and blog and follow us @theindigobride.

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