Successful wedding planning always starts with the basics: who, what, when, where and how much. The “who,” of course, is your spouse-to-be and the loved ones with whom you want to share your big day. “What” is the type and size of celebration you wish to have. “When” would be the date you choose, and “how much,” of course, refers to your wedding budget.
So that leaves the “where,” which is among the most important decisions a couple will make in the run-up to their nuptials. The setting you pick has a huge bearing on how the day feels and flows – and how big of a bite it takes out of your budget.
However, choosing the right location doesn’t have to be intimidating. Here are some tips to consider while searching for your wedding venue:
1. COST IS KING
TheKnot.com found that venues are usually the biggest investment a couple makes in their wedding, accounting for about 37 percent of their budget on average. Don’t start scouting locations without a firm idea of what you can spend. If a spot you love is slightly out of your price range, consider that off-season or Sunday weddings often can be less expensive, and many venues include services like food, tables and chairs, etc., that can cut costs elsewhere.
2. MATCH YOUR VIBE
Early in the wedding process, a bride and groom should decide what kind of wedding they want; do they imagine
a small, intimate gathering, a big, blown-out affair or something in-between? Do they want guests to be touched by sweet simplicity, or awed by Hollywood-style grandeur? Whatever theme or vibe they’re going for, the venue they pick will go a long way toward creating it. The setting of your big day says a lot about who you are as a couple, so select a site that fits your vision.
3. SIZE MATTERS
Not only do you need to set a budget before picking a venue, you also should establish at least a rough guest count. It’s important to ensure the location is the appropriate size to accommodate everyone on your invite list comfortably. A site that’s too small can leave guests feeling cramped, and one that’s too large means you’re paying for space you don’t need – not to mention making the space seem empty. Like Goldilocks, find the one that’s just right.
4. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Let’s say you love everything about a prospective venue. The price is right, the ambiance is ideal and you’re ready to put down a deposit.
Not so fast. There’s still one last thing to consider, and it’s a big one: location. How far is the ceremony site from the reception if they’re not in the same place? How does the distance factor into your wedding day timeline? How far will guests have to travel, and can they find sufficient accommodations when they arrive? If guests have any free time on your big day, will they find things to do nearby? Are the surroundings safe? Be mindful of all these factors before settling on a location.
Experts suggest choosing a venue nine months to a year before your wedding. The less flexible your date is, the further in advance they recommend starting your search. It may take a couple of months or more to find the perfect site, but don’t despair. Entering the process with a solid plan will help ensure you get the venue of your dreams.