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How to Select a Wedding Venue

Updated on December 22, 2009

Selecting a venue can be one of the most challenging and important decisions you will make in the wedding planning process. Your venue will set the tone of the ceremony or reception, determine the ease with which your guests attend the wedding, and affect the complexity of your to-do list for the rest of the wedding. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether a venue is right for you.

Inside or Outside?

Inside weddings eliminate the possibility of natural factors such as cold, heat, or rain, interfering with your Big Day. You will not need to bother with a “back up plan,” tent rentals, or fans to keep your guests cool. However, outside weddings are very picturesque and will cut down considerably on the amount of decorating (and thus the amount of total work) you will have to do. If you and your fiancé are outdoorsy types, an outdoor wedding might be a must. If you will have many elderly guests susceptible to certain weather conditions, an indoor wedding might be the best choice.

Reception and ceremony location

Will your reception and ceremony be in the same venue? If you are getting married in a church, it may not offer the setting you would like for your reception. You may fall in love with a setting for your wedding that cannot accommodate a reception, or vice versa. Having the reception and ceremony in one place will cut down on the number of people you may lose in between. Of course, you will want to make sure that the locations for the ceremony and reception can accommodate the number of guests you anticipate.

Consider what you’re getting

It is often tempting to compare the rental fees of different venues at face value to determine which is more affordable. However, take into consideration what is included in your rental. Does your venue provide tables and chairs? Parking attendants or cake cutters? Dinner options? Beverages? “Built-in” décor? A wedding coordinator to help you during the day? While one venue might be less expensive, it might cost you more in the long run when you add these other costs than another venue that is more all-inclusive.

Consider the amenities offered

Consider whether the venue offers the amenities you will need. Does the venue have enough restrooms to accommodate the number of guests who will attend? If you are serving dinner at your reception, does the venue offer a kitchen for the caterer to store the food? If it is an outside affair in the summer, does the venue offer enough shade to make your guests comfortable? If you will have live music, is there a stage and enough electrical outlets to accommodate a band? If a venue lacks some of these necessities, you had better look elsewhere.

Image Credit: Wedding Photography by John Day, Flickr


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  • SallyTX profile image

    Sally Branche 5 years ago from Only In Texas!

    Great advice! Voted up and useful! ;D

  • Wedding Tips profile image

    Wedding Tips 7 years ago from Hudson Valley NY

    I'd love to read more about the different types of venues you can choose from, especially the non-traditional types. Thanks for sharing these tips!