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Selecting A Wedding Venue

Updated on February 8, 2010

This is the most important day of your new life as a married couple so you deserve the best wedding venue for your ceremony and reception. Identifying your wants and budgetary needs will help you on your way to selecting the perfect wedding venue.

Wedding Photography by Jon Day

Venues for the wedding ceremony

Where the wedding ceremony will take place is the first venue we need to consider. How many people are expected to attend, how much is in your budget, the geographic area of the wedding, the time of year, and the type of wedding service wanted are all factor that need to be taken into account in this stage of the planning process. The majority of weddings happen in a church. It is usually the bride’s choice because of her religious association. However, there has been a trend in recent years for brides to have their ceremony in a place other than a church, when permitted. Parks or garden areas lend themselves to summer weddings but there will be some fees or rental charges associated with these wedding venues. If the venue is at a park or garden, you need to find out if they will provide chairs, or an alter, and if so, what the extra fees will be. All of these factors should be entered into the budget column in your bridal planner.

The bride can also consider renting a wedding chapel. Wedding chapels usually have a rental fee, but usually include the minister, music and flowers. For an unusual wedding venue, some brides and grooms have gone for the unconventional option. Weddings can occur at golf courses, castles, zoos, museums, whilst sky diving or on horseback or just about anywhere a licensed minister or judge is willing to perform the ceremony. Unique and unusual venues are usually based on hobbies or interests of the bride and groom or even a sentimental feeling about a place.

Cheap wedding venues

Cheap wedding venues sometimes just require a little creativity. Parks are often inexpensive to rent but depending on the weather, it is best to have a backup plan. Churches may have low fees or just ask for a donation. Cheaper venues may require a little more decorating on your part, so you may have to recruit family and friends to help. Having your ceremony at a unique venue may incur fees, permits, or special licenses, but these are usually only nominal.

Venues for the wedding reception

The wedding reception venue needs to satisfy the same qualifying questions to be suitable - will it be big enough, is the location adequate and is the price within budget? Determining your budget ahead of time can help you decide if you can use a hotel ballroom or should be checking out church social halls.

Banqueting facilities that specialize in wedding receptions can take a lot of the guesswork out of hidden costs. Find out if they can accommodate the number of guests you are planning and whether they have a bar, a dance floor, a sound system and adequate parking for the event. Membership and social halls can also provide a great setting for your wedding reception venue. Surprisingly home weddings are also on the rise. Costs to consider if you are thinking of this type of venue included a caterer, tents, chairs, tables, and decorations. If you have the space for the number of guests and the parking as well, this may be the wedding venue for you.

Alternativley wedding receptions can be held at parks or at other unusual locations such as on a boat, at a roller rink, a zoo or a museum. These can be fun and memorable but ideally you want to carry over the proceedings and keep your ceremony and reception at the same place.

Regardless of where your wedding venue or reception is, a few visits to the site will ensure your needs can be met. Take good notes on pricing and services offered so you will not have any surprises when it comes time to pay the bill. Read and examine any contract before you make your decision. Make sure they understand what you expect and you understand what is expected of you and your guests. Give yourself time to check out a few wedding venues and make the best selection for your special day.


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    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 6 years ago from Georgia

      You gave some creative choices for wedding venues. I never would have thought of a zoo! I voted this up and interesting. :)

    • profile image

      Mark 8 years ago

      Great post Chloe