How to Choose a Wedding Venue

Choosing a wedding venue 101
How to choose a wedding venue

How to Choose a wedding venue
Choosing a wedding venue is one of the first big decisions you will need to make. It sets the foundation for everything else you do. Choosing the venue will impact and set the stage for the entire day. It will have an influence on the size of your guest list to giving your guests a glimpse into the type of event they’re coming to, as well as reflecting you and your fiancés personality. Once this decision has been made all the other pieces will begin to fall more easily into place.
Before you can get serious about your venue search there’re two things you need to determine firt, how many guests you will be inviting and what type of venue best fits your personality. Venues range from country clubs, hotels ballrooms, yachts to ranches.

When trying to determine how many people will be attending your wedding and reception use this guide…This is an industry standard, 65-75% of guests will come if the wedding is considered “in town.” If it is considered a destination wedding, more than an hour and a half away, then you can expect 45 -50% of your guest list will attend.

Another key factor in choosing your venue is determining your budget and the amount of your budget you want to spend on the venue. The industry standard for the entire reception is 50% of your total budget. This includes food, beverages and décor. The venue fee shouldn’t be any more than 10-15% of the reception budget. Often times the venue will waive the fee when they do the catering. Hotels are especially good at waving the rental fee. Don’t be afraid to ask them to wave the fee either.

Begin your search on the web and on wedding websites, like or a local bridal website like for Tennessee. Next make lists and go directly to their website. Read the reviews and begin making your list. Once you have 4-5 venues that you really like make appointments for an onsite visit.

When you begin to visit the venues on your list pay attention to the details, what we mean is look at the condition of the venue from the grounds to the public restrooms. Are they well maintain and clean. What is the accessibility to the ceremony, what is the accessibility to the reception kitchen for the caterer? If the cater has to hand carry all the food into the kitchen this could result in an additional catering charge for you in the form of a delivery fee.

Key Questions you should ask every venue
1. How many people can the venue accommodate?
2. What is included in the venue fee, tables, chairs, linens? What color are the linens? What style are the chairs?
3. What is the total/rental fee? What is the deposit? When is the deposit due and when is the balance due
4. Do you allow outside beverages to be brought in, alcohol and non alcohol? Is there a corking or serving fee?
5. Do you have preferred vendors and do we have to use those vendors?
6. Can we have both the ceremony and reception on site? If it is an outdoor venue ask if there’re alternate location for inclement weather?
7. Does the venue schedule more than one wedding each day?
8. How long do we have to use the venue space?
9. Are there any décor restrictions? Can we use candles and sparklers? Can we move objects around to fit our needs? Is there a fine if we do move objects?
10. Does the venue offer or require day of direction or coordination? What is the fee?
11. Is there a brides room and grooms room available to get ready the day of the wedding? Is the bride’s area large enough to accommodate my entire entourage?

2 thoughts on “How to Choose a Wedding Venue”

  1. I love all of the questions you suggested to ask the venue. I think almost all of the planning in a wedding comes down to numbers, and the venue needs to provide those. The better you can plan with them, the better it will go!

  2. This is some great information, and I appreciate your suggestion to figure out how many guests will be coming before choosing a wedding venue. My fiance and I just got engaged, and we’re trying to start the planning process for our wedding. We want to choose a venue first, so we’ll definitely start out by getting an estimate for the amount of people that will be there. Thanks for the great post!

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