What to Consider Before Venue Hunting

One of Richie’s coworkers just got engaged. She then asked Richie to ask me to provide a list of venues that we looked at. This is not the first time I’ve been asked this. Why? Well, as I mentioned in my (way) early posts – I basically saw any and every place that could possibly be used as a wedding venue.

And I got out of hand. 44 venues, really? Yes!

And people still make fun of me for it -until they get engaged, and then suddenly I’m the best resource they have. Poke fun all you want – I was just being thorough.

Before I give my recommendations, I will say to those that are newly engaged – you really need to consider a few things before venue hunting. Also, this list is for those that have not a clue where to start looking. (Not meant for you crazies that have known where you’ve wanted to get married since you were in your diapers. No offense, but humor me and read on, please.)

  • Size. Know an approximate guest count before jumping over to see a place. There are some places that may be ruled out before you start because your party just will not fit. Or if you love the place too much, you may consider cutting down your wedding size to fit the venue. Other venues are much too large and you will scramble to find ways to fill the space.
  • Style. Are you looking for something more traditional? Modern? Different? I looked at all of the above because I wasn’t sure what kind of wedding person I was until it was pretty obvious which style I kept gravitating toward. Obviously, you can dress up any place to be anything you want, but it’s easiest when the place already has your baseline style.
  • Location. Do you have a lot of out of town guests? If so, do you want to make it easy for them to get to your venue from the hotel they will be staying at? Many of the best locations we looked at did not offer a nearby hotel (crucial to us) or transportation, and were difficult to navigate to someone new to town.
  • Time of year. Texas has pretty volatile weather, which makes some months more popular than others to get married. You will notice this when you look into prices and they fluctuate by popularity. If you are flexible on your date, I suggest booking a date when your minimums are the lowest. Not only that, depending on the venue, some months of the year are out of your league because you are competing with more than other brides for the spot. Many hotels get booked up in the holiday months to accommodate holiday office parties and are unavailable for receptions.
  • Logistics. Will you have your ceremony the same location as your reception? If so, do you want an outdoor ceremony? Will you want any aspect of your ceremony or reception outside? Many places do not offer an “all-in-one” package. This is a pretty specific request and will help to eliminate a lot of your options.

Obviously there are many other factors to think about (and then some – this is just the beginning of the ride, folks), but this should help before you start the decision making process.

Tomorrow I’ll publish my version of the best places to get hitched in Dallas.

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