Written by Paula Marrero, Marrero Events
Congratulations! You’re basking in the glow of being newly engaged and dreaming about all of the wonderful things ahead. Your family, friends and coworkers couldn’t be happier for you, offering their well wishes for a wonderful engagement! You’ve begun your own Pinterest boards and already envision your dream wedding. You begin to search for the ultimate wedding venue, the location where you both will celebrate the biggest day of your life thus far and you anxiously Google “wedding venues” …. and then reality sets in.
How can there be so many choices?
How can I tell what the differences are?
How do I know which venue is perfect for us?
Welcome to the worst part of the wedding planning process. For most couples, this is the most stressful, most anxiety-filled portion of the entire planning process because there are so many variables up in the air. You don’t have a venue, a date, a “home base” of sorts. Finding the right venue also means committing to your wedding date, which in turn determines many more elements of the scope and shape your wedding weekend will entail.
First things first … don’t panic, and don’t get overwhelmed as so many couples and parents tend to do. Take things step by step and ask yourselves a few initial questions such as:
How many guests (always plan for the maximum that may show up) will attend?
Do we want to have the ceremony onsite at the same place as our reception venue?
Do we have many guests traveling into town for our wedding?
How many guests will plan to be staying overnight?
Where is the ideal location / vicinity we’d like to celebrate (city, suburbs, private estate, etc.)?
What other events will we have throughout the weekend?
Do we have any guests with limited mobility?
Asking these initial questions will enable you to at least begin to devise a listing of potential venues, or cross some off that simply don’t accommodate your needs.
Let’s review a few of the most popular options:
Most couples come to us with the same request, “We just want a unique space and don’t think a hotel wedding is for us.” I get it. I understand that the typical hotel wedding is not the ideal dream wedding venue for most couples initially. However, if the majority of your guests are flying (or driving) in for the weekend, a hotel can be the perfect fit because you and your guests will be the majority of the hotel guests, “owning” the property if you will for the most part. There is also a certain luxury to knowing that once you are settled in, you and your guests don’t have to travel from place to place and you are “home” for the weekend to enjoy your guests, after parties and onsite pampering. This also is a wonderful option if you want to keep the party going long after the reception ends as after parties are easy to facilitate in hotels.
Estate / Mansion Weddings
Ahhh the elegance and glamour of a timeless estate of a bygone era conjures up visions of grace, sophistication and the epitome of romance indeed. However, in reality, while most Estates and Mansions offer a grand entrance and ambiance, they simply were not designed to have larger events with all guests in one room. Therefore, should you opt for an Estate wedding, you either need to be accepting that all of your guests likely won’t be seated in the same room and/or you may need to rent a tent in addition to the venue rental in order to have everyone in the same space.
Museum or “Unique Venue” Weddings
A growing trend over the last few years has been wedding celebrations at landmarks or prominent Museums, Libraries and public buildings.
These venues can offer your guests an experience like no other, while having the entire space to yourselves and enjoying cocktails amongst priceless works of art, timeless book collections and world-class views. However, oftentimes the flow of your wedding needs to be realigned to fit within the parameters of the spaces which were clearly never designed to host wedding receptions. Therefore you need to really think outside the box in your timeline and evening flow.
You also need to love the Plan B (the dreaded inclement weather plan) nearly as much as love the Plan A at the venue. It’s terrible to fear inclement weather the entire time while you’re planning your wedding so make sure to review all of your options before you make a decision.
The best way to approach your wedding venue search is to consult with an experienced wedding consultant who understands your needs, budget, and ideals of the wedding weekend. You may just learn that the venue you thought wasn’t the right fit just may turn out to be your happily ever after!