Everything You Need to Know
Some wedding venues are traditional favorites. They pass the test of time. Others are ideal for hosting a wedding reception after the wows. However, a contemporary bride might look for a wedding venue that suits her unique style. Is there a wedding venue that could be ideal for your planned ceremony? You bet.
You’ll want to start by thinking about where you want to get married first—your hometown, a remote beach, a big city with an airport that is convenient for all your guests—and then start honing in on wedding reception venue options in that location.
What are the different types of wedding venues?
How do you find the right wedding venue for you? An early consideration should be indoor vs. outdoor wedding venues. In the past year, outdoor wedding venues have been the most popular and in highest demand. An excellent compromise is a location that offers the opportunity for indoor and outdoor festivities. Wedding caterers favor this setup because it offers on-site amenities that allow for food storage and meal preparation.
Resort Wedding Venues:
Resorts frequently offer stunning grounds that make beautiful backdrops. Couples can host wedding receptions indoors or outside.
Hotel Wedding Venues:
Some city hotels have small outdoor garden areas, but many offer rooftop spaces. Hotel wedding venues may also provide in-house catering services (and restrict outside caterers.) This can make hotels very convenient wedding reception venues
Vineyard Wedding Venues:
The photos from a vineyard wedding are almost always gorgeous. Consider going when the vines are green or heavy with grapes (they’re lovely, but not quite as idyllic in the colder months when the vines are empty). Some vineyard wedding venues have full restaurant and catering services available, but if they do not they may still have kitchen facilities that your caterer can use.
Estate Wedding Venues:
Another type of gorgeous location that will result in stunning wedding pictures are estate wedding venues. There, you benefit from the structure’s architecture and well-manicured landscapes. And if you’re thinking of having a wedding videographer or drone photography capture aerial views, an estate wedding venue is epic.
Country Club Wedding Venues:
In addition to having an innately special, exclusive feel, country club wedding venues typically offer multiple spaces that can serve your wedding day. From bridal suites where you can get ready, to a separate space for the ceremony, cocktails and the reception, a country club wedding venue offers multiple options.
What are the advantages of indoor vs. outdoor wedding venues?
While outdoor wedding venues provide gorgeous natural light that is great for wedding photography, there are a few factors to consider. Weather can be unpredictable, so be sure to have a rain plan (a tent, or nearby structure that can be used as a back-up), or provide outdoor heaters or air conditioning in extreme temperatures. You may also need to rent and provide bathrooms, transportation, kitchen equipment and waitstaff.
Indoor wedding venues have the advantage of being practically weather-proof. The infrastructure that comes with a building with restrooms, climate control, and an existing kitchen will save you a lot of headaches. We also love a mixed indoor-outdoor wedding venue where you can have some moments of your day outdoors (perhaps the ceremony or cocktail hour), and then move indoors for the wedding reception—or if the weather turns!
How do you choose a wedding venue style?
Maybe your dream wedding has always included an Elvis impersonator and a little chapel in Las Vegas. Or maybe your style is more glamorous ballroom with gilded accents from the tabletops to the ceiling. Whatever style you’re drawn to should inform your selection of wedding venue.
For example, bohemian weddings favor the unconventional and even artistic. The best wedding venues would be theaters or performance spaces, art museums, and sculpture gardens. For classic weddings, a more traditional types, a cathedral or estate wedding venue is best.
For glam weddings, there are opulent ballrooms, regal hotels, and historic estate wedding venues. If you favor a more industrial chic, look at lofts, restored factories, and warehouses. For modern weddings, art galleries, restaurant wedding venues and nightclubs could be excellent choices.
If you prefer to lean more into rustic weddings but do not want to head out to the farm, a barn wedding venue, summer camp or retreat space in the mountains could be a great fit. And for vintage wedding style, we love a historic building—like a train station—or even a pop-up wedding in a field.
How do you choose a wedding venue that fits with your theme?
Look no further than celebrity weddings to find “western flair” and other themes. When you do have a theme in mind, your choice of venues narrows down a little. For example, barn wedding venues are ideal for the ceremony with a western influence. We also love couples who transform their barn wedding venues into elegant, formal affairs. For couples dreaming of museum wedding venues, remember that the other elements of the wedding should suit the overall ambiance of the space, from decor to wedding musicians. Couples getting married at museum wedding venues might prefer a cellist to a DJ. You can even have your wedding cake created to mimic the architectural details of your wedding venue!
Other options like restaurant wedding venues or event spaces are ideal blank canvases that can be transformed into themed wedding receptions. While these styles offer you plenty of room for personalization, other styles need a wedding venue that is already in line with that specific look.
What about elopement or intimate wedding venues?
Secret weddings are not just for celebs. Some couples don’t want to wait for months and months until venues are available, or want to prioritize their funds on the next chapter of their life, opting for an intimate, more affordable wedding celebration (because the fewer the guests, the lower the cost.) Couples choosing to elope might opt for City Hall or the offices of a Justice of the Peace, followed by a small celebration with family, or just the two of them.
What are the most photographic wedding venues?
But if you’re looking for a wedding venue that will make a splash, hire a wedding planner, and dance to the rhythm of a full band, because it is time to look for scenic spaces.
Beach Wedding Venues:
Would you love to tie the knot at dusk, the sun is setting, and the water is lapping at your bare feet? Beach wedding venues are dreamy and timeless.
Desert Wedding Venues:
Or benefit from the beauty of nature away from the water. Desert wedding venues lend themselves towards bohemian and modern styles for the cool or glam bride.
Garden Wedding Venues:
Garden wedding venues are personal. Whether it’s grandma’s backyard, the orchard back home, or a rooftop garden at a restaurant or hotel, there’s a beauty and intimacy that sets the tone for your entire day.
Mountain Wedding Venues:
Are you outdoorsy? Engaged couples might opt for a mountain location that doubles as a wedding reception venue. But think through your wedding dress and shoes choices to ensure that they will fit in with—and survive!—the scenery.
How do you find a wedding venue that accommodates a large guest count?
If you have a large extended family or anticipate a wedding guest count north of 200, you will definitely need to focus specifically on large wedding reception venues, which can require extensive planning and scheduling. Suitable outdoor wedding venues might include botanical gardens, parks, and cruise ships. For indoor wedding venues, you might consider ballrooms, large resorts and hotels, or an opulent mansion or chateau. Because the amount of venues that can accommodate an extra large guest count may be limited in your area (and may even have waiting lists), put your name in as soon as possible.
How much do wedding venues cost?
The nice thing is that there really is an enormous range of price options when it comes to reception locations? From a pricey all-inclusive package at a luxury hotel or resort wedding venues to a small tent in the rural countryside, the location and type of wedding venue you choose, as well as the number of guests it will need to accommodate, have the biggest effect on cost.
Wedding Venue Types & Costs:
First things first is you need to prioritize. Remember that there are trade-offs with every type of wedding venue. If you’re considering an outdoor garden that’s in full bloom as well as assorted indoor wedding venues, just know that the your wedding flowers cost will be higher at the indoor venue that doesn’t come with any. And while a backyard wedding or pop-up ceremony in a field might seem like the more affordable option, the cost of bringing in catering, restrooms, kitchen equipment, and furniture may offset any savings. By thinking through some of these additional wedding reception details and costs in advance, you can get a more thorough picture of what your wedding venue cost really is.
Wedding Venue Location:
Another cost factor is the region. Wedding costs in Hawaii will be higher than in Kansas. In some cases, destinations such as Las Vegas or Istanbul can also save you some cash because these locations cater to the wedding trade. Finally, do not be afraid of the destination wedding in another state. A general rule of thumb: In areas where the median household income is lower, the average cost of a wedding is also less. However, be sure to hire wedding vendors from that location.
Wedding Venue vs. Other Wedding Costs:
If your wedding venue is your number one priority, you may choose to allocate more of your wedding budget to the venue, and cut back in other areas. To save on wedding dresses, savvy brides might choose a beach wedding venue where an ornate, over-the-top gown would feel out of place, but a simple silk slip-dress would be stunning.
And while everybody loves wedding cakes, many couples are opting for personalized cupcakes for the wedding reception as a more affordable option, or even just to make the dessert feel unique. Plus you can still have a small bride and groom cake for that cake-cutting moment.
Most wedding photographers offer tiered plans so that you can choose the option that works for your priorities and budget. Some packages focus more heavily on the ceremony and couples portraits, and only includes a few party shots from wedding receptions.
Are there ways to make wedding venues more cost-efficient?
If your dream wedding venue costs more than your budget will allow, consider theme-adjacent less expensive venue options. Maybe you were hoping to get married on a beach that would involve expensive travel and accommodations for everyone attending, but there’s a charming riverfront wedding reception venue in your hometown. You’ll still get the gorgeous photos that a waterfront wedding provides at a price that is more manageable for you and your guests.
And while you may have hoped to set up a wedding ceremony and reception space in a remote pasture, consider outdoor wedding venues that have an available building with restrooms, furniture you can use, kitchen equipment, and even a rain plan space will save you from the expense of renting a tent, furniture, etc.
What are some affordable wedding venue options?
If looking at a wedding planning checklist and the costs associated with it are giving you anxiety, fear not. Not all picturesque reception spots come with four and five-figure site fees.
Park Wedding Venues:
Reserving space at a public park or garden is a surprisingly inexpensive outdoor wedding venue option. Bonus: you can often have as many guests as you would like for park wedding receptions.
Waterfront Wedding Venues:
A private beach resort or yacht club is always going to be an idyllic waterfront wedding venue, but if that is not in your budget, a city or country beach may be a more affordable version of the same idea. Just don’t forget to research and secure any necessary permits far in advance!
Backyard Wedding Venues:
Not for the faint of heart, backyard weddings at home require more of a heavy lift than you might guess (a wedding planner is a MUST). But with backyard wedding venues, you do avoid expensive site fees, which can be the largest cost of a wedding.
How do you choose a dress based on your wedding venue?
Selecting a wedding dress for an outdoor wedding on the beach is different from picking a gown to wear while walking down a lengthy cathedral aisle. For country weddings in a barn, your dress must be suitable for dealing with the possible unevenness of the terrain.
If you are having all of your day-of events at the same wedding reception venue—the ceremony, cocktail hour, reception and after-party—consider whether you want to change into a different dress for different moments of the day. Therefore, choose a gown that keeps you cool for beach or desert weddings, and warm for forest weddings in the winter months. Waterfront weddings may mean high winds that can make a long wedding veil hard to wrangle. And don’t forget about your bridesmaids! Their dresses should be pretty, but uniquely comfortable for garden weddings or mountain weddings, whichever type of wedding venue you choose.
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