5 Tips For Selecting A Perfect Wedding Venue

It’s normal that the wedding dress be the first thing to cross the mind of a bride-to-be immediately post engagement, but questions about the perfect wedding venue are usually very close behind.  As a bride to be, your wedding venue is one of the most noticeable and memorable parts of your big day; therefore it’s one of the most important things to think about when planning your wedding. Don’t worry if you’re feeling a little stressed out about how to select your perfect wedding venue because we’re here to make it simple (or at least simpler) for you!  Below, we’ve listed 5 must-read tips to choosing the perfect wedding venue.

1. Know What You Want

We don’t mean this as in “I-want-to-get-married-on-the-beach-so-I’m-picking-Power-House-Park-and-nothing-else!”  Rather,  a bride to be should pay attention to the little things.  Okay, you may want to get married on the beach, but if you want a cocktail hour before/after your ceremony, you’ll need to pick a venue that allows alcohol. Some wedding venues do not allow pets, so if you are planning to have your pooch walk your ring down the aisle, you obviously need to steer clear of these spaces. If you’re dead set on having a tiny, intimate, and private nuptial, don’t pick a public park that doesn’t close space off from the public. You get the idea, make sure to ask questions before you decide it’s the perfect wedding venue for you.

Some important questions to ask:

  • How many guests (min-max) can the venue accommodate?

  • Is the venue available for your date? (duh)

  • Do they have an In-House Caterer? If so, ask to see their menu.

  • Can they customize a menu? If not, do they allow Outside Caterers?

  • Is there a price difference for adults and children?

  • Ask about time frame: what is the earliest time to have the ceremony — when does the reception have to end? Ask how much they charge per additional hour.

  • How many hours do they provide for your vendors to set up/breakdown?

  • How much is the rental fee and what is included (tables, chairs, glassware, tableware)?

  • Are there any additional fees?

  • Is there a deposit? How much is it? Is it refundable?

  • Ask about weather contingency if it’s an outdoor space.

  • Ask about venue rules (do’s and don’ts)

  • Is there parking? Is there valet? How much do these cost? Can you get event parking passes?

  • Do they allow alcohol? Ask about price & packaging for bar. Ask if you can you bring your own alcohol?

  • How many restrooms does the venue have?

  • Do they have a Preferred Vendor List

  • Do they close the space off from the public? Is there a security service?

  • Do they offer overnight accommodations? If not, where are the closest

  • Do they have signs to direct guests to event?

Wedding Tip: Remember to ask as many questions as you have that are specific to your wedding!

2. Have An Idea About Your Guest Count

Some venues have specific spaces allotted to events with different capacities. That means if you have 50 guests, your space will be different than if you have 300 guests. You don’t want to choose a venue that you love if you fell in love with the wrong area.

3. Think About Ceremony And Reception

When looking at wedding venues, it’s important to think about whether or not you want your ceremony and reception in the same location. If you do, you need to make sure that you’re touring venues that:

  • Allow ceremonies

  • Have availability on your date for both ceremony and reception

  • Have both a ceremony and venue space that you like

Wedding Tip: If you’re planning on having a religious ceremony, you unfortunately can’t have your reception in your church or synagogue. In this case, it’s really important that you either pick a reception site that is close to the ceremony venue, or provide transportation so that your guests can actually make it to the reception.

4. If You Have A Wedding Theme, Use It

We’re not saying a little contrast isn’t good, but if you’re having a bohemian wedding, choosing the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego as your wedding venue might not really get that bohemian theme across. When touring venues, pay close attention to scenery, structural detail, and location so that you can integrate your theme and décor into the venue.  For example, if you’re thinking rustic/bohemian, go for more natural venues like vineyards, parks, and beaches. If you’re thinking modern, try looking at art museums, luxe hotels, or buildings with modern architecture (like Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla).  For the vintage, romantic classic, or glam wedding, try hotels like The Westgate, US Grant, or The Pearl.

5. Think Outside Of The Box

The most beautiful and special weddings truly reflect the couple’s personality, so thinking outside the box is really important and a fabulous way to make your wedding stick out from the rest.  If you and your babe love beer, you might want to hold your reception at a San Diego brewery. If you guys are obsessed with animals, the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park both have fabulous event spaces. There are literally hundreds of venues all over San Diego and across the United States, so if you absolutely love a space, just ask about their wedding venue policy!  Usually sites are willing to work with individuals for special occasions, and what could be more special than a wedding?

Christine Ong