With so many options to choose from, finding the perfect wedding venue can be tough. Never fear! We are here to give you the ABC’s of wedding venues to help you find your perfect match.

A: All-Inclusives

All-Inclusive wedding venues are just that: All. inclusive. Often times they can include things like your catering, flowers, decor, linens, and more – all in one price! Exactly what is included can vary by venue so make sure you ask what is included and if there are any upgrades that will cost extra.

B: Be Prepared

Do your homework! It is important to research venue choices before scheduling a tour. Try to have your basic wedding information narrowed down: how many guests you will have, if you want different venues for your reception and ceremony, how much you would like to spend, etc.

C: Consider Insurance

Wedding insurance may be the last thing on your mind when searching for your dream venue, but it is something to consider. Check with your potential venue to see if you will need to take out any extra insurance policies. Wedding insurance can be found at most insurance agencies and can cover everything, not just your venue. It is always better to be prepared.

D: Destination Dreams

Looking to turn your wedding into a fabulous long weekend filled with family and friends? A destination wedding may be just what you need. If celebrating your love in an exotic place is something you envision for your special day, consider hiring destination planner to help you find your dream venue.

E: Eclectic Venues

As weddings are becoming ever more unique, so are the venues they are hosted at! From fairy gardens to urban-chic city rooftops, there is a venue to fit every couple’s style. If you aren’t in love with traditional venues, going with something more eclectic may just be the perfect fit for you. The wow factor of the built-in decor at an art gallery, museum, and zoo just can’t be beat!

F: Foodie Feelings

If you and your fiance are self-declared foodies with plans of bringing in catering from your favorite gastro pub or several of your favorite food trucks to give your guests a unique dining experience, make sure to ask your venue if this can be done before you book. If you fall in love with a venue that requires you use their inhouse catering, never fear. Some chef’s will prepare recipes you provide so your wedding can still have the decadent dining experience of your dreams.

G: Getting Ready

When searching for your dream wedding venue, it is important to check out the bridal and groom suite. It may be easy to think of this space as insignificant, but you will be spending the bulk of your wedding day getting ready and hanging out in your suites with your wedding party. Make sure the suite is a place you can see yourself comfortably getting ready for your big day!

H: Hold Off On Choosing A Theme

While it may be tempting to pick out a theme for your big day right away, try to hold off until you have your venue locked down. Fitting a theme to your venue will be much easier than fitting a venue to your theme. It is also important to remember that with the right planner any space can be transformed. Who says your bohemian wedding dreams can’t come to life in eclectic ballroom?

I: Insider Insights

There are so many venues to choose from! If you don’t know where to start, ask people you know if they have any recommendations. You can also search popular wedding professional sites for a lengthy list of reviews. Getting a wide range of reviews will help you get a better idea of what your wedding day will really be like.

J: Just In Case It Rains

Even if you have crossed your fingers for nothing but clear skies and sunshine, mother nature may not corporate. It is important to talk with your venue coordinator about a contingency plan in the unlikely event that it rains. Something as simple as a tent rental on standby or another indoor location on site can save you lots of stress later on.

K: Keep Your Guest Count In Mind

Make sure you have a realistic estimate of your guest count before starting your venue search. Evey venue has occupant limitations and you don’t want to fall in love with something that can’t fit all of your guests.

L: Location, Location, Location!

Location can play a key role in finding your dream wedding venue. Consider whether you will be providing your guests with transportation. If you are having your ceremony and reception at separate locations, how far will your guests have to travel? Will you be having a large number of out of town guests? If so, you will want to make sure your venue is in close proximity to hotel accommodations. Transportation can become a large wedding budget item if you are shuttling your guests a significant distance.

M: Manage Expectations

It is important to know exactly what you can and cannot afford before you schedule any venue tours. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a venue you can’t have. Being flexible is key! Try researching what the going rate in your area. This way, you will know exactly what to expect from your potential venues.

N: Negotiation Best Practices


It is natural to want to feel like you are getting a good deal when booking your wedding venue. There is always room for negotiation, however, be careful not to insult the venue representative. Remember that venues put a lot of time and money into bringing your perfect wedding day to life. If you are looking for some wiggle room at an all-inclusive venue, try suggesting substitutions rather than asking for price cuts to the bottom line.

O: Outdoor Opportunities

If natures natural beauty inspires you, an outdoor venue may be perfect for your wedding. From beaches to gardens, the options are endless when it comes to getting married at an outdoor venue. Dress up an already lovely garden for a formal wedding or let nature take center stage as your decor for a more casual ceremony on the beach. Either way, your day is sure to be breathtaking at an outdoor venue.

P: Picking Your Date

The more flexible you are willing to be, the more likely your dream wedding venue will be available. If you are attached to a specific date, be aware that you may have to compromise on the location of your wedding.

Q: Quotes and Contracts

Read the fine print before you sign on the dotted line! Finding your dream wedding venue is an exciting time, but it is important to know and understand all of the nitty gritty details before you sign your contract. Make yourself aware of the “scope of services” and any additional charges that could be added to your original quote so there are no surprises.

R: Restrictions

It is very important to fully understand any restrictions your venue may have. Some venues have restrictions on the amount of DIY decor you can bring, while others may not serve alcohol. Having a clear understanding of what you can and cannot do at your venue will help ensure smooth sailing through the rest of your wedding planning process.

S: Stay True To Your Style

Your wedding should and will be uniquely you. Remember to look at venues that are both aesthetically pleasing and and make you feel comfortable. The venue you choose, like all aspects of your wedding, should be a reflection of your style. If you consider yourselves to be modern, try looking at some art galleries and museums. On the other hand, if you consider yourselves to be classic and traditional, a ballroom or country club may just be the perfect fit.

T: Think About Flow

This may seem like a no brainer, but remember to envision your space in sections. There should be spaces for your guests to dance, eat, and mingle. If you cannot envision all of these areas in your space, your reception may feel cramped. Columns and nonremovable decor are also things to take note of. Could any of these hinder your guests’ view, or do they enhance the space by providing a clear division of the space?

U: Understanding Onsite Coordinators

Many venues provide onsite coordinators. It is important to understand that this is not a full-fledged wedding planner. Venue coordinators are available to help you coordinate different aspects of your wedding that will happen on the property. If you are looking for someone to help you with picking out your other wedding professionals and bring your wedding vision to life, you may need to hire a full service wedding planner.

V: Views

It is all about the view! When searching for your wedding venue, think about what you want your guests to see. Are you searching for the perfect grand staircase for your elegant reception entrance? A big picture window to provide the backdrop for your first dance? Or maybe you want to be outside with an unobstructed view of the sunset. Create a list of which views are important to you and your fiance while conducting your wedding venue research.

W: Walkthroughs are a must

We cannot stress enough the importance of walkthroughs. It is never a good idea to book a venue site unseen. While we love ogling over picturesque images of different venues, it is tough to get a full conception of a space without physically walking through it. If you are planning on getting married in an area you cannot visit, have your wedding planner facetime you from the potential venue as she does a walk through. A virtual tour is better than site unseen.

X: Xtras

Donut walls, giant lawn games, alpaca special appearances, and food trucks are all unique extras couples can choose from to personalize their wedding day experience. If you have your heart set on any unconventional extras, make sure your venue allows for them.

Y: Yes, your venue is important

Your venue is one of the most important aspects of your wedding. For the least amount of stress, we recommend booking your venue twelve months prior to your wedding. It may seem like a long time, but venues, especially popular ones, can be booked out over a year in advance. If you are using a house of worship for your ceremony, make sure they are available before booking your reception venue.

Z: Zzz Sleep On It

After you have toured all of your potential wedding venues, sleep on it. Don’t feel rushed to make your decision right after your tour. Sit down with your fiance and make a pros and cons list to make sure you are both happy.

What is your #1 priority when searching your wedding venue? Let us know in the comments below!


All photos of Castleton Farms by Finch Photo.