Planning a wedding is a lot! A Lot a lot. One of the biggest and most often trickiest of decisions is the venue! There are so many things to consider and before your other vendors can be nailed down, you need to have a venue to have it at!
Here are five things to consider when choosing a wedding venue!
Depending on whether or not your date is flexible, it is good to start seriously considering your venue anywhere from 12-18 months ahead of time. Venues book “prime dates” during “prime season” way in advance. In Phoenix, wedding season is from from mid September through May. We have beautiful weather during those months so it tends to be opposite of most parts of the country! With all of that being said, I have seen couples book venues up to two years in advance and as little as three months in advance.
Are most people local or coming from out of town? If you have a large percentage of guests attending from out of town, is there a hotel nearby? If the ceremony is at a different location than the reception, you’ll need to consider people traveling from one spot to the next in the timeline. As a biased photographer, what are the options for photos? Are you confined to a small area, will you need to make extra time in the timeline for traveling offsite?
When looking at your budget, what does the venue include? Is it just the space you are renting or does it include tables, chairs or have some catering options? If you are hoping to bring in your own catering, is that allowed or is it necessary that you work with what they provide? On average, 50% of a wedding budget is spent on the venue.
How many people are on the guest list? Do you and your fiance have large or small families? Have you split it up into an A list and B list? Either way you want to have a general idea, within 25-30 people, of how many people are to be expected.
Most importantly, does it reflect who you two are?! You want the ambiance to match the desired feel you are going for. Are you looking for small and intimate gathering of your closest 30-50 family and friends or formal ballroom of a resort with tall ceilings where you can do dramatic uplighting? Do you want to be outdoors or have everyone in a climate controlled room? Most of my couples are either transplants to Arizona or are having a destination wedding and are wanting to highlight the beauty of the desert and the wonderful weather we have throughout the fall and winter! Because of that, many wedding venues in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area are outside showcasing the desert!
Disclaimer. I HIGHLY recommend hiring a planner! They are very familiar with venues, maybe even ones you wouldn’t necessarily think of or even know aboutt! Just like I am an expert on light for the perfect image, they are experts on how to set up rooms and can easily determine how they flow with different sized groups of people in them.
Considering these five things should help narrow down the venue options to just a few. And once the wedding venue has been decided on that means you have a set budget and can begin to decide on the rest of the vendors! It’s long process to plan a wedding, but a fun one! Thee absolute most important part of this whole thing?! Enjoy the ride!