It's where it's all going to take place. You'll walk down that aisle engaged and when you walk back out you'll be married, at least a little teary eyed + chock full of happiness.. as you should be! Finding your dream wedding venue can be daunting, especially if you're new to the wedding world. Here are five tips that you should figure out before you start hunting for the perfect venue:
1. Budget + Date
Budget? If you haven't heard of her, get to know her now! Finding a venue is hard when you have no idea what you should be spending. Many venues book out over a year in advance, so this should be at the very tippy top of your To-Do list! If spending four figures gives you anxiety, it's easiest to break it down like this: you will probably never have to pay for any venue 100% up front. Most places take a percentage of the cost as a booking fee and you can pay the rest off throughout the rest of your engagement. Another reason to book your venue as far out as possible!
Also, it's hard to book a venue when you don't have a date set. Trust me when I say this, every season is beautiful and every season has a chance of awful weather. Pick a date and let it be, girl.
Pro Tip: Some wedding venues give discounts for holidays, weekdays, or Sunday wedding dates. It doesn't hurt to ask!
2. Find Your Vibe
Are you a rustic bride that loves burlap and daisies? Do you prefer modernism with an elegant twist? There are no shortage of beautiful barn venues here in the Midwest, but a modern bride might need to do a little more hunting!
3. Inside vs. Outside Ceremonies
In a perfect world, the most prepared venues have an option for both. Just in case of acclimate weather, the venue crew will be ready to switch an outdoor ceremony to an indoor at a moments notice, or hold off the timeline until the weather passes. Personally, I love love love photographing outdoor wedding venues, but have shot in some gorgeous indoor venues and churches. Whichever you prefer, it's really up to you!
Pro Tip: As a wedding photographer, I always have at least 8 clear plastic umbrellas for a rainy day drizzle to protect that hair + makeup, flowers + boutonnieres! You can always supply your own, too. I bought mine on Amazon!
4. Search the 'Gram
Instagram is being used as a search engine more and more these days. Ask me how I know ;) Instagram is a perfect place to find venues.. and any other wedding vendor as a matter of fact! Search #hashtags and locations in the search bar for local cities. For instance, I'd use #ViroquaWeddingVenue or #LaCrosseWeddingVenue a lot, so you might find me and other wedding photographers + venues there. If you wanted to broaden your search, try a hashtag like #WisconsinWeddingVenue and you'll get a wider range!
5. Locate A One-Stop-Shop Venue
Imagine not having to travel at all the day of your wedding. Your hair and makeup artists have a place to set up shop, private (and gorgeous!) getting ready rooms for both bridal parties, the aisle is a short distance away as well as your reception + dining area. Yes, girl. A place like this is totally possible! And to be honest, it's a photographer's paradise. No travel means more time for fun portraits + time to party! If you can't find a local venue you love that doesn't meet this criteria, no worries. Simply work closely with your wedding planner, photographer and/or videographer and make them aware of travel time between places. They will most likely do their own homework before your wedding day, but it's important to keep the line of communication open! Country Clubs are always a classic!
Phew! That was a lot! Okay, girl. Get out there and search! I can't wait to see what you find!
Screenshot to save this PDF below for an easy reminder.