Tips for choosing a wedding venue

5 Tips For Choosing A Wedding Venue 

Congratulations on your engagement! Choosing a wedding venue will likely be one of the first things you do on your wedding planning journey.  Once you have decided on a venue you can start letting your friends and family know the date/venue & you can start booking other vendors for your wedding day.

As you start your wedding planning journey, we want to first encourage you to enjoy the process! Wedding planning doesn’t have to be stressful, in fact we truly believe it can be an enjoyable experience. The earlier you decide that you are going to enjoy the planning process and not just have your eyes set on the wedding day, the easier planning will be and the more fun you will have! Keep reading to find our 5 best tips for choosing a wedding venue.

1. Determine your guest count

Are you wanting a more intimate gathering or are you hoping to have a large celebration? Knowing how many guests you intend to have will help you determine which venues will work for your group size.  This could save you time from touring venues that are either too big or too small, plus it’s no fun to fall in love with a venue and later realize it can’t accommodate your size group.  While you don’t need to have your exact guest list created, having an estimate on who you plan to invite will be helpful as you move forward with your planning. Keep in mind, the larger your guest count, the more your budget will increase as well since you are providing food, desserts & beverages for guests.  

2. Determine your budget

One of the best things to do before diving into wedding planning is to set an ideal wedding budget.  This may include talking to family members to see how much they are able to contribute as well as determining how much you plan to set aside for wedding expenses.

It is helpful to make a list of all potential wedding expenses and estimate how much each will cost.  This list could include the following…

  • The venue
  • Photographers
  • Videographer
  • Florist
  • Catering
  • Desserts
  • DJ
  • Bar packages
  • Wedding planner
  • Hair & make up artist
  • Live painter, decor rentals, favors, etc.

Next it is important to determine which of these are the most important to you.  Is the food the most important to you?  Or are florals a top priority?  Maybe the venue is the most important to you and you will save in other areas depending on your budget.

Budget discussions can sometimes be tough! You just got engaged and we want you to enjoy that time together, but we also know that it’s no fun if you fall in love with a venue and the numbers don’t work out as it relates to your overall wedding budget.

3. Determine other important wedding venue details

Have you considered the time of year you want to get married?  Some venues are seasonal venues, while others are open year round.  If you are planning a Wisconsin wedding and want more tips on the best month to get married, you can read more here.

Is the location of the venue important to you or is it more important to find the perfect venue?  Some couples choose to get married in their hometowns, some choose a destination wedding and others choose a location that would be central to where their families are located.

Are you wanting an indoor or outdoor ceremony?  Some venues have one or the other, while others have the options for both.  If an outdoor ceremony is important to you, we encourage you to choose a venue that also has a back up indoor location in case there was inclement weather.

Are there any other venue details that are important to you?  Make a list of things that you want to make sure your wedding venue has (Wifi, in house bar service, free parking, on site dressing rooms, exclusive use of the venue, ceremony & reception in one location, etc.)

4. Book Venue Tours

Let’s get to the fun stuff!  It is important to know your budget, guest count, and other details you want in a venue but now that you have done some pre-planning, it is time to begin touring venues!  

Consider inviting any family members with you on the tour if they are contributing to your wedding as this could be a fun part of the wedding planning journey for everyone. Keep in mind that many venues may only be able to do tours during the week as they are booked with weddings and events on the weekends.  

Some couples tour just one venue and know it’s “the one” while other couples tour multiple venues before making their decision.  Please know this is your journey and there is no right or wrong way to go about it.  Keep in mind that most venues book dates on a first come basis, so the longer you wait to make a decision some dates could be booked at the venue.

5. Book your venue & celebrate this exciting step

You have done your research, been on venue tours and now it is time to make a decision on your venue.  Maybe you are decisive and just KNOW you found the perfect venue or maybe you have narrowed it down to 2 favorite venues and need to look at them side by side. 

All venues price things slightly different and have different inclusions. Occasionally a venue can appear to be less expensive up front, but they have other required a la carte fees, while some appear to be priced higher but have everything you need included. If you are searching for a wedding venue in Wisconsin, check out our venue comparison sheet to use as a helpful tool to compare venues side by side.

Photo of the inside of wedding venue

You’ve found your perfect venue and it’s time to celebrate!  This was one of the biggest decisions you will make for your wedding day as the venue will set the scene for the entire celebration.

Don’t forget to celebrate this step on your wedding planning journey! It isn’t just about getting to the wedding day, it is about enjoying the process too:)

Follow along on Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest to see more wedding inspiration. If you’re interested in hosting your wedding & reception at our wedding venue near Madison, WI,  feel free to request a tour below.




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PHOTO CREDITS: Twig & Olive Photography, Wanderlynn Photography, Reverie Photos, Theresa McGuire Photography, Copper Antler Photography, Corrina Nicole Photography, McNiel Photography

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