13 Things to Think About Before Booking a Wedding Venue

Picking a venue sets the foundation for your entire wedding ... so, no pressure! The property you choose will influence the overall feel of your wedding as well as be one of the biggest impacts on your bottom line. Before picking the spot where you will begin your happily ever after, you want to make sure you are asking the right questions. Jess Levin from Carats & Cake got the inside scoop from some of the wedding industry's best.

The Plaza
Photo by Christian Oth Studio

Go with Your Gut

"I would say the most important thing to consider is trust! Trust your instincts about the venue, from the space to the team you will be working with."

- Emily Reifel, Senior Social Sales Manager CPS Events at the Plaza

Four Seasons Boston - Venue Tip
Photo by Genevieve De Manio Photography

Your Budget Should Drive the Decision

"Budget is perhaps the most important thing any couple should consider before selecting a venue—or even beginning the planning process. Budget dictates almost every aspect of a wedding, and this is especially true in the case of selection a venue. While it’s easy to dream big, couples are often surprised how quickly costs add up."

- Jim Peters, Director of Catering and Events Four Season Hotel Boston

St. Regist New York
Photo By Roey Yohai Photography

Take Into Account the "Tone" Your Venue Will Set

"When choosing a venue, there is really one key factor that brides and grooms need to consider: the tone of the space. When a guest reads the name of the venue on an invitation, it speaks volumes about both the couple and the mood one can expect to experience. The space should serve as a reflection of both the bride and groom's lifestyles, interests, and personal tastes."

- Gary Merjian, Director of Catering & Event Management, St. Regis New York

Pippin Hill Venue Tip
Photo by Tec Petaja Photography

Pay Attention to the Details

"The details! Of course you want to choose a venue that is beautiful, comfortable, and accessible, but some venues have hidden hurdles that can make logistics a nightmare. On the flipside, when a venue has thought through every detail, you can be more confident and focus on enjoying the celebration."

- Lynn Easton, Co-Owner Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

Photo By Max & Friends

Think About Your Guests

"Most of us at some point in our lives have envisioned the 'where' and the 'how' we wanted to experience our special day. But not only do we need to consider ourselves, but the logistics of many guests and family members that will travel many miles to witness and support you on your new adventure as husband and wife. Venues are not the only aspect that should be considered when making final decisions but climate, accessibility, transportation, required travel documents, and safety of the guests."

- Olivia Prescott, Director of Special Events, Avalon Palm Springs

The Foundry
Photo by Jacquelyn Poussot Photography

Know the Real Costs

"If you are looking at a raw space, it's very important for couples to have a real grasp of how much it is going to cost to bring everything in. The last thing you want to do is blow your budget on a beautiful venue and then have to scrimp everywhere else. Calling desirable vendors and making sure everything fits within their budget is essential before booking."

- Julie Miller, Production Manager, The Foundry

Soho Grand
Photo by Trent Bailey

Get to Know the Team Behind the Venue

"The most important thing that a couple should consider when choosing a venue is if they are comfortable with the space as well as those who they will be working with to plan their wedding. There should be a sense of calm and happiness within the venue brought forth not only by the space and aesthetic, but also by those who will be their point of contact. Finding this very special relationship will make for a much smoother planning process."

- Lauren Predmore, Director of Events, Soho Grand Hotel

Cedar Lakes
Image by Katie Osgood Photography

Prioritize What Matters

"Before deciding on a venue, a couple should determine and rank what is most important to them for their wedding day. For example, if a couple values an amazing dance party, make sure the venue doesn't have noise or end-time restrictions. If a couple values food and drink, the venue must have excellent food, a fully stocked bar, and well-versed bartenders/mixologists. If a couple values getting married outside, ensure the venue has a beautiful outdoor ceremony option."

- Stephanie Karvellas, Venue Coordinator & Owner, Cedar Lakes Estate

Photo by Jasmine Star Photography

The Property Matters as Much as the Location

"One of the most exciting decisions a couple makes when planning to get married is selecting the destination, but that is only a part of the first step. It's also about finding a quality venue in that location that makes the ultimate difference. The right venue and the team behind it can really make your vision come true—creating an event that not only shows off your personality, but also presents memorable experiences for guests that extend beyond the 'I do's.'"

- Amy Botdorf, Director of Catering & Event Management, The St. Regis Monarch Beach

Photo by Fred Marcus Studio

Service is Key

"The couple should love how they feel when they walk in. They should also think about what they want their guests to take away from the experience the night of the wedding. Consider the guest-to-staff ratio because at the end, it's all about the service, food, beverages, and of course, the music."

- Evania Taveras-Shukovsky, Events Sales Manager Three Sixty°

Photo by onelove photography

Know What's Included in the Price

"The couple really needs to think about budget when choosing a venue and do their research on what is included with each venue they are interested in. Every property is different. This will lay the groundwork for the rest of their planning for whether the process will be as enjoyable and stress-free as possible, or a hardship as expenses start to take over any excitement that should come with planning your wedding." 

- Kristen Seaholm, Weddings & Events Manager, Solage Calistoga

Photo by Brian Dorsey Studios

Be True to Who You Are as a Couple

"Ensure that the venue you select embodies your combined vision and is an accurate representation of who you both are. Of course, you want to be sure that the venue will provide you with a seamless experience, but most importantly, never lose sight of the foundation of the evening: the coming together of two individuals."

- Michael Seaberg, Executive Director of Catering Pier Sixty, The Lighthouse & Current

Photo by Trent Bailey

Opt for Unique Features

"Every venue has and/or offers unique features. Find a venue whose features suit you as a couple. For example, if you love the outdoors, select a venue that has expansive outdoor landscapes or if you have a special food you love, find a venue that features that!"

- Alex Corbett, Weddings & Private Events Manager, Bedford Post Inn

About the Author

Jess Levin

Jess Levin is the founder & CEO of Carats & Cake, a premier network representing the best in the wedding industry. A native of Laguna Beach, California, Jess attended the University of Pennsylvania before heading to New York to work in venture capital at Burch Creative Capital, where she helped manage investments and brand development for a portfolio that includes Poppin and...


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