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When planning your wedding, one of the initial decisions you will make is where to host your guests! Such a decision may seem monumental (and it is!), because your venue will largely set the tone for your wedding day. With so many ideas and opinions, we want to share the five major things to consider as you make your venue decision:
1. Budget: Even before you begin visiting wedding venues, make sure to have a budget (even a range!) in mind. During this initial step, it’s important to note that your venue (and associated catering and beverage costs) will quickly add up to at least half of your budget. Similar to trying on a wedding dress that exceeds what you would like to spend, it’s best to not visit venues that are outside of your desired price point for fear of falling in love with something that will not work in the end. Choose a venue that’s within your desired price range so you can fully enjoy being in the space!
2. Wedding Style: Your wedding style is a piece you may decide upon before beginning your venue search (something I highly recommend!). Knowing you adore garden settings or rustic spaces will guide the places you opt to tour. On the flipside, realizing a classic wedding is your number one wish may cause you to visit historical venues or ballrooms. During this step, make sure to consider the season in which you want to ideally get married as well!
3. Guest Count: Every venue has an actual maximum number of guests that can be accommodated; be sure to ask how many people the space can hold with a dance floor (venues allow for more people to be in a space when tables and chairs are oriented for a meeting or conference). While perusing venues initially, your guest count does not have to be exact, but a rough number will allow you to consider spaces that will keep guests comfortable and able to enjoy all of the day’s festivities.
4. Preferred Vendors: While some venues are open to any and all vendors, others have a list of preferred vendors that are allowed in the space. Venues that do not have in house catering teams may only allow particular companies on site. And sometimes, preferred vendor lists also extend into florists, photographers, videographers, bands, and DJs. Simply put, make sure you’re excited about the wedding professionals your potential venue supports!
5. Logistics: Once you start visiting venues for your reception, it’s helpful to know where you plan to host your ceremony! If you would like to recite your vows and celebrate with your guests at the same venue, it’s important to make sure the space can accommodate both—essentially, ceremony, cocktail hour, reception. Conversely, if you plan to get married in a house of worship outside of your reception space, consider how far your ceremony will be from your reception. Transportation, transit times, and parking will weigh heavily on guests’ minds, and all three of these will influence your wedding timeline.
I would love to hear about your dream D.C. venue–make sure to leave a comment below!
Photo Credits: The Hay-Adams Hotel – Abby Grace Photography // Meridian House – Caroline Dutton Events; Anna Schmidt Photography // The St. Regis Washington D.C. – Caroline Dutton Events; Elliott O’Donovan // Anderson House – KT Merry