Location, Location, Location: Picking A Venue

Picking a venue can seem exciting an nerve-wracking. Here are 3 quick pointers on what you should consider when selecting a venue.

Picking the Date:

One of the very first things as a newly engaged couple is not pick out a wedding dress. It selecting a wedding date. If you are on a budget, be open to selecting a date in the off season. For Austin, peak wedding season is April – Early June and October – Thanksgiving. If you are not dead set on being an April bride, picking an off month could save you a few hundred if not thousand dollars. If the month really does matter, consider your wedding on a Sunday or Friday. Both of those days are often cheaper than Saturday. Once you have a few dates in mind, your first choice and three back-ups, it’s time to find that venue.

Capacity vs. Comfort:

Before you start your engine and drive off to the first venue you find online, ask yourself one question. How many people do I think I may want to attend my wedding. While you may not have your guest list entirely in order, it is good to have a round number. Why? This will be the first question you hear when you arrive on site. If you fall in love with a quaint wedding chapel that can only hold 100 in cocktail rounds for the reception, you now have an upper limit on the size of your guest list. If you were hoping to invite 150 to your wedding and you come from a large family, cutting it down to 100 to fit that venue may not work as well as you may hope. Also there is a difference in comfort and capacity. While you do not want a venue that is too large with sparse amounts of people, because then your reception will not look as entertaining. You also do not want to cram too many into a small space. Yes, you can fit 8-10 chairs around a 60” round table, but there will be no elbow room for guests.

Full Service Venue vs. Venue Only:

So you have narrowed your date and venue choices down and you even have a round estimate for your guest list. Which venue should you choose? If all venues are esthetically pleasing to your theme, here are a few ways to make the decision easier. Some venues are what we call “Full Service Venues.” This means the venue comes equipped with not only the rental space, but tables, chairs, electrical support and a few other amenities. The most common venue that would have a full service offering is a hotel. Hotels are great because if you do all of your catering, lighting, and space rental in house, they will cut you a few deals with the bottom line price and guest rooms reserved. It’s a one stop shop. Dressing suites for the bridal party, guest rooms, reception space, and even a ceremony space all can be accommodated at a hotel. They will have the linens, tables, chairs and catering all available to you. The drawback? If you don’t care for the catering or say the chairs they use, you may be able to outsource to another provider, but the hotel will charge you a fee for not using the hotel’s inventory.

The other option is going with a venue and only reserving the space. Some venues do not offer chairs and tables included. This means you will have to rent significantly more to furnish the space. This is when a trip to a rental gallery will help put the dollar sense in perspective. At the end of the day, the venue only option may be cheaper with the cost of rentals added in. Then again it could go the other way. Whatever the bottom dollar amount is for the space know what all you are getting with the rental. $4,000 at a full service venue may look daunting, but could save you money on rentals in the long run.


Have your own thoughts on picking the perfect venue? We want you to share in the comments below.


Featured Image: Paige Newton Photography


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