What to Think About When Choosing a Ceremony Venue

Are you having a bummer of a time choosing a ceremony venue? For some brides-to-be – and their future spouses – the choice is easy. Religious couples who belong to a church or temple will likely say their vows in their house of worship. Couples who have a special spot may know from the start that they want to get married there. Other brides, though, would rather spend hours shopping for wedding jewelry and picking out reception playlists than think about choosing a wedding venue. And we’re not surprised! There are just so many options for wedding ceremony venues, from halls to country clubs to parks… the beach, a mountaintop, a library or museum, a non-denominational chapel… we’ve heard of brides and grooms saying “I do” in parking garages and even underwater!

We can’t pick a venue for you, but we can give you some questions to consider that may help you narrow down your options:

How many people will be at the ceremony?

First and foremost, your ceremony venue needs to be able to accommodate all the guests you want. It’s no fun having to cope with being packed in like sardines at a ceremony – even a short one. So when we say accommodate, we mean comfortably. Make sure your entire guest list will have some breathing room.

What kind of seating arrangement do you want?

The classic two-row bride’s side groom’s side arrangement is still popular, but there are also plenty of couples opting for circular seating arrangements. Don’t worry about bucking tradition here. Seating is a great way to inject a little creativity into your ceremony – especially if your creative arrangement helps more people get a primo view. In any case, make sure your prospective venues support your preferred seating arrangement.

What kind of weather do you anticipate?

Getting married outdoors is awesome… most of the time. An outdoor wedding in the dead of winter might make for some Pinterest-worthy photo ops, but we haven’t met the guest that really wants to shiver through a couple’s vows in an overcoat. And as for the height of summer, will your outdoor wedding venue allow you to make the kind of accommodations that will help guests stay cool? Is there shade? Don’t forget that no matter what the season, it may rain.

What does your budget support?

It’s hard to argue that higher end venues look great in person and in photos, but the bill isn’t quite so pretty. Brides working within a budget should be careful not to spend too much on the ceremony venue since there is still the reception to pay for. Never assume that a ceremony venue will be free to use. Many houses of worship don’t charge a fee, exactly, but do require the couple to make a donation. Saying vows on the beach or in a public park may also come with a permit fee.