Q: I just recently got engaged and I’m starting the process of finding a venue. It seems like there are many types of wedding venues out there and it’s starting to get a bit confusing. How do I know which type of venue is the right one for us?
First off, congrats on your engagement! Now that you’re on the road towards your wedding, choosing your venue will be one of your first stops along the way. By the way, if you haven’t yet started planning or aren’t sure where to start, read this blog post first and get your free wedding planning guide. But, let’s get back to the venue. So, you are right, there are many options to choose from that it can be overwhelming. Depending on where you are having your destination wedding, you may be more limited and might need to get creative or you may have so many options your head is spinning. To help you figure out which type of venue is the right fit for you and your destination wedding, check out the below list of different types of wedding venues to start thinking about your options. This list does not include every possible option, but the most common ones you will come across in your venue search.
Hotels/resorts – The hotel option is perfect for the couple who doesn’t want to move from where they are staying. This is almost always the easiest option as many hotels will have packages that you can choose from. If you are concerned about guests travelling or being able to find your venue or things like ADA compliance, this will be your safest bet. There are also smaller boutique hotels or B&Bs which can be good options if you want the ease of a hotel, but a smaller property. And depending on the type of hotel and location, you may have many different spaces (both indoor and outdoor) you can choose from or you may just have a ballroom.
Private estates – Private homes or estates are great if you want your wedding to feel intimate and private. These are usually tucked away in residential areas and provide you and your guests with the entire property to yourselves. These types of venues will usually have larger outdoor spaces for the wedding, but some have indoor spaces as well. You will have to bring everything in for your wedding, so this type of venue does require more planning and coordination, but usually ends up also being more personalized.
(Black Swan Lake, photo credit: Jose Villa)
Museums and historical locations – Museums and historical buildings are great options if you are passionate about a certain subject like art or aerospace. These are also wonderful options for the history buffs and those who appreciate a venue with some character. These locations will usually have some specific rules with regards to events being held in their spaces in order to protect the venue, so you’ll have to abide by those. These venues will almost always be indoor venues and you usually will have to bring everything in for your wedding, so that has to gel with what you want.
Wineries/vineyards – The winery wedding venues are a good option particularly if you love wine or are in wine country or a wine region. These venues usually have both indoor and outdoor spaces which many couples like. The style of these venues are typically more on the more rustic elegant side, but if you have a great designer, they can create something special for you.
(Campovida, photo from Campovida)
Barns and Ranches and Farms – Typically found in country areas, these venues can be attached to a larger property or be a space all on its own. Going even farther on the rustic style side, barns, ranches and farms usually have nice open spaces both indoor and out. They tend to work well for couples who want a venue that is a bit more peaceful and remote. These venues are also great for horse lovers or those who just want lots of space.
Gardens – Gardens can either be public or private spaces, but are usually very beautiful and lush. If you are an outdoor nature loving kind of couple, this is a nice option. A nice perk to garden weddings is that you won’t have to decorate much because the beauty of the natural environment will do a lot for your wedding. These venues are usually on the smaller side, so they tend to fit best for smaller and more intimate weddings.
(Gamble Garden, photo from Gamble Garden)
Event facilities/Banquet halls – Event facilities or banquet halls are essentially spaces created specifically for events. These venues don’t have any other function for existing beyond holding events. What this means is that they are pros at running events because it is all that they do. These venues are less unique than other venues since so many couples come through their doors, but they are pretty efficient in order to churn out event after event. These work great for larger sized weddings.
Golf course/Golf Clubhouse – Golf venues consist of country clubs and clubhouses which cater well to couples who want an outdoor and indoor space. Couples who like golf venues tend to be a little more on the preppy and/or conservative side and usually aren’t planning on doing anything wild or super out of the ordinary at their wedding. Similar to a hotel type of venue, these venues are also pretty easy since many of the things you’ll need are already in house.
Restaurant – Restaurants are great options for foodies because you know exactly what the food will be like and if you love the food you are golden. You can hold your wedding in a private room or buy out a restaurant which are both good options depending on your budget and guest count size. Restaurants also come with everything in house as well, so it’s pretty easy. There are usually only indoor options when it comes to a restaurant and the style of the restaurant is set, so you have to like the style or design around it.
Nightclub/Music Venues – In a similar vein to restaurants, nightclubs and music venues are great for a dancing oriented wedding. They are already set up for DJs or bands (good acoustics) and dancing, so you don’t need to do anything on that front. While being indoor only venues and having a set style, these all have a fun party vibe to them which will rub off on all your guests.
(Great American Music Hall, photo from Great American Music Hall)
There are lots of great options out there, you just have to narrow what you want and find the right type of venue for you. Good luck with your venue search!
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