How to Choose the Right Venue (Without Decision Overload!)

Let's be honest: there are a LOT of wedding venues.  Being a curious cat, I tried to find some statistics on the average number of venues couples check out IN PERSON.  While I didn't find any concrete stats, I did find some message boards where brides and grooms were chiming in to help other couples decide how many tours are TOO many.  I saw a HUGE range of answers from a bride who said she went to ONE venue she had always had her heart set on to a bride who said she and her fiancé went on 16 tours.  Another bride said she looked at 50 venues online but only toured 3 in person.  That's a lot of shopping!!

Personally, I make all of my decisions with a little bit of research and a lot of my gut instincts.  I trust my instincts -- we've been making decisions pretty well together for a while!  But when it comes to your wedding venue, you want to make sure you're find the RIGHT one, right?

I believe it's like shopping for the perfect dress -- there IS such a thing as giving yourself TOO many options!  Wedding planning comes with a little something called decision overload, so here are a few questions to think through that will narrow down your choices!

What is our budget?  It's so important to have a firm budget in mind before you visit a venue and fall in love!  We encourage you to chat with your fiancé and your families to figure out an exact number that you are able/willing to spend on your wedding.  From there, you can prioritize your numbers based on what's most important to you?  Photography and a DJ?  Or food and flowers?  

Bonus Tip: Richmond Weddings has an AMAZING budget planning printable to help you prioritize!

What is our guest count?  Determining your guest count is crucial to do before you start venue shopping!  You want to make sure the venues you tour will actually fit the guests you hope to have by your side on the big day.  

At Madison at the Mill, we can accommodate up to 250 guests seated!

Photo by  STIL  on  Unsplash

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Do you have specific vendors in mind?  Some venues charge a fee for every vendor you use that is NOT on their preferred list.  Some venues may let you bring in whoever you like, but they have an exclusive caterer that you have to use.  At Madison at the Mill, we have vendors we love to work with, but we don't charge any additional fees if you use someone off the list.  So, if it's important to you to use specific vendors, you may want to steer clear of venues who require you stick with their preferred list, OR make room in your budget for those additional fees.

How important are onsite accommodations to you?  If you're DEAD SET on having onsite accommodations, this can narrow your search down a great deal.  At the Mill, we don't have onsite accommodations, but we do have some great hotels, B&B's, and inns all within just a mile or two.  That makes for less cost for you and easy transportation for your guests!

I hope thinking through these questions is helpful as you continue searching for just the right wedding venue!  Personally, I recommend getting some champagne and chatting with your fiancé, then setting up a tour with Madison at the Mill ASAP!

'Til next time,