You have the ring. You’ve taken the #feyonce #heputaringonit Instagram pic. Your Pinterest is blowing up with all of the DIYs and the mason jars and the twinkle lights. You feel like you’ve got this whole wedding planning thing down because, I mean, your entire wedding has been planned out for, like, ever. You don’t realize what you need at this point, which is a venti pumpkin spice latte with two shots of espresso and big bowl full of reality.
Just because you subscribed to The Knot magazine, bought a wedding planning binder and filled it with colorful and seemingly organized tabs, and printed out a checklist does not mean you are planning. If you have realized that a wedding planner is going to be the best investment of your entire life early on, you are one in a million and 26.2 miles ahead of the game. If you have decided that you are definitely NOT hiring a planner, you are a brave and courageous soul and I wish you strength and peace.
Here’s the thing, planning a wedding is hard; way harder than what Pinterest would have you believe. There are several different main components in the planning process that, if dealt with correctly, could make the entire thing more of a shabang and less of a bang. I could write a short novel on each one of these components. But one of the most crucial decisions is one of the first that you have to make and sets the tone for everything else. It’s the venue.
I know you want to figure out the most adorable way to ask your best friend to be your maid of honor. But, seriously, stop. Stop pinning, stop dreaming and figure out your venue. You can’t set a date without knowing your venue is available. You can’t decide seating without knowing if you’re getting married in your parents backyard or in a church. You can’t plan out how many and what flowers you’ll be able to use without knowing how much space you have to fill. You can’t have a wedding without knowing your wedding venue, so stop planning your wedding without knowing your wedding venue.
Thinking about deciding on a venue can be overwhelming at first. There are tons of factors involved that can be difficult to separate and prioritize. However, a few simple steps can help point you in the right direction and lead you down the babies breath lined path to happily ever after.
Step 1: Figure out a general “where”
What is the first image that comes to mind when you think of your wedding day? Outside forest backdrop? Traditional Catholic church? Beach? Courthouse? Vegas?
Whatever it is, use that as your starting point. The goal here, is simply to figure out if you are going the indoor or outdoor route. Once you know that, you’ll put a pin in it, set it aside, and either decide on or rule out another huge piece of the venue puzzle. Here or there.
Step 2: To travel or not to travel
Destination weddings are fun, personal, and reasonably efficient for some. Traveling for your wedding doesn’t have to mean going out of the country, though it could. Decide with your SO if there is a place outside of the states that might be an option. Have you both always wanted to go to Venice [insert any city/country]? Could a Venice honeymoon be in the cards? Do you have the proper documentation or could you easily obtain the proper documentation to travel outside the country? If you answered “no” to any one of these questions, get back in America, Jack.
Round 2. Is there a place in another state that holds sentimental value or that is uniquely beautiful? If you are considering traveling for your wedding keep this in mind: you will have a lot less control. This is not suggested for the procrastinators out there. You will not be there to know things like when the sunsets and what the weather trends are. You will not have the opportunity to build a relationship with your florist or your DJ or your caterer. You will have to keep track of when your wedding party is arriving and plan your rehearsal and bachlor(ette) parties in accordance with attendance. Any d.i.y.s become a lot more challenging when contemplating transporting them or having to complete them the morning of the wedding.
However, traveling for the wedding can be more economical for two main reasons. One, less guests will be able to attend. This means, less favors, less food, less booze… or maybe the same amount of booze. It can also be beneficial to have a destination wedding if you are planning a traveling honeymoon. Going to Scotland for a week long honeymoon? Why not get married there too!?
Step 3: Narrow it down
Now that you have figured out the relative geographical region you would like to get married in, let’s figure out what kind of atmosphere you would like to facilitate. Figure out your style individually and as a couple. Are you super traditional and/or religious? Are you really laid back and casual? In addition to thinking about your style, head all the way back over to question number one. What is the first image you get when you think about your wedding day?
After following these steps, you should probably have a really good idea of where your wedding is going to take place. If not, check out WeddingWire and type in a location. They will show you a list of local suggested venues as well as customer reviews.
Once you have your venue picked out, make sure to talk to the owners of the property to find out if the location is in your price range and when it is available. If all checks out, secure a date and move forward with the planning. Now that you have your venue secured everything else can begin to fall into place.