Finding a venue and picking a date are probably the first things on your woohoo-i’m-newly-engaged list. Of course, finding a venue and picking a date can also be the hardest part of the planning, with so many options to choose from. Here are some things to help you start:
Boyds, MD Presbyterian Church :: Photo by Rebekah J Murry
CHURCHES & TEMPLES
If you’re planning to be married in the church or temple you or your fiance attend already – congratulations, you’re halfway there! Check early to make sure there is an available date that works for you. Many religious venues also have rectories or receptions spaces onsite that you can rent for the reception. The prices will tend to be lower (or sometimes free) since you aren’t renting a space that is owned by a corporation or for-profit company.
Woodlawn Manor, Sandy Spring MD :: Photo by Merkle Photography
NATIONAL, STATE & CITY PARKS
If you’re looking for a no fuss outdoor venue with a beautiful natural backdrop, start looking at your local parks. You may need to do a little more on your end in terms of permits, but the price will definitely make up for it. Some locations charge “event fees” whiles others will just require you to get a permit. Parks don’t always have to mean outdoors-in-a-giant-field-with-no-plumbing either (check out the beautiful Woodlawn Manor in MD above). Historically preserved mansion houses are frequently owned by the state and rented out for reasonable rates for weddings.
CITY VS. COUNTRY
Obviously if you’re looking for a reception in a metropolitan area, you’re going to find a lot of places with higher prices. Museums, Hotels and other locations inside a city will likely have a higher price tag for a shorter available amount of time. Move out of your comfort zone and look at some places a little further out. Not all country locations have hay bales and barrels for decor. Check out vineyards which may have a gorgeous setting but a modern/sophisticated ambiance.
Did you have a relative or close friend with a home that may be perfect for your wedding? Don’t be afraid to ask, but also be courteous and be prepared for a “no.” While you may think everyone should put their lives on hold for your wedding, it could be a big undertaking for the owners. Think about how long the preparations will take (decor, catering, set up, clean up) and if that person is up for it. Your 90-year-old grandmother might jump at the chance, but make sure you’re offering to pay for professionally cleaning afterwards and to have someone there to deal with ALL deliveries, set up’s and break down’s.
THINK ABOUT YOUR DECOR!
When we booked our wedding location, I loved that the outdoor garden (as well as our indoor rain back up location) were both so beautiful that we didn’t need any extra decor for the ceremony. It’s ok to pick a place that isn’t quite as ready, but be sure to think about how much you’ll be spending on decor and make sure it evens out. If you don’t choose the $2000 venue you love because the $1500 venue is cheaper, but then spend $1000 on decor to make up for it – you’ve already lost $500.