How to Choose A Wedding Venue

The ins and outs of how we nailed down our wedding venue!

Photo by Loveleigh Co.


Once we nailed down our wedding date, it was all hands on deck to find the perfect venue for our big day. Unlike sparklers, or florals or a champagne fountain, a venue is kind of NEED when it comes to your wedding day.


Finding the perfect space for your friends and family to celebrate you and your boo can be daunting cause there are so many options. Whether it's a resort, chapel, or the grand ballroom of a hotel, your venue is arguably one of the most important parts of your wedding day. There's TONS to consider but I wanted to share some of the things that helped us nail down our dream wedding venue!


Start Searching for your Venue Early

Once we nailed down our wedding date, it was all hands on deck to find the perfect venue for our big day. It was literally the second "vendor" we set in stone during our engagement. The venue sets the tone for the rest of your vendors as well. Just like any other vendors, venues - especially the good ones - book up MONTHS ahead of time so starting the search early is really the only way to do it. Unless you get super super lucky.


Remember Your Wedding Budget

Budget is obviously going to play a HUGE role in choosing your venue. We started by looking at our overall wedding budget and then decided just about how much money we wanted to spend on the venue. When you get into the numbers of it all, it really allows you to narrow down your options - this goes for all aspects of your wedding day.


You can definitely approach this how you see fit but we knew our venue would definitely be one of our "larger ticket items" - right up there with our caterer + photographer but we didn't want it to be anything outrageous.


FUN FACT: Sometimes you can save on your wedding venue if you are getting married during the off-season or on a non-traditional wedding day - YAY for Fridays in January!


Look for Venues Outside of Your Area

We found it super helpful for us to look in areas outside of where we live. Looking in cities that were outside of where we live not only allowed us to find venues that were in our budget but also one's that we were more excited about because we hadn't seen them over and over and over again.


Think back to your vision for your wedding

This is something that I went back to over and over again when on the search for my venue. Think about your style for your wedding. Is it rustic? Is it upscale? More modern? Whatever your wedding style is, make sure that your venue reflects the overall vision for your big day. For us, we wanted a modern and minimal space that we could make our own but also wanted something that felt a little intimate and cozy. Our venue is actually 4 hours from where we live in Savannah!


Consider your guest list

Okay... this one kinda goes without explaining! Just be sure to consider the max capacity of the venues that you look at. The last thing you want is for your guest to feel crammed in a space that's too small. Or even the inverse where the space is too big and can feel empty. Also keep in mind nearby accommodations like hotels for guests if they will be coming in from out of town.


Do they have options for both indoor + outdoor scenarios?

Now none of us want to wish for rain on our wedding day but this is definitely something you want to keep in mind when deciding on your venue. Do they have designated ceremony spaces both indoor and outdoor? If not, is there a tent option included?


BYO... or All Inclusive? What's more important to you?

If your experience is anything like ours, when we first started our venue search we ran into tons of venues that were All-Inclusive. Like they took care of everything from food, to cake, to beer, to DJ. For some, this is the way to go cause then it's knocking out all of the birds with one stone.


We, however, wanted the option to bring in multiple vendors of our own choosing to create a unique experience on our wedding day and so we had to find a venue that allowed outside vendors to come in and hang with us on our wedding day.


NOTE: Be sure to ask what requirements are needed from outside vendors for your venue (i.e. licenses, insurance, etc.)


The Specs

Now for the nitty gritty - get the deets, friend! You gotta know the ins and outs of this place. You want to make sure that your venue suits all aspects of your wedding day and as proper accommodations for your other vendors. Here's a list of some things to ask potential venues:

  • Is there handicap accessibility?

  • Are there proper outlets for DJs?

  • How many restrooms are available?

  • Is there an on-site bridal suite? Groom Suite?

  • What all is included in the venue rental? Chairs? Tables? Just the space?

  • How long do we get the space?

  • Is there a kitchen on site for caterers?


Look at Professional Photos of Your Venue

As a photographer, this was kind of a gimme. Looking at professional photos of potential venues can really determine a lot, especially if you are unable to actually make a visit. It's so helpful to see what things will "look like" on your big day.


Remember this is about you!

End all be all, your venue should be what you and your partner want. Point blank. Periodt. Mic drop.


Stick to your guns and go with a venue that feels the most authentic and true to you two as a couple. Take a step away from Pinterest just for a second and really think about what elements are important for your wedding day and look for venues that fit the style of what YOU want.


So... Where are we getting married?!

Choosing our venue was our second step in the entire wedding planning process. We started the search really early in our engagement and considered TONS of different options but overall, the cliche saying couldn't be more true... "When you know, you know."


We toyed around with the idea of getting married in Savannah since that's where we will really be creating our life together during our first years of marriage. It goes without saying, Savannah is stunning but after considering pretty much everything I wrote about above our heart was leading us somewhere else.


I actually toured the venue solo and FaceTimed Matt while I was there - gotta love different work schedules you know. But even over video, Matt felt IT. We knew that this venue was US and felt right for what we wanted our wedding day to be like.


OUR TOP PRIORITIES:

- BYOV (Bring Ya Own Vendors) so we can make our big day entirely unique.

- Within our set budget

- Photographed beautifully of course

- Felt like US. Nothing too stuffy, nothing too casual.

We are getting married at Barn South in Talmo, Georgia! Barn South is a fairly new venue nestled in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains and we couldn't be more excited about celebrating our big day at this beautiful venue. Similar to when a bride finds her dress, we definitely felt a sigh of relief when we really looked into this venue. It's the perfect combination of modern + cozy and from the moment we interacted with the owner, it felt like a warm hug. January couldn't get here sooner!!!