(Closed) What was most important to you when choosing a venue?

posted 8 years ago in Venue
Post # 3
2522 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I haven’t officially booked the venue I want yet because we’re going to officially look at it in December (it’s in a different state), but it was really important to me that the venue offered as many services as possible.

I really love the venue  we’re considering because:

-it’s a beautiful estate for both ceremony/reception
-they cater, complete with beverage options
-they provide to bride’s cake & groom’s cake
-they provide the flatware, tables, chairs
-they decorate the reception area according to your colors and preference with their own materials
-they provide all of the flowers for the bride, bridesmaids, & corsages/bouteneires
-full waitstaff
-wedding planner AND separate director

There are other things they provide, but it’s basically a full package deal at an EXTREMELY reasonable price (and they’re a reputable venue!), which was what I wanted. I wouldn’t even look at a venue if it wasn’t a package deal. I didn’t want to deal with all of the separate vendors because I’m starting my Masters & will be working full-time…I will be too stressed! And considering I’ll be planning from afar, I didn’t want to do that to myself.

The only things I need to need to provide are the photographer, DJ, & officiant. Luckily, because the venue is well-known, the surrounding vendors offer special discounts for “Carahill I” brides! 🙂

I love getting a good deal.

Post # 4
4950 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2018


Beauty is second. I want something pretty that I’m going to love when I look at my pictures 10 years from now. 

But really price.

Post # 5
202 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

A 1pm curfew on drinking would definitely be a deal breaker.  Who is drinking before 1pm anyway?  And I think that if your wedding is during a popular holiday time, you might run into trouble if you can’t keep people from watching your ceremony.  Or more importantly (in my opinion), you can’t keep people from being loud and chatty somewhere nearby your ceremony.

We had to sacrifice being able to serve liquor, but that’s it.  We get the entire venue to ourselves for the day.  The ceremony site is lovely, which was our number one priority. I suppose we also sacrificed a bit on the quality of food, but as compromises go, we’re very happy.


Post # 6
333 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I had chosen my venue before even looking at it in person. It was exactly what i wanted but we did look at alot of other places before going there and falling in love all over again.

 It is at a resort in a private function room with private bar and private outdoor areas as well as inside. They do all the catering

We considered price, functionality and personality before making any kind of deposit.


Post # 7
11528 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I wanted a venue with a beautiful, elegant, intimate (rather than cavernous) ballroom that had windows. I also wanted our venue to have fabulous food — and to offer us a cost benefit for our choice not to serve alcohol. (Some venues will not even book a wedding that does not include an open bar, and one venue offered a discount of just $2 per person for NOT having an open bar. That was just unacceptable to me.)

In addition, I wanted there to be gorgeous grounds for an outdoor ceremony, if possible, or at least for picture-taking; pretty chairs (so I wouldn’t have to rent chair covers); and beautiful table linens. I also wanted my venue to have a gorgeous bride’s room and clean and attractive restrooms.

Finally, I wanted a venue that would be within a reasonable distance to my ceremony site and that would also offer free parking.

I am pleased to say that we ended up with a venue that offered all of those things.  The only downsides were that the venue itself and its ballroom were smaller than we would have preferred, limiting us to a maximum of 170 guests; and the venue was 1.5 hours away from where I lived (and three hours away from my then-FI/now-DH lived.) Our wedding ended up being a semi-destination wedding for almost all of our guests, a number of whom drove three or four hours to attend, and several flew in or drove very long distances from other parts of the country.

ETA:  I forgot to mention that I needed a venue that did not have a required minimum that was higher than 50 percent of my wedding budget.  Some of the venues I explored had minimums that would have been — at the time I booked a venue (before my budget ended up increasing significantly) — almost 75 percent of my wedding budget.  That would have been impossible. In hindsight, any of those venues would have been fine, since my budget ended up being almost three times higher than I originally thought.

Post # 8
836 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

We wanted something inexpensive, comfortable, casual and simple. We had no interest in something grand or that didn’t fit our intimate, casual, laid-back “theme”. It’s not really a theme, more a feeling we were hoping for. So we went with our back yard / home. We’ll be getting married on the back patio. We would have loved for it to be in front of the tree and vines on the back wall, but that would have required laying a whole lot of sod to make the yard itself presentable. Instead, we’re enclosing the patio with hangings and lights and keeping it confined to that space and the entirety of the house. All in all, about $150. Sod alone would have been several hundred. All still (for the most part) less expensive than a venue, plus it’s familiar and comfortable and what could be more “us” than our home? 

Post # 9
2440 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

Here were the things that were important to us.

1. Price-we paid for the wedding ourselves

2. Location-not too far from where we and most of our families live

3. What was included-we really wanted a location that included catering, rentals, and decor in the package.

4. Not a ballroom


That was pretty much it. We ended up in a botanic garden but our top choices were a botanic garden, a victorian mansion B&B, or a restaurant.  We just looked at a lot of options and figured out what worked for us.  We were pretty flexible with options, I think because I didn’t want to spend forever finding a venue (that was not my favorite part of planning).

Post # 10
4602 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

We haven’t started looking but for me having the option to hire external caterers is the most important.  We’re big foodies and being “stuck” with a below par caterer isn’t an option.  I hate venues that say “we want you’re day to be unique” and then give you a list of things you can’t do.  But as OH is always telling me: anything is possible if you pay enough (he works in events).

I also agree with OPs comment about prvacy, I’d hate to have people looking in on a private ceremony.

Post # 11
6255 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2014

1. Affordability

2. Beauty

3. Lack of restrictions on catering, etc.

in that order.

Post # 13
547 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I want my ceremony to be at the same site as the reception, and I wanted the ocean as my backdrop, but there had to be grass, not sand. Sounds crazy, but that’s literally just about the only “vision” I had for my wedding, so I wanted that to happen. I didn’t care if the reception was then held in a mansion or a tent! This was something I was not willing to compromise on.

From there, I wanted to use a specific caterer, but if the venue did not allow outside caterers, it was no big deal. Ultimately, it came down to two places. One had the reception “feel” I wanted more, but you had two ceremony options, and while the venue was set by the ocean and I could be on the grass, for whatever reason they wouldn’t let me get married where I wanted. It had to be in one of two places and neither were what I wanted.

The venue we chose has the grass and ocean I pictured. Everything else didn’t so much matter. I was willing to compromise on almost anything else. BUT… there was a place I liked as an almost frontrunner, but the problem was cost. So I guess that means I put cost first. So in this order:

1. Cost (though I did pay more than I planned, but the location was unfounded elsewhere for cheaper).

2. Ocean with grass ceremony

3. Good rain plan

I also really didn’t want a “wedding factory” or ballroom type of place. But it was difficult to find something like that on the ocean anyway, so I didn’t really have to compromise there.


@Lovemelovemyhorses:  To address your question specifically, it depends how “cramped” the ceremony space is and how long the ceremony will be. If cramped means 200 guests standing shoulder to shoulder for a 45 minute ceremony, I think that’d be enough for me to say no. If it means some people sitting, some standing for a 15 minute ceremony, I personally don’t think it’s that bad and not quite a deal breaker.

For the privacy at the ceremony, this personally wouldn’t bother me. I mean if you see that there’s a good chance random people are going to without a doubt end up in your pictures, maybe it’s something to reconsider. By without a doubt I mean getting married on a beach that’s open to everyone at the resort so they’ll have umbrellas and people swimming at the beach in the background. But if people may wander by and watch, that personally wouldn’t bother me.

Ultimately, we did make sacrifices. I suggest making a list of what’s important to both of you and the things you really do not want to compromise on. That helped us overlook things that were a bit iffy about our venue, and we looked at how to solve those problems. Once we did that, we knew the right venue for us 🙂

Post # 14
1089 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

SO (soon to be FI) and I differ on what we’re looking for in a venue… I’m looking for something close to home (so I won’t have to get up at the crack of dawn or pay for an extra night in a hotel if I don’t have to), something less expensive but nice, preferably someplace I’ve seen in action and/or have tasted their food. (My ideal would be a place I went to for a Church friend’s wedding 3 years ago)


SO would like someplace far from home, he’d love to go out of the time zone if I’d let him. He wants wide open spaces, like a farm/ranch. He wants a quick ceremony and reception (under 3 hours! not worth it for our friends and family that would have to travel at least that long to get there!) Oh and he has some unrealistic budget, he claims that we can afford and should go for places that are $150 pp… I’m basically unemployed right now and he’s barely making it. I can do a cheap but tasteful wedding for a hell of alot less than $150pp!


So back to your original question, Price, Food, Quality are tops on my list. I could travel a bit if the place fit the rest of the criteria.

Post # 15
240 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

– private location and grounds

– all on one location

– charming atmosphere

Post # 16
2587 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - UK

Price is pretty high up there.

But natural light is the one thing I’m not going to compromise on. Even if it IS cheaper to go to the beautiful stately home and have the whole thing in the cellar function room, that’s not what I’m after. Especially given as I’m having an autumn wedding, so we should make the most of what light we do get.

Addtional things I’m looking at that are selling points not requirements – small enough that we’ll be the only wedding there, pretty and characterful enough that we can get nice pictures and get away with minimal decoration, and if it doesn’t have revolting carpets then that’s a bonus.

My mum’s proviso is that it shouldn’t be more than 20 minutes from the church, but looking at the ones within that boundary, I reckon we can maybe push her up to 30, maybe 40 at a stretch. We’ve found one we really like at 20-25ish minutes away, and on paper it’s perfect, so we just need to see it in person.

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