Choosing an Outdoor Venue

A beach wedding pavilion

Choosing the perfect venue is a big part of planning your outdoor wedding. It’s definitely not a decision you should take lightly, as it actually controls so much of the other details like the decor, the food, and even which vendors you can work with. It’s also a big part of your budget! This matter is something you should think extensively about and figure out early in the wedding planning process. To get you started, here are some important questions you’ll need to answer.

Number of Guests

Before you can even start looking at places, you need to have an idea of how many people will actually attend your wedding. Some outdoor venues won’t be able to accommodate a large number of guests, while others may have a guest count minimum. Even if you don’t have an exact number, it’s necessary to have an estimate to start with when you begin your venue search.

Budget

Wedding savings jar

For almost every couple, price plays a huge role in their wedding planning. Take some time to sit down together and plan out how much you can afford, or are willing to spend, for the wedding as a whole, and how much of that can go toward the venue alone. Then, once you have a clear idea of your budget, do some research on how much different wedding venues cost in the area you are looking at. Stick to looking at only the venues that fit within your predetermined price range to avoid the chance you fall in love with a place that’s too expensive. You may also want to avoid venues that cost as much as your max budget. There are a lot of hidden costs and fees that come with a wedding, so you may sell yourself on a place only to find out later that it will cost more than you can afford.

Decor

The venue will ultimately play a huge part in the overall appearance and atmosphere of your wedding. That’s why it is so important that you know what kind of look and vibe you want for your ceremony and reception before you start looking at places. This will help you narrow down your options.

Chances are, before choosing a venue, you’ll already have an idea of what colors and decorations you want, so with that in mind, consider how the each setting on your list will compliment your vision.

Landscape

Forest wedding

The landscape of your outdoor venue for your wedding is another vital thing to think about. You can use the natural landscape to really compliment your overall theme, or it could totally clash. There are so many different landscapes to consider, too, from vineyards to beaches or lush forests.

Not only that, but there will be different elements you must consider. If you want a venue on the beach, you have to consider the fact that there will be sand everywhere, and sand can be difficult to walk in with heels. If it’s in the forest, consider the various insects and animals you might encounter.

Space

When choosing an outdoor venue you should consider the different spaces you might want to have. This could include the ceremony, cocktail hour, the reception, and even where you want to have your photos taken.

You could choose one space for all of the different things you have planned, or you might prefer a few different areas.

Lighting

Outdoor lighting

When you decide to have an outdoor wedding you should pay extra attention to the lighting. It’s one thing to see the outdoor venue during the day, but at nighttime it most likely will look very different. So, plan a visit after dark to the venue to see what it looks like with the lights on. Chances are the venue will already have an excellent set up, but if it’s too dark you will not only have a difficult time seeing, it will also be more difficult for your photographer to capture anything.

There are a lot of different options when it comes to lighting, so talk it over with the venue and see what they offer and what you might be able to arrange yourself.

Weather

You can’t predict the weather, but you can plan for it. It’s super important to have a contingency plan in place for when you have an outdoor wedding. Make sure to talk to the venue staff about what they can do for you when bad weather hits and have them walk you through the entire process to make sure the transition will be as seamless as possible.

Restrictions

Signing a contract

Every venue will have different restrictions on what they allow and will not tolerate. Many also have a specific list of trusted vendors that they allow at their location. You might already have a caterer picked out, or a photographer in mind, but if the venue you’re looking doesn’t allow it and you don’t know in advance, you might be in for a disaster.

Ask about any and all restrictions and policies from the very beginning so you understand everything about each venue you’re considering early on. This will help you to determine the venue you want to use and will eliminate surprise problems down the road. And we can emphasize enough to ask before you sign anything!

Venue Packages

Some venues have wedding packages that can help save you money and reduce some of the stress that comes with planning. These could include catering, the bar tab, or various festivities, all wrapped up in one cost. However, when considering a package deal, look into any extra fees that might be included before you sign any contracts.

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