Nail Your Dream Wedding: 5 Must-Haves for Your Venue- Wed Mayhem
4 min

Nail Your Dream Wedding: 5 Must-Haves for Your Venue

wedding venue, Crooked Willow Farms Colorado

There are so many wedding venues to choose from and it can sometimes be overwhelming to know where to start. I’ve been planning weddings since 2020 and have seen couples make the same mistakes when searching for a venue, leading to disappointment and frustration. In this article, I will break down the steps you should take to narrow down your list of venues for scheduling tours.  It’s exciting to start touring venues right away, but touring before doing sufficient research can lead to burnout and further overwhelm.

Here is a list of 5 considerations for selecting a wedding venue.

Wedding photography by Melanie and Tyler (Colorado Springs). Visit their website or photography on Instagram.

01. Price

The first step to wedding planning should always be to identify a realistic budget.  I do not recommend couples start looking for venues without knowing their overall budget. Just as you don’t want to try on a wedding dress that is too expensive (in case you fall in love with it), you don’t want to tour a venue that is out of budget for the same reason.  Knowing your overall wedding budget is essential to the entire planning process, but further identifying a venue-specific budget will help you stay on track.

02. Location

wedding venue, Camp Hale Colorado
Melanie and Tyler Photography

Just as with real estate: location, location, location. Are views important to you (i.e., mountains, city skyline, etc.)? Do you want something close to your home/most guests’ homes or a destination where guests are able to make a mini-vacation out of it? If yes to mini-vacation, you will want to select a city that offers lots to do and see.

Many couples are hesitant to choose a destination wedding because of the perceived hassle it would cause for guests.  I tell couples to choose a location that is meaningful to them and makes them happy – their friends and families will gladly travel to celebrate with them!

After identifying a budget, if you don’t already have a location in mind, this is the next big decision to tackle.

03. Venue Categories

wedding venue, Manor House Colorado
Melanie and Tyler Photography

There are three main categories of venues: All-inclusive (everything from venue to food and beverage), Semi-inclusive (venue plus some items such as chairs and linens), and Venue only.

Each category has its pros and cons, but they all come with a price tag.  When comparing venues across categories, I recommend creating a spreadsheet to understand all costs associated with the wedding, allowing you to compare apples to apples.  These are the line items I recommend including:

  • Venue rental fee
  • Rentals (chairs, tables, linens, flatware, and glassware)
  • Food
  • Beverage

For the all-inclusive venues, your venue rental fee will likely include all rental items, so you will input $0 for each.  As part of the proposal from the venue,  a food and beverage estimate should be given that you can input.

For semi-inclusive venues, the venue fee will likely include rentals, but no food or beverage.  For the sake of creating a preliminary budget, I suggest using these averages (please note that these are only averages and actual costs may be lower or higher): $120 per person for food and $60 per person for beverage.

For venue-only, I suggest using an average of $40 per person for rentals (in addition to average food and beverage costs noted above). 

04. Venue Aesthetic

There are so many styles of venues including modern, industrial, rustic, barn/ranch, and luxury.  To help couples decide on the vibe they are going for, I will ask questions about their lifestyle, personalities, and what they like to do for fun.  This information can help me identify which style of venue may fit them best.  Once you narrow this down, head over to Google and search for “[type of aesthetic] venues in [location].”

05. Capacity

wedding venue, Flying_Horse_Ranch Colorado
Melanie and Tyler Photography

If your guest count is over 125, your venue selections are generally a little more limited.  Make sure this is one of the first things you inquire about when looking into venues. Just as with buying a house, you generally need to compromise on something.  When it comes to capacity, I find that this can dictate the venue aesthetic and may be something couples need to compromise on.  If it doesn’t quite match your ideal aesthetic, consider bringing in decor to help transform the space.

Bonus! Date Availability

If you are only open to a Friday or Saturday wedding, those dates fill up first, so start your search early!  Venue fees are also highest on those days, so if you need to keep venue costs down, consider a Sunday or weekday wedding.


There are a lot of venues to choose from, but if you consider these 5 things, it will help you stay focused and get to a selection faster.

Jillian Pohlman is a Master Certified Wedding Planner based in Colorado and owner of Jillian Marie Events. She takes a hospitality-driven approach to event planning and offers Coordination through Full-Service Planning packages. Get to know Jillian by following her on Instagram or visiting Jillian Marie Events.

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6 min

What to Do if You Get Sick Before Your Wedding

Cover photo by Classic Photographers

Your big day is just around the corner, and all of the hard work you and your partner put into the planning process is finally coming together – from the flower choices to the menu selections, your dream venue, and all of the details in between. And in the midst of running around and checking things off your to-do list, the worst happens: you start feeling sick.

With all of the time and money invested into this event, what should you do if you feel under the weather right before your wedding? We rounded up some industry experts to share their advice and ideas for formulating a plan B if needed.

What you should do first

First things first, take a deep breath and take inventory of the situation. While it may feel like your best-laid plans are crashing down around you, that may not necessarily be the case.

If you feel yourself getting sick the week of your wedding, photographer Colton Simmons advises to,

“mobilize your wedding crew to step up in the days leading up to your wedding. There are numerous tasks and responsibilities to be handled that week, and the assistance of your bridesmaids or groomsmen can provide you with the crucial rest time needed for recovery. This rest period could be the determining factor of your condition on the wedding day.”

Colton Simmons, wedding photographer

Take into consideration what type of illness you have and how contagious it might be as well, suggests Sarah Chianese of Mangia and Enjoy! For example, if it’s the common cold, you may be able to push through.

“In that case, the wedding can still go forward with a good dose of Emergency-C and other immune boosting supplements, scheduled doses of a daytime cold reliever, as well as adjusting plans to not be in any contact with [your] wedding party, family, guests or wedding professionals.”

Sarah Chianese of Mangia and Enjoy!

How to let your guests + vendors know

The next step is letting your guests and vendors know, even if you’re in the early stages of sickness. Having to reschedule is another thing, but it’s better to communicate as soon as possible either way.

In terms of spreading the word (and not your cold!) to your vendors, Kelley Nudo of Momental Designs says,

“As a stationer, it can be as easy as a simple text update to the invitation to change the date. However, for some vendors, it could cause a major issue, so it is important to communicate any changes to the wedding plans as early as possible to give the vendor enough time to potentially be able to accommodate the date change or, in the worst-case scenario, allow you enough time to secure a new vendor that has the date available.”

Kelley Nudo of Momental Designs

As for your guests, Simmons notes: “You want to maintain honesty and transparency with your wedding guests leading up to the wedding day. Depending on the severity of your illness, you want to let anyone who may be at risk of getting extremely sick from you know your condition. This will allow them to decide whether the risk is worth it or if they should stay safe and pass on your wedding.”

The good news: here are your options

Whether your illness is severe enough that you’re bedridden or you’re just dealing with a few minor symptoms, just know that you have options.

If the show must go on, Leo Sotelo of Story Alley Photography recommends adjusting the timeline and/or nixing the pre-wedding festivities if needed, such as the welcome party or rehearsal dinner.

“Couples can [also] make the ceremony shorter. Do you have a three-reading ceremony? Skip one or two. Start the toasts and first dance at the reception earlier than you originally planned. Usually, the couple stays until the end of the reception, but if you’re not feeling well, you can choose to leave early and go to bed.”

Leo Sotelo of Story Alley Photography

Chianese adds, “If you aren’t shy about showing yourselves sick in bed, you can also arrange for the actual ceremony to be streamed live on a large screen set up at the ceremony site. Although far from ideal, you can opt to have the officiant or celebrant (perhaps donning a clear facial mask) marry them while you’re in your PJs, in bed.”

Rest assured that you aren’t the first person to ever get sick before their big day. Rely on your vendors for guidance, and treat your health as the first priority; the party comes second!

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.

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