Venue Advice From Real Brides Who’ve Been There, Done That - Wed Mayhem Blog
5 min

Venue Advice From Real Brides Who’ve Been There, Done That

wedding venue advice

Finding the perfect wedding venue is like finding the right pair of fabulous heels– it needs to fit perfectly and elevate everything else. We’re here to sprinkle some sparkle on your search with pearls of wisdom from some pretty savvy brides who have already said their “I dos”. So, grab your wedding planner (and maybe a little prosecco) and let’s uncover the secrets to selecting a venue that’ll make your big day just a taaaad bit easier and a whole lot more magical—because your happily ever after deserves nothing less.

Laura’s Venue Advice: Charm Takes Center Stage

She says, “Let your decorations enhance your venue’s features rather than covering them up if you find it beautiful on its own. Our venue used to be a convent and it was absolutely breathtaking with its long hallways. We decided for our ceremony to take place in the main cloister where the fountain was and let its original beauty shine. Oh, and definitely make sure to instruct your photographer to capture plenty of pictures of the venue itself, not just the festivities. You’ll want to remember what it looked like before the party mess! Additionally, consider if a venue prohibits large decorations to protect its walls and structure when planning your decor. Make sure to scout locations that can comfortably accommodate all your guests. It’s crucial to avoid falling in love with a venue that can’t fit everyone, as it will only lead to disappointment. Also, always inquire about the venue’s rules before making your decision. Some places have restrictions on loud music after a certain hour or only allow short events, which isn’t ideal for a wedding.”

wedding venue advice
Laura’s Wedding | Photographer: Evert D. Nieves

WM: Would you rather have no control over your wedding playlist or no control over the wedding menu?

I would rather have no control over the wedding menu. Surprise me! Tacos as a starter? Yes! Burgers for the main course? Let’s do it! Beaver tails for dessert? PLEASE!

Key Wedding Advice Takeaway

If you’re falling head over heels for your venue, let your decorations amplify its natural charm rather than overshadowing it.

Gabrielle’s Venue Advice: Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork

She says, “Choose a venue that has helpful staff willing to closely collaborate and meet regularly to discuss all the fine details, especially if you don’t hire a wedding planner. My husband and I explored a variety of locations—from golf courses to vineyards and historic sites. Ultimately, we chose our venue based on several factors. First, it matched our dream theme of rustic, cozy, and autumnal. But most importantly? The staff’s extensive experience and warm, welcoming demeanor. They met with us multiple times to iron out details, which was essential for running a successful event without a professional planner. Also, when you find the right venue, you’ll likely experience that ‘click’ moment—just like when you know you’ve found the perfect wedding dress. My biggest tip is to enjoy this part of planning—it’s one of the most thrilling phases, aside from choosing your dress. There are countless venue options out there; have fun seeing what your wedding could look like in each one!”

wedding venue advice
Gabrielle’s Wedding | Photographer: Timeless Tree Wedding Photography

WM: Would you rather have all your guests bring their pets to the wedding or have everyone bring a plus 5?

I would absolutely choose pets over people any day, including my wedding day! My husband and I love dogs, we frequently stop to pet dogs (with permission!) – on our walks. I think that it would have been a source of distraction, but I think it would be worth it as well!

Key Wedding Advice Takeaway

The vibe you get from your venue and its crew is everything—pick a spot that comes with a team that’s all about supporting your dream wedding!

Catia’s Venue Advice: Pick a ‘Theme Word’

She says, “Pick a ‘theme word’ for your wedding venue and stick to it. For us, it was ‘simplicity’—we didn’t want anything over the top or trendy just for the sake of popularity. I had to remind myself of this throughout the planning process because it’s easy to get carried away with all the incredible venue options out there. We focused on creating a celebration that reflected the simplicity and beauty of our everyday life together. My advice? Enjoy the local beauty and opt for a venue that complements it. We embraced our traditional Italian wedding in a historic location, which allowed us more flexibility due to our smaller guest list. For tables in Italy, you give names instead of numbers and we chose the theme “in life, it is all about the small things” and every table had a funny picture of us and an activity we love to do together. Sharing part of our story together with family and friends gave the venue our personal touch.”

wedding venue advice
Catia’s Wedding | Photographer: Unknown

WM: Would you rather arrive at your wedding in a horse-drawn carriage or a hot air balloon?

I would choose a horse-drawn carriage for its simplicity and timeless charm. It aligns perfectly with the historic venue and the traditional theme we embraced for our wedding. A hot air balloon, while unique, might overshadow the natural beauty of the location and the close, intimate atmosphere we dreamed of creating. The carriage ride would add a touch of elegance and romance without being over the top.

Key Wedding Advice Takeaway

Stay true to your style, babe! Let both the natural allure of your venue and your personal story take center stage.

Emily’s Venue Advice: Think What’s Most Important?

She says, “Consider what you want your wedding photos to look like. This will guide your choice, as the venue influences the style and atmosphere of your photographs. Then, decide whether you prefer an all-inclusive venue or if you want the freedom to choose your own vendors. Each option has its pros and cons, and your decision will depend on how much time you wish to dedicate to planning and how detailed you want the arrangements to be. Also, consider if you want everything to take place in one location—it simplifies logistics and often saves money. We chose to have all our wedding activities at one site for ease and coherence.”

wedding venue advice
Emily’s Wedding | Photographer: Michelle & Pete Photo & Film

WM: Would you rather have to plan your entire wedding in a week or have your in-laws plan the whole thing?

I’d rather plan my wedding in a week! Not that I wouldn’t trust my in-laws to do something very nice, but first off, I wouldn’t want to put that pressure on them. Second, after being in the wedding industry for a hot minute now, I can confidently line up my vendors and pick a design quickly. And lastly, after being a part of over 100 weddings now, I know that you can create magic with very little and have a beautiful celebration without all the details we think we need.

Key Wedding Advice Takeaway

Think glam shots, vendor vibes, and the sheer ease of one fabulous location— make sure your venue delivers on all three!

P.S. Emily now owns her own venue, The Gardens of Weber Manor, helping other brides create their dream wedding locations.

Well, darlings, that’s a wrap on the inside scoop! It’s time to turn these inspirations into your reality. So go ahead, dream big, ask the tough questions, and make a choice that feels like home and makes your heart skip a beat. Ready, set, venue find!

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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.

Conclusion

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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