What to Look for in a Wedding Venue
Choosing a wedding venue can be stressful. You want to choose a space that looks amazing and generally just allows you to enjoy your awesome night.
I promise that is possible! I've shot a ton of weddings at different venues in Austin and other cities, and I've learned that there are a few key things to look for in a wedding venue.
1. Price point. Of course, this one is a biggie. My best advice here is to know what your top price point is and don't go to venues that exceed it. It will only lead to heartbreak.
There are ways to save a lot on your venue, but the great thing about venues is that they're typically designed and laid out for weddings. You'll have designated spaces for getting ready, the ceremony, the cocktail hour, and the reception. You'll have plenty of restrooms for everybody and you may even have parking.
Parking can be a big thing, too, especially if you're in the city versus a more remote venue. Downtown, parking might be an issue. Usually, you can opt to pay for parking for the guests depending on the hotel or lot, which is always nice. So remember to factor everything that you're getting into the price of the venue.
2. Location. How do you want your wedding to feel- outdoorsy or more of a city vibe? How much do you want people to have to drive?
If you choose a venue in a more remote location, you may consider getting shuttles that go back to somewhere more central where everyone lives. Transportation for older folks can be an issue, and of course you want everyone to be safe when they're drinking.
People who want to be at your wedding will be there regardless, but you may want to consider these factors depending on who you're inviting.
3. Proximity. This one is a little different than location. Think about the venue's proximity to where you're getting ready and where you're going after the wedding. It's always nice to have a venue close to where you're getting ready so if something takes longer than it should, you're only running 15 minutes late rather than 40 with 120 guests waiting on you.
4. Decor. If you're willing to spend a little more for a decorated venue that already has the look and feel to it you want, you can save money and time in the long run on renting decor.
There are a few venues like that here in Austin, like The Allan House. Other than florals, some string lights, and signage, it doesn't really need anything. You'll pay more for a venue like that, but it does save time and money later on. Especially if you're not great at interior design, it can be so much easier to get a place with its own personality.
On the other hand, you can also get creative by choosing a venue that's not a traditional wedding venue-- like a coworking space, a beautiful Airbnb, a restaurant, or someone's property. These places will be cheaper, but there will be the added time and cost it takes to decorate yourself.
5. Services. Find out exactly what the venue includes. Some venues include catering or they have a few preferred catering teams that already know the venue and know how to work with the kitchen. Some venues include tables and chairs; some will charge extra depending on how many you use.
One important piece that's easy to overlook is who cleans up. It's easy to assume that the venue or caterers will do it, but typically the venue doesn't clean and catering may or may not do it. For example, food trucks don't clean up-- they just pack up and leave.
The bottom line is that the more you spend, the more you get!
Scroll down to get inspired by a few of my favorite venues in Austin, and make sure you check out my Austin wedding venues Pinterest board.
If you're engaged, let's talk about how I can capture your memories from your special day-- regardless of what venue you choose!