Planning a wedding can oftentimes be a large undertaking, with a seemingly never-ending list of things to book and decide on. But one of the very first thing you must decide -- even before the date and the guest list -- is the venue.
The wedding venue you choose will, a lot of times, determine the date of your wedding, how many people can show up, what sort of catering options you’d like, and how far your budget can stretch. It’s quite simply the epicenter of the planning process.
Venues can -- and should be -- a representation of the couple and their interests, and it’s an understatement to say there are countless couples with countless interests. It’s likely the reason why wedding venues can range from a traditional church to an old barn to a city restaurant to a public park. So how do you pick a wedding venue that speaks to you? Good question. The only real answer is to do some research and visit some that you think you’ll like. No idea where to start? We go you. Here are some thoughts on different types of wedding venues. (Note: we’re only going to focus on a few venue types that you can host a wedding AND a reception at.)
The Great Outdoors
From cabins to barns to parks, outdoor venues are very popular with couples. It’s easy to see why. Outdoor wedding venues can make for great backdrops and if you’re lucky enough to grab a killer sunset during your ceremony, the vibe (and subsequent photos) can be stunning. Outdoor venues are extra popular in the South, especially in the fall when the weather is great and the pollen is down.
There are some drawbacks with an outdoor event, and they’re pretty obvious. Weather is a huge factor. If you’re totally outdoors with your event, then you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature, and, at times, she’s not keen on planning around your schedule. Also, mosquitoes.
Pro tip: if you’re throwing an outdoor event, make sure you have some sort of indoor relief. It’ll go a long way if it’s hot, cold, rainy, buggy, or whatever.
Hotel or Estate
If you want a swanky, well-oiled wedding then you may want to consider a hotel or estate for your wedding venue. Both venues host weddings all the time and they’re pretty experienced in getting things together. The staff tends to be trained and the space is likely equipped with whatever you’ll need. Plus, your guests can literally just go upstairs after the party. It’s pretty convenient.
Like with every venue, a hotel or estate has its downside. One, they can be pretty pricey and you may be limited with what you can cater in and how you can decorate. Your event may also have a pretty tight timeline - it’s realistic to expect a pretty early curfew.
Pro tip: if you’re planning a wedding at a hotel or estate, ask as many questions as you can up front: hidden fees, catering, curfew, etc. You don’t want surprises on your wedding day.
In urban areas like Atlanta, restaurants are plentiful and a lot of them host private events often, so it’s not a stretch to have a wedding and reception at your favorite restaurant. A cool restaurant can have a lot of awesome offerings: great food, cool vibes, plenty of drinks, an experienced staff, etc. If you’re all about having a food-based experience at your wedding, then think about it.
However, restaurants can be limited in terms of providing the traditional add-ons. Most restaurants won’t have a bridal suite to get ready and some may lack adequate parking for your guests. Plus, if you’re looking to host a large event, it may be expensive or not enough space.
Pro tip: reach out to restaurants personally to see what they can do. Sometimes they’re willing to accommodate where they can.
Whatever venue you decide on, know no wedding is fully complete without awesome entertainment. Nice Entertainment has provided wedding DJs and bands for hundreds of weddings at all sorts of venues. They know how to bring the fun, regardless if the event is inside, outside, or on a boat! Drop us a line for some more info.