5 Tips for Choosing your Wedding Venue

Your wedding venue choice is a multi-layer decision.  How many people? Indoor or outdoor? Turn-key or DIY?….here’s a handy list of 5 tips to help you narrow down the prospects:

1. How many people are you inviting? Assume 80-85% of those guests will attend (applies to New Orleans weddings).

2. Do you want a chair for everyone? Most people outside of New Orleans have sit-down dinners for all or part of their reception.  Are your guests traveling to the city? Will they be lost without a seat? If so, you can have a chair for everyone but have open seating to keep the mood light.  (the NOLA tradition is to have only 60% seating and high boys for the rest).  Some venues include tables and chairs.

3. Do you want an indoor, outdoor, or combination wedding? In New Orleans you ALWAYS need a rain plain.  There is no safe month from showers.

4. Do you want amplified music? Some venues have limits on how loud and how late your music can be, so get those guidelines in advance, before you fall in love with a space.

5. How much can you afford? To figure that out, take the budget for the wedding (average $150pp in New Orleans, but it can be done for less) and multiply that by 35%.  This is the average portion of a wedding budget that’s spent on the catering and bar.  If your venue is charging a room rental fee on top of food and beverage, or if it allows outside catering and only charges for the room, you need to take the venue rental fee out of your budget and use the remaining as your bottom line. Now that you have your catering and bar number, is it enough to fit with the options your dream venue provides?

 Those are my top 5 tips for choosing your wedding venue. Happy Planning!
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12 thoughts on “5 Tips for Choosing your Wedding Venue

  1. I have been wanting to plan my wedding ever since my fiance proposed to me. You mentioned that when it comes to the venue it is important to know some things first like how many guests will be attending, or what kind of setting are you wanting, etc. That is a great point for me to keep in mind while I look online for venues and ideas.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Barbera! Yes its so important to know what you need before you start looking and fall in love with something you can’t use! In New Orleans, most weddings are done cocktail style with only 60-70% seating at most and the rest with high boy tables, so here you have to be extra careful, if you want a seat for everyone, to make sure that the specs of the venue are for the style of event you want as well. Don’t forget to leave room for the dance floor!

  2. My fiance and I are having some trouble picking out a good wedding venue. I thought your tip for us to choose the size based on an estimate of 85% of invitees attending is really helpful. Size is our biggest concern right now, but this tip will really help.

    1. I’m so happy we’ve helped you with your venue search! Don’t forget to leave room for a dance floor! 🙂
      If you decide to bring in a wedding planner, we’d love to help you with any aspect of your planning. Please visit our Weddings link to see what packages we have available. Happy planning!

  3. I do like that you encourage readers to consider both indoor and outdoor weddings. After all, your wedding can have a very different style depending on whether you have it inside or out. Because of this though, you need to make sure that any businesses you hire for the wedding can work outside.

    1. That’s an excellent point! Many vendors with certain equipment cannot be outside, or if they are outside need to be under a tent that you have the responsibility to provide. A good example of this would be a a DJ, a live painter, or a live band. Extreme temperatures, dampness or extreme heat can damage their equipment. Thanks for the contribution, Callum!

  4. My fiance and I are looking for some tips on choosing our wedding venue and our wedding is in three months. Thank you for these tips! I understand that we should consider these things before deciding on our wedding venue, I totally agree that the number of guests is one of the important factors to deem. Thanks! I’ll be sure to share this with my fiance.

  5. I like how you suggested of thinking if I want an outdoor or indoor wedding because I was actually planning on having a garden wedding. I also appreciate it when you asked about the number of people I’m inviting because I want to invite everyone I know to my special day. Your article has useful information. I’ll make sure to bear them in mind when I start planning my wedding. Thanks!

    1. Thank you! Check out some of my other posts. You may find some other useful information, like when to tip and when not to tip. Subscribe to get updates sent directly!

  6. I like your tip to consider things like what volume of music you want so that you can make sure to find a place that allows that. My fiance and I are getting married soon and we are trying to find the perfect venue to hold the wedding at. Since we both like to dance and party, we will definitely need to find a wedding venue that allows that.

    1. I’m glad I could help! Acoustics are a really big factor. Anything with marble floors, for example, will be harder to control for sound. Good luck!

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