Tips for Finding the Ideal Wedding Venue for Summer
Once the wedding proposal has been accepted, the next all-important questions are when you’ll exchange your "I do’s" and where! If you decide on a summertime ceremony, you’ll have the huge plus of clear, sunny weather—which also opens up the possibilities for some pretty exciting wedding venues.
But there are a number of issues to consider before you zero in on the location for your nuptials:
What will your wedding theme be? Deciding on the theme is crucial since it will affect practically every aspect of your wedding planning. So discuss this as early as possible. Not that you have to immediately pin down your color palette choice (pastels vs. summer brights?) or the exact look (vintage vs. modern?). Those finer details will evolve in the months ahead. But at the very least, do make a choice about the general style of your wedding. Will it be an elegant, formal affair? A casual, at-home gathering? Or a romantic destination wedding? Knowing that will help you narrow down your choices for a venue.
Would you prefer indoor or outdoor? The balmy summer weather gives you great options for an outdoor wedding location. A flower-filled garden, a wooded orchard, a lakeside resort, a quaint vineyard, a sandy beach—all these become possibilities for you to choose from. Note that all bring in the element of nature that will be such fun to incorporate in your wedding decorations!
The argument for an indoor venue, on the other hand, would also be the summer climate. If you’re concerned that temperatures may soar, you can always opt for an enclosed hall in a country club, a converted farmhouse, or a botanical greenhouse that provides the comfort of airconditioning, while still allowing you to enjoy some pretty natural views.
Would you like the ceremony and reception in one place? In years gone by, the tradition was to have the ceremony in a church, chapel, or city hall followed by the reception at a hotel, large restaurant, or the family home. But a recently growing trend has been to incorporate these both in one location. So unless you as a couple have very strong ties to a particular church—for example, one you’ve attended all your life or one where your parents were married—you can consider this hugely practical option of a single venue. Imagine, no need to decorate two separate locations nor to transport guests from one place to another!
How big is your guest list? Now, we come to the nitty gritty of practical considerations. Clearly, the number of expected guests will affect your choice of venue. How large a hall, garden, or tented set-up will be needed to accommodate them comfortably? Does the place you’re considering provide ample parking space for the projected number of vehicles? (This is particularly important for an at-home wedding, where you may need to coordinate with the neighborhood officials to allow street parking.) Will guests be able to move around and mingle easily—and perhaps dance the night away?
What other activities are you planning? Speaking of dancing the night away, do keep in mind that your chosen venue will have to be adequately equipped for such things as a live band or musical ensemble, a dance floor, etc.—should you plan to have these. Large venues designed for celebrations will certainly be set up for such. But if you’re eyeing to be wed in a home, an open garden, or tents along a beach, it would be best to check if the loud music and festivities won’t be a bother to everyone else in the vicinity.
How accessible is the place to guests? You may have your hearts set on a fabulous location that’s perfect for your wedding theme. But it’s several hours drive away in a not-too-familiar area. This is where you may have to decide: do we stick to the venue of our dreams and just help provide transport conveniences and directions? or do we choose a more accessible, but less “theme perfect” location? This is particularly important if you’ll be having a large guest list to get to the site, and if several are older family members whom you’d surely want to share this moment with you.
What will your wedding budget permit? The final arbiter, like it or not, is the cost. Much as you may swoon over a particular venue—just the right size, ideal amenities, accessible to guests, plus stunning decorating potential for your theme—the question is, can you afford it? There would be no sense allotting a huge amount to just the location, considering the many other costs that a wedding entails.
Don’t despair, though! If you actually start your venue-shopping early, chances are high that you’ll find that dream wedding location with all the pluses...at a price that fits right within your budget!