The ceremony venue that you choose will say a lot about you as a person. Many people choose to have their ceremony at their home church, while still, a large number of others choose a less traditional, outdoor venue. Whether you are planning a traditional or new age event, we have a few things you should consider before deciding on a ceremony venue.
You will need to know how many people a ceremony venue can seat in order to decide if it is right for you. Something you might want to consider is whether you will be inviting everyone to the ceremony. Some people choose to have a more intimate ceremony, consisting of just close friends and family. If this is something you might want, then you may have more (small) venue options available to you.
Your day, your style. Be honest with yourself when you start shopping for a ceremony venue. If you haven’t set foot in a church since you were five years old, then don’t feel pressured to choose a church setting just because it is expected. Choose a spot that is special to you (and if planning a wedding, special to your significant other). Maybe there is a park you frequent with your parents, or a beautiful art gallery available to rent. Whatever you choose, make sure it complements the style and color palette you have chosen.
It is common to have a specific person in mind for your officiant. Whether you are using a priest, pastor, or an ordained friend, you’ll need to make sure it is okay with the ceremony venue. Some churches have very strict rules about who can officiate ceremonies and if you are bringing in an outside officiant, they often require that their onsite person has a part in the ceremony. You’ll also want to know if their officiant charges a fee for their services. When you are shopping venues, make sure you ask what their officiant protocol is; it might make or break the venue for you.
You’ll want to make sure you decide on a ceremony venue and a reception venue that are somewhat near each other. There are plenty of venues that provide both ceremony and reception services. However, if you are planning a ceremony at your home church, you will need to consider the distance between your church and your prospective venue. All your guests will need to travel between the two and while this day is about you, you don’t want to greatly inconvenience them with a long commute.
This is another piece of the puzzle that needs to be considered for both the ceremony and reception venues. You might find that some venues have cheaper options for their “offseason.” If you are very flexible with your date, you might be able to shop around at some venues that are usually booked up well in advance. However, if you have already decided on a date, you will want to find out if they are even available before booking a tour.
Some churches have strict dress code rules, such as no bare shoulders. Check with the ceremony venue about what rules they have. Some venues have these posted on their website. You’ll want to know if you can play your own music if you can light candles and if you can rearrange anything. Use our Ceremony Vendor Question Spreadsheet to keep track of these details at your venue tour!
Your special day should look perfect. Take some time to be honest about how much work it will be to decorate a ceremony venue. Some need more work than others! Most ceremony spots won’t have decorations for you to rent, so it will all be up to you. The more decadent the venue, the less work you will need to do. Before booking a tour of a venue, look at photos of past events at that venue online. Then when you go to tour it, you can see how much work past customers put into decorating it.
Of course, you need to take your budget into account when searching for a venue. To help you stay on track, here are a few things to consider:
–Member Discount: Some venues (even churches) give a discount to their members. It might be helpful to have a parent who is an alumnus at a university location or member at a swanky golf course.
– Have your celebration on a Friday or Sunday: you might consider saving some money this way as many venues have discounted prices on these days.
–Choose a less popular time of the year for your event. You might save money on your reception venue by choosing a date in their off-season. These dates are usually between November and March.
–The DIY Ceremony: having your ceremony at your home or at a park can save you some money, but not always! You will be shocked to see how those prices add up when it comes to renting tents, chairs, canopies, and gazebos. Not to mention, figuring out parking and bathrooms can be a huge pain as well! Doing a price comparison between your favorite ceremony venue and your DIY backyard event might save you a lot of grief in the end.
Remember that the ceremony is the most intimate part of your special event. Decide in advance what kind of ceremony you want; are you going for a whimsical, romantic vibe or a formal, modern feel? Let your style help you choose a venue that will provide the desired ambiance for your big day.