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Wedding Venue Basics

As you jump into the wonderful world of wedding planning, one of the first and biggest decisions that you have to make is where to have the wedding. Unless there is one place in particular that you have always dreamed of, choosing a venue sometimes sounds a little like this: "It would be so great to get married in the church that I grew up in, but they don't have a reception hall and I kind of want to have everything all in one place. Then again, I have always dreamed of getting married on the beach at sunset!" Sound familiar? We have so many different location options these days that it can be pretty overwhelming. The great thing about it though is that we can be as creative as we want. Since this is one of the first and usually most expensive decisions that you will have to make, it is hard to know where to start. Here are a few things to think about when trying to determine where you want to say your "I do's":

  1. Sit down and discuss your budget. Figure out how much you are willing to spend on a venue.
  2. Number of Guests- This really needs to be one of the next things you consider. After making a list of friends and relatives, you should have a tentative guest list. Be sure to look only for venues that can accommodate the number of guests you estimate might come. If you think you may have 200 guests, choosing a venue that only holds 175 and just crossing your fingers that some people don't show up is risky business. As we all know, "It's better to be safe than sorry."
  3. If possible, be flexible- If you really have your heart set on one particular place, but it is booked on the date you were considering, have a "Plan B" date as a back up. Checking a venue's availability is a great way to weed out a couple of options.
  4. Decide whether or not you want everything to be in one place or not. Some couples plan on marrying in a church and then using a separate venue for the reception, while other couples prefer the convenience of having the wedding ceremony and reception all under one roof.
  5. Be sure to give yourself enough time. Try to give yourself 6 months to one year before your actual wedding, as venues tend to fill up quickly, especially around certain times of the year.
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