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Bride Confidential: Julia Chooses a Venue

Something old, something new. Something borrowed, something blue, and at times, something stressful, too!

Maybe you’ve been planning your dream wedding since you were a little girl, clipping elegant dresses from magazines and cataloging all your favorite flowers in preparation for the big day. Or maybe you’d never even given the day any thought before hearing those four little words, and now you’re frantically wondering where to start. Though our preparations may vary, I think all brides can agree on one thing—planning a wedding can be overwhelming at times.

As a bride who falls into the latter category, I found myself confused. Confused about where to start, about whom to talk to, and feeling a little intimidated by the plethora of information that suddenly came flying my way!

I began my adventure towards the perfect wedding day like many other brides-to-be do: booking a venue location.

With such a varied array of places, many brides (myself included) can find it hard to narrow down what would be a good fit. For me, experience as a coordinator meant I had some gems of knowledge that helped make this important, sometimes difficult decision a little bit easier. Since I am always looking for ways to help brides feel less stressed and more confident in their planning, I wanted to share a few tips that I found helpful. Fear not, bride-to-be, we’re in this together!

  1. Have a rough venue budget in mind.

Having a ballpark estimate of your ideal venue expense is a great way to save time and can help you narrow down the list of venues where you’d like to book a tour! For example, if you know a venue’s cost is notably more than your venue budget, save time by skipping the tour and focus instead on finding something perfect for you that meets your budget, too!

  1. Choose a venue that fits your theme.

Always wanted a wedding with an urban, industrial feel? Most outdoor or farm venues would not be able to offer the ambiance you are looking for. Instead, you could opt to look for buildings featuring exposed brick and industrial-style décor. Once you can pinpoint your theme, you will be able to better search for venues that will have the features you are looking for!

  1. Look for venues with packages that include things in addition to the location.

During my venue search, I tried to pay special attention to what rental packages included, if anything, in addition to the location. Packages that include tables, chairs, and linens will save a lot of money on rentals, even though the cost of the venue may be higher than those that do not include extras. It also can help make setup easier on the wedding day!

  1. Choose a venue with a rain plan option that you are happy with.

Venues handle rain in different ways—some have a covered option if several sites are outdoors, while others require you to rent your own tent if no covered options are available.  Communicate with the owners of the places you tour, and ask about rain options. Also, it is important to try to choose a venue with a rain plan option you will be happy with. No one hopes for rain on their wedding day, but having a rain plan laid out that you are happy with can help to ease the stress if it does!

In the end, I ended up choosing the rolling greens of Pleasant Hill Vineyards. My decision was made especially easy by their beautiful rain option for a ceremony site in the upper barn, framed by antique wood and lit by a beautiful cast-iron chandelier.

While I hope these tips can offer some guidance about venues, the most important thing to remember is it is your love story, and you should tell it any way that fits best for you!

Happy Hunting!