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Searching for a venue

Jul 30, 2010 07:53PM ● By Anonymous


My fiancé and I looked at a mere five venues for our wedding. For some brides, that’s barely any. But we were pretty sure that we wanted to be married in a particular town, for convenience’s sake, plus we only had a week to decide. (We were on vacation about two weeks after we got engaged.)

I don’t think I would have had it any other way. I know people who have labored over visiting venues for weeks, even months. So while it’s an important decision, don’t be so picky about “perfection.” (It’s the same way with dresses, but that’s a discussion for another time.)

Anyway, we were looking for six things in a venue:

  • Capacity: We needed a venue that could host at least 120 to 150 guests. We don’t actually anticipate that many people because it’s a destination wedding for so many. However, our guest list is 150 and if you’re going to take any of my advice, take this: Do not (Do not!) invite more people than your venue holds. Sure, they say about 20 percent of invitees decline, but do you really want to tempt fate? I’ve seen too many brides frantic that they invited 170, and 160 said yes – but their venue only holds 150. The fire marshal isn’t going to really care that The Knot said you should have only had to plan for 140.
  • Outdoor space: My fiance didn’t ask for much, but he did ask that we get married outside. Therefore, I needed to find a space that had a ceremony site under the sun. Conveniently, Phoenix is one of the few places in the country where I really don’t have to worry about rain. (There I go jinxing myself again!)
  • Separate cocktail hour area: I’m a big fan of cocktail hours in one place and the reception in another. I think it gives folks a chance to mingle and breaks up the event a little bit. I also preferred a cocktail hour area that was outdoors, but that wasn’t a deal-breaker.
  • Price: As with most brides, I had to keep it within budget. Some places we saw were in budget, some were not.
  • View: We wanted views of the mountains and cacti, not of houses or highways.
  • The flow: We visited one country club that had a great outdoor space for the cocktail hour and a magnificent entryway that surely would dazzle our guests. However, the dance floor and DJ was all but separated from the guests’ tables. I’ve been to a wedding where the DJ was in the separate room – it didn’t work. People don’t dance if they can’t see anyone else dancing from their tables.


Luckily for us, our chosen venue fit every one of these points. Then again, we weren’t overly picky. If you’re looking for a rustic-chic barn with a working fireplace, you might be asking too much.