How to not waste your time and quickly zero in on your perfect wedding venue

Your Date/Season – It’s the first question you’ll be asked no matter what wedding vendor you speak with. And while most wedding venues book out a year (or even two!) in advance, try not to let this fact rush your decision. Talk to your partner about what kind of wedding you both envision. If outdoors, do you both enjoy the summer heat or would you prefer a cooler more mild autumn day? You can also Google average temperatures on certain days of the year to get an idea of what the weather may look like. 

Next, you’ll want to get both of your calendars out and plan around any major life events, such as graduations and perhaps other family members’ weddings. Ask yourselves if you absolutely must have a weekend wedding or, if you don’t have a lot of out-of-town family members to account for, would it be worth your while to choose a more budget-friendly weekday?

Your Guest Count – While it may feel premature to make a list of everyone you want to invite to the wedding 2 weeks after you’ve gotten engaged, it is worth it to do so now. A lot of times couples think they know how many family and friends they have, only to find out later they’ve vastly over or underestimated. This can cause major speed bumps in the way of your budget and overall wedding planning. Even a rough list is a great idea to have in hand before you start searching for venues, as some venues may lack the capacity for your guest count or you may find yourself reserving a large ballroom when you later wish you had picked something cozier and more intimate.

And when you do have a list, keep in mind that not all will attend. A good rule of thumb is to calculate 85% of local guests and 55% percent out-of-town guests that you’ve invited will actually attend your wedding. 

Your Aesthetic – While you may be crystal clear on your picture-perfect wedding venue, you may find after 5 minutes of venue browsing on The Knot that your partner’s aesthetic is completely different from yours. It’s a good idea to get on the same page right away, before you start touring venues. You may think you’ll convince your partner this way, but if only one of you falls in love with the venue, you may be building yourself (or your partner) up for disappointment. Instead, try asking each other to describe their idea of a perfect wedding. If they don’t know, look at photos online, like Pinterest, to get inspiration and clarity on what you and your partner are looking for. Once you’ve done the groundwork, only book venue tours that align with both of your styles.

Your Budget – This is another obvious one, but important nonetheless. The reason you want to know your budget before booking your venue, is that the venue influences a lot of other decisions you’ll make throughout the wedding planning process. Don’t let your wedding venue dictate your budget. Instead, you need to have an idea of what you can spend overall. Typically, your venue and catering combined will take up about half of your budget. Knowing this number upfront will make it easier to tell what sort of amenities or packages you need from your venue.

DIY vs. Hiring Vendors – Lastly, you’ll want to decide how much of your own efforts will go into the wedding, if you’ll ask family and friends to participate, or if you’ll hire professional wedding vendors. You may be one of the lucky couples with a fashion designer mother, a caterer brother and a photographer uncle who have all agreed to chip in their talents for your wedding at no charge. But for the rest of us who aren’t as lucky, we have to either budget for these services or get creative. And while there are dozens if not hundreds of ways to stretch your budget and DIY your food, music, and stationary, you may also find that you don’t have the desire or energy to do these things yourself. Again, your wedding venue is going to dictate a lot of the choices you make for your wedding whether it be their vendor policy or other practical considerations. It’s best to know upfront what kinds of services you want to hire out, what you can delegate to willing family and friends, and which you can do yourself. These decisions will make it easier to determine the right venue for you. 

Happy wedding planning!

Bluebird Crossings is an Oklahoma wedding venue located in Guthrie, OK specializing in intimate and DIY weddings. We serve couples all across the greater Oklahoma City area including Stillwater and Edmond. Bluebird Crossings is a member of the Oklahoma Rainbow Collective and a LGBTQ+ friendly wedding vendor.

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