Finding the perfect DC wedding venue location can be overwhelming and exciting all at the same time! The possibilities for a unique and memorable space to host your ceremony and reception are endless in this area. From historic mansions to museums and entertainment cruises, the DC area has an array of options to fit all event styles. Searching for the perfect location is one planning task that can quickly make your enthusiasm take a turn for the worst, but we are here to help guide you in the right direction to finding your dream wedding setting!
One of the most crucial steps to planning your dream wedding is finding the right venue, but many brides often make the mistake of going into the process blind and without a real idea of what they are looking for. Before you even step foot inside a potential venue, there are certain things you want to know to keep from feeling overwhelmed by the whole situation. We’ve pulled together four easy steps that will put you on the path to success!
Envision Your Big Day
Before you start touring wedding locations in the DMV, it’s important to ask yourself what type of wedding you are picturing. Do you see yourself having a casual, outdoor reception with swanky centerpieces and savory food? Or are you a traditional couple who wants an indoor seated reception with a three-course meal? Start making a list of whatever your heart desires—this will help you whittle down the list of potential venues as you want to choose one that will fit in with your overall aesthetic for the day.
Start Off with a “Virtual” Tour
You have a vision so now you can get online and begin the search for local DC area wedding venues that best match your interests. Today’s brides and grooms are so lucky to have so many online resources at their disposal. Educate yourself by browsing through potential venue’s websites, checking out local wedding blogs (like United with Love!) for recommendations, and more. You can even check Pinterest to find photos of your favorite venues and view what past couples have done in the space; this could help you to see if you can envision your wedding at that venue.
Also, the amount of wedding reviews that are posted online can provide a goldmine of information for you. Simply by reading what other couples are saying can give you a realistic idea of what to expect. (Editor’s note: Wedding Wire is a great source for vendor reviews.)
The Bottom Line: Budget + Guest Count
Venues have certain limitations that you just can’t get around, no matter how hard you try. For example, they can only hold so many people and there are often certain price minimums that will need to be met. You should have a general idea of your guest count and what you are willing to spend per person or overall for the big day. No one is a fan of sticker shock, so before you fall in love with “the most amazing venue that you have ever seen,” make sure it fits your budget before the visit. You don’t want you to leave broken hearted after finding out that it’s out of your price range! Most venues will offer pricing online and this will help you narrow down the ones which fall within your budget.
Time to Start Calling Venues!
Congratulations! You have your “vision,” you have scoped out and researched potential venues online, and you have an idea of which ones fit your price point. Now it’s time to see the winning choices in person with a site tour! Here is a list of useful questions we suggest you use when calling venues:
Venue Search Question Checklist
- What’s your capacity?
- What is your availability?
- Do you have a “slow season” when you offer discounts?
- Can we provide our own food and/or beverage?
- Do you provide the catering? If not, do you have a preferred list we must select from?
- What is your average price per person?
- Do you have parking on site?
- Do you require a minimum guest count or food and beverage minimum?
- Are chairs/tables/linens included in the facility fee or package?
- What do you require to hold a date?
- When can we come in to see the venue?
- Is there a specific time we must end music/the reception by?
- Are we required to purchase additional insurance coverage for the venue?
- Do you have on site sleeping accommodations or deals with local hotels when booking room blocks?
With these tips, picking a venue should be a stress free, fun, and easy process. Happy planning!
For more to guide you during your venue search, be sure to check out other virtual wedding venue tours in the DMV, or browse for local DC area venue options and fabulous Washington, D.C. area wedding professionals.