Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding! Now that you and your fiancé have made it official, the next big step is to choose your Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia wedding venue. This is one of your biggest decisions since the location of your wedding affects the attire of your wedding party and guests, photo opportunities, decorations, the vendors you choose to work with, and much more.
Before you can choose the perfect wedding venue, however, it’s important to sit down as a couple and decide on several important details. The tips below should give you a good place to start.
How Big of a Guest List Do You Want?
It can be disappointing to have your heart set on a specific wedding venue only to find out it isn’t large enough to accommodate your guest list. That’s why creating a list with your fiancé of who you would each like to invite is so important. Keep in mind that most venues for weddings require a minimum guest count to book your reservation. We recommend starting with the shortest guest list possible and then adding people as you investigate more potential wedding venues.
What is Your Budget?
To help with budgeting for your wedding, consider that the website ValuePenguin estimates the cost per guest at $252 in Baltimore, Maryland and $320 in Washington DC for 2019. While your Maryland, Virginia, or DC wedding venue will take up a big chunk of your wedding budget, you need to balance it with other costs such as catering, wedding apparel, photography, flowers, and much more.
The Bridal Guide recommends that engaged couples spend no more than 50 percent of their total wedding budget on the venue. Although understandably, you want to put down a deposit to reserve your venue as soon as possible, it’s important to determine other costs first to ensure you have the funds to cover everything.
Choose Your Wedding Date
It’s common for couples to want to get married on a date that’s meaningful to them such as the anniversary of the day you met, the birthday of the bride or groom, or the anniversary of parents or grandparents. If you have your heart set on a specific date, it’s a good idea to start calling venues as early as possible. Like any other business, pricing in the wedding business operates on supply and demand. For example, you will pay more to reserve a venue for a Saturday during the summer than you would a weekday during the winter.
Create a Research Spreadsheet to Compare Wedding Venues in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia
It can be challenging to remember the details of every venue you research or visit. One thing that can make it easier is to keep all the information you have gathered together in one place to revisit when you’re ready to compare and choose your Washington DC wedding venue or Maryland wedding venue. We recommend including the following information on your spreadsheet:
· Venue name
· Seating capacity
· Types such as a church, outdoor location, hotel, or historic location
· Layout to determine if there’s enough space for the ceremony, reception, and seating for everyone on your
· Cost, which might change as you finalize your arrangements
· Availability of parking and public transportation
· Website address
· Restrictions such as a strict ending time
· Whether on-site catering is available
Questions to Consider When Narrowing Down Your List of Wedding Venues
After researching and visiting several venues, it’s finally time to narrow the list and choose just one. Asking yourself several questions can help make the process faster and more efficient. For example, can I truly afford this venue? This is probably the most important question of all. If you put a deposit on a venue and later determine it doesn’t fit into the wedding budget, you will lose that money and have less to spend on other things. Some other questions you and your fiancé should ask yourselves include:
· Is the venue available on the wedding date you have chosen? If not, are you willing to choose another date?
· Is the venue centrally located or in more of a remote location? How easy or difficult will it be for your
guests to find?
· What is the seating capacity and general layout? Even when a venue states it can accommodate a certain
number of people, that doesn’t always mean your guests will be comfortable. Be sure to visit the venue in
person to get a realistic sense of how many people it can fit and whether they can move about freely in the
assigned space. If you desire separate spaces for the ceremony, reception, and dance, make sure that the
venue has them available or can quickly and easily convert one large room between each event.
· Can you choose your caterer or does the venue require couples to work with the one they provide? Does it
enforce any restrictions on the type of food or who can deliver it?
· Is the venue warm and inviting? Will it be easy to decorate?
After answering all these questions, there’s still one essential detail to consider. Does the wedding venue provide easy access and a variety of backgrounds for the Maryland, Virginia, or Washington DC wedding photographer you choose? While the services of all other vendors only last the day of your wedding, photos from your big day will provide memories for years to come. Be certain to select a venue with several attractive background options, quality indoor lighting, and the opportunity to take a variety of photos in different locations.
Have You Chosen Your Wedding Photographer?
We would love the opportunity for you to consider Roman Grinev Photography as your official Washington DC wedding photographer or Maryland wedding photographer. Please contact us to learn more about our services, availability, and pricing.