Your wedding venue plays a huge role in setting the tone for your big day. Especially here in Tucson, we have quite a few options ranging from outdoor settings with gorgeous desert scenery to restored historic houses + gardens. So with all these options, how do you choose your perfect venue?
I have a few guidelines that will help you choose the ideal venue for your dream day. Here are the most important things to take into account when you’re choosing your venue.
First things first, you’ll want to consider if you want to have your wedding in a certain part of town or if you’re open to whichever venue you fall in love with. For example, would you prefer a location in downtown Tucson, like The Z Mansion? Or maybe you’d like a location with an abundance of desert scenery, such as Saguaro Buttes or Sanctuary Cove?
Another thing you’ll want to consider is if the ceremony and reception are taking place in two different locations- for example, the ceremony would take place at a church and the reception at a venue. It’s important to consider the travel time between locations and usually best to keep them close if you can.
The next thing you’ll want to consider is the capacity of any venue(s) you may already have in mind. If you haven’t already, draft a guest list so you have a general idea of how many people you’ll be inviting to join you in celebrating your big day. If there’s a venue you absolutely love but it can only fit half of your planned guest list, what will you do?
I always recommend determining at least a rough draft of your guest list before looking at any venues. After all, the last thing you want to do is fall in love with a venue and come to find out it can only hold a fraction of the people you want to be present on your wedding day. This doesn’t have to mean the guest list gets finalized right now, but many brides would agree that you don’t want to have to cut important people from your guest list just to squeeze into a smaller venue, so definitely try to get an idea of an estimated count.
Maybe you’re on the opposite end of this scenario and you’re looking to have a smaller wedding! Some venues also have a minimum guest list requirement, so while you’re researching, read their policies and see if a venue you love would be willing to accommodate a smaller guest list. Whichever is the case, think about the vision you have for your wedding day and how many people you want there. Then, choose your venue around that.
Typically when you’re choosing a venue, you will later have to rent furniture and decorations for your wedding. But some venues provide you with things such as tables, chairs, and linens, so you won’t have to worry about renting these elsewhere. Other venues are all-inclusive, meaning they will team up with a variety of their chosen vendors to have most, if not all, services covered.
Be sure to look into exactly what is included with any venue you’re interested in and the package you book with them. You may be surprised by what’s included in the rental of the location! I don’t always recommend going with an all-inclusive package if you want to have more control over the vendors you hire, but if you love the vendors that the package includes, it can be a huge advantage and streamline your planning process!
Last but not least, consider the amount you want to spend on the venue for your big day. Normally, the cost of renting the venue and catering will take up about half of your budget; Keep in mind that in Tucson, the average amount spent on a venue is between $5,000 and $12,000, with some venues costing more or less depending on what you’re looking for. Knowing some averages can help you determine a ballpark figure of what you may end up spending. I have an article here that can help you out with that!
Determine ahead of time if you two are able to be flexible with your budget for your venue. Will you splurge a little for a venue that you fall absolutely head-over-heels in love with? Or do you need to make sure you stick to your budget no matter what?
And again, some venues will include furniture and linen rentals, so be sure to read what is included with your venue rental! If you choose a venue that includes this, you could end up saving a few hundred dollars and be able to put that toward other wedding expenses.
So, to recap, the most important things to consider when choosing a venue are:
Need recommendations for some of the best venues in Tucson? I have a list of ones that I absolutely love! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about them!
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