Opting for the Venue / by brandonkeithphotography

While pretty much every aspect of a wedding is optional, from ditching the flowers to forgoing the wedding cake, there's one thing you can't skip: a venue! After all, you've got to have somewhere for your friends and family to gather and celebrate the newly weds!

Finding the perfect venue isn't easy. There are so many great places out there, whether you're looking for a barn, ballroom, a cozy cabin, or a quiet stretch of beach. 

Choose a venue that aligns with you & your fiances vision.  You might be thinking, "duh", but find venues that fit the aesthetic you have in mind. If your searching for a modern feel, look for well-designed restaurant spaces, or warehouses. If you are wanting to go more on the earthy side, choose something along the lines of a backyard, local state park, or farm with lots of land if you are having a larger wedding. Choosing a venue that fits in with your theme will enable your wedding to flow more naturally.

Know your guest list. Knowing how many guests you're expecting to invite before you go looking at venues will help save you from headaches and heartaches down the road. If you choose a venue that is too small for your guest list and more guests RSVP 'yes' than you can fit in the space, you might be in a tough situation. 

Budget. It's more than just how much renting the space will cost, Decor and flowers will also drive the cost up. Know how much your total budget is, as well as approximately what your design will cost to execute. If adding that on top of the cost of using the space blows your budget out of the water, you'll either need to scale back your design or look at more affordable spaces. 

What is included. If you're looking at some venues that are full-service, and some where you can bring in your own vendors and decor, be sure to price everything out. A venue with tables, chairs, and linens included might cost more upfront than a venue where you need to rent your own, but you should get an estimate from a rental company to see how they compare when you've added on the price of renting things for yourself.

With the influence of Pinterest weddings, a lot of couples choose venues based off of the style of a wedding they fell in love with online. But it's important to be honest and ask yourselves what feels authentic to you two as a couple, and to choose a space and a design that's a reflection of who you are.  And remember that, while a venue might have looked gorgeous with a different theme or design scheme, it may not be the perfect canvas for yours.