How to Pick Your Wedding Venue

Woohooo you just got engaged, how exciting!!! Now it’s time to get to work planning the wedding. Here are helpful tips on how to pick your wedding venue. This can be very overwhelming, although picking your venue can really be a major key to pull everything together and get you on track.

Start off by brainstorming with your fiancé about what kind of venue, what season, the budget, and the guest count you would like so you will be able to get a detailed search list. Here is step 1 on to How to Pick Your Wedding Venue.

How to Pick Your Wedding Venue los angeles dj
How to Pick Your Wedding Venue los angeles dj

Step 1: Pick the Season and dates!

The season you choose can have many factors dictating it, like what state you live in, whether you want indoor or outdoor, is family coming from out of town, or is your dream venue only available during a certain time of year. If you live in California you can pretty much get married anywhere anytime of the year, we generally only have rain during a couple months out of the year.

Rain can force you indoors, so if you want an outdoor venue make sure it has provisions for tenting or an indoor room to accommodate your guest count. Be mindful of the super-hot months when planning for an outdoor ceremony and/or reception. You do not want your guests uncomfortable so make sure there is shade; possibly umbrellas and that there is an indoor area with air conditioning for kids and seniors if they need to escape the heat.

It would be best if you to pick a few dates so you have some flexibility if a venue you really like isn’t available for your first choice. Some venues book up quickly, a year or more in advance especially during the summer months. Saturday is the ideal day as guests usually do not need to take off work but it’s more expensive depending on the venue. Sunday-Thurs can be cheaper although guests need to take off work and on Sunday guests may leave early because they have work the next day. Also you want to select a date where you have enough time to plan, save money, allow guests time to save the date and book your vendors. For less stress about a year in advance is ideal unless you are in a hurry to plan everything.

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Sarah + Ray at Lake Oak Meadows in Temecula, Ca Photo by Oscar and Dassi

Step 2. Create Your Guest List

Create a guest list this way you will know how many people the venue will need to accommodate; this will play a big part in how to pick your wedding venue. Have yourself and your fiancé each make their own list and then go through them together. Leave a few open spaces about 10 for any additions that may come from your parents or other sponsors. Also take in to account if there are any guests that will need wheelchair access as well so that you pick a venue everyone can easily maneuver through.

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Sarah + Ray at Lake Oak Meadows in Temecula, Ca Photo by Oscar and Dassi

Step 3. The Budget

The scary part….the budget! This is very crucial to discuss early on to make sure you are both on the same page with how to pick your wedding venue and are able to book a venue you both are super excited for. Make sure to figure in any gifts from parents or sponsors and what you have saved and/or are projected to save for the wedding. What portion of this are you wanting to put towards the actual venue. Along with this you will need to consider if the venue is all inclusive or not. All-inclusive typically means the venue provides tables, chairs, linens, dinnerware, etc. Some venues will not allow you to pick your own vendors, so make sure to ask and that you like their in-house options. Some will allow you to bring in your own if they can provide a business license and insurance for an extra fee.

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Sarah + Ray at Lake Oak Meadows in Temecula, Ca Photo by Oscar and Dassi

Step 4: Picking The Venue

Here’s the fun one, picking a venue. An important step in this process is to figure geographically how far you and your family/friends will have to travel for the event. Probably one of the most exciting but difficult is a destination wedding, this will most likely get you a smaller guest count but will require a lot of planning for lodging and travel. Do your online research, you can find out a lot by using sites like: and You can quickly find out what they include, pricing, and capacity using these types of sites. Don’t be afraid to send off for quotes and email venues, the more information you get the better. It really helps in narrowing down your choices.

  • Make a list of venues that you love.
  • Schedule walk through’s – So many times it looks perfect online and then you get there and oh no it is not what you wanted, or something looks a little rough around the edges online and then you get there and it’s stunning.
  • Check the bathrooms – are there enough, are they easily accessed, and clean. How far are they from the dancefloor?
  • Are there enough power sources to accommodate your event? If you are having a dj with subs, dancing on the cloud effect, sparklers, club style lighting, fresh donuts, waffles, you definitely need multiple circuits to power everything.
  • Does the venue allow alcohol? Some places only allow beer and wine so if you want hard alcohol make sure to clarify their rules. Security can sometimes be required too when booking Community and Civic Centers, this can be based on guest count and if alcohol is present or not.
  • Most important thing is there a sound ordinance? Some venues or cities have sound ordinances where no loud music is allowed after 10pm or the sound level has to be under -85 decibels at the property line etc,. Some questions to ask are how loud can we be? Do we need to stop the music at a certain time? Do we need to lower the sound volume at a certain time? Can our dj bring subwoofers? Time and time again we have been to venues where the volume has to be very low where you can’t get into the music and the energy stays low.
  • Is the hall big enough? Different venues have different capacities and you wouldn’t want your venue to small or too big for the amount of guests you are having. You would also want space to put the dancefloor, bar, dj, photobooth, dessert table, cake table, etc all in the same room or area if possible. If the bar is one area, the photobooth is another area, and the cake is in another area your guests would be spread thin and makes it hard for the dj to keep the dancefloor poppin..
  • Are you able to control and turn off the house lights at night for dancing as well as is there enough light for your other vendors. Check out a handful of venues before deciding.

Congratulations you have just paved the way for a fun filled journey with your love, have fun and ask lots of questions. Thanks for reading How to Pick Your Wedding Venue. Check below for more help with playlists and more articles like “How to pick your wedding venue”

Photos – Oscar + Dassi –

Venue – Lake Oak Meadows – Temecula, Ca –

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