Saying Yes to a Venue! {Wedding Wednesday}

We did it! This past weekend, after narrowing our choices down to 8, then 3, and then finally just 1 - we picked the venue at which Josh and I will say "I do!" and celebrate with our family and friends. While I am not going to talk about exactly where we'll be getting married, I want to use this Wedding Wednesday to talk about our process, as well as a few of the major factors that went into choosing the right venue.

The Process:

First, Josh and I put together a list of things we definitely did not want in a wedding venue. This list included, but was not limited to: lack of outdoor ceremony space, two events going on at the same place at the same time, and city locations. Using this information, I scoured bridal magazines and websites, googled my way through reviews on The Knot and WeddingWire, and selected a number of places that looked nice to call and make an appointment at to go and see.

Then, Josh and I picked a date. I think a timeline or general month could work for some people, but Josh and I knew that we want to get married next summer, and had some general limitations on exactly when it could be - and so it was easiest to go into the entire process with a date picked. Once we picked a date, I started to call the places we had liked and was able to ask them a few questions about their venue, and see if they had our date available. As luck would have it - every single one of the venues had our date except for one that wasn't on our favorites list.

I made appointments at 9 of the places that I called - and ended up canceling one due to bad reviews - and in the middle of April my mother and I spent two days touring venues all around Central, Northern and North Southern New Jersey. We toured 4 the first day (a Friday) just the two of us, then on Saturday toured 4 more with my Stepmother and my Dad joined us for 3 of those. After each venue, we would sit in the car and make a quick list of the pros and cons to go along with whatever information we took down during our tour. I think that this helped to keep our judgment unclouded and really focus us on the important things. After touring 8 places, we narrowed the list down to three - and made a date for Josh to come back and tour them to help make the decision.

Fast forward to this past weekend, Josh and I packed up Nash and headed down to New Jersey to find our venue. We toured all three places on Saturday, and had a meeting with my Cantor in between, and by Saturday night we had made up our minds and chosen our venue.

The Factors:

Now that you have a better understanding of our process (which I think is pretty typical, although I could be wrong about that), I want to share with you some of the main factors that went into our decision...

1) Personality

This was extremely important to me because I want to work with someone over the next year or so that I can get along with and that truly cares about the outcome of our wedding celebration. Of all of the people that we met with, 2 of the 3 we narrowed it down to had managers with incredible personalities that would be working with us from now through the end of our celebration. A few of the places we saw it felt more like a wedding factory, and I didn't like the idea that we would work with someone for the next year, and then be handed off to another person on the day of our wedding. And politeness was also a big thing - at one venue my mother and I looked at together we were treated incredibly rudely and almost left without even sitting down to go over the numbers. Bottom line: This is a big day for us and we want to feel like it is a big day for the venue/manager too.

2) Location

Although we began, and ended, our search in New Jersey, we are very conscious of the fact that many people are coming from out of state for our wedding and so we wanted our location to be easy-to-find, since centrally located was probably not going to happen. One venue we looked at was hard to get to - and I could not have imagined our guests trying to read the directions cards and navigate that maze. The place that we chose is very easy to find and, almost right off of the highway, shouldn't be an issue for any of our guests - or our shuttle from the hotel - to get to.

3) Price

The ever important budget did play a role in our decision here. Of the final three places that we looked at, one (that we did not choose) was almost $7,000 over the price of the other two. While we could have afforded to get married there, we would have had much less in our budget for everything else, and significantly less wiggle room for things later on. Also, for us, it is important that our guests have an amazing experience, and just because a place is more expensive, doesn't actually mean that it is better - sometimes it is just way overpriced for the food and experience that you're getting.

4) The Undescribable ... Feeling

On Saturday, after Josh had seen all three venues with me, we had a decision to make - and it wasn't as easy as you might think. At first, we were confused - we liked them all. Yes, they all had pros and cons, but each of them had something that we loved so much we couldn't imagine not having it. In less than an hour though, we had decided - we most of all couldn't see ourselves starting our married lives together at anywhere except the venue that we chose. We love the manager, the location is great, the price is great, and everything about the venue services is flexible. We can work with the chef to add inspiration to the menu, we can bring in our favorite elements from the other venues to this one, and - an added bonus - we absolutely love the bridal and groom suites! We walked down the aisle at the outside ceremony site together, and I think - although we hadn't said it outloud - that we both knew then that we would be getting married in that spot.

Choosing our venue was definitely a whirlwind experience - and we are relieved to be ahead of the game! With our venue booked, we can relax a bit and take our time as we begin to delve more into styling our wedding celebration, planning the party, and enjoying every. single. moment. that this experience has to offer.

Are you married? Engaged? Had the experience of venue shopping? What other factors came in to play when you looked for a venue? Was your process completely different from ours? I'd love to hear from you!




  1. Very exciting! Congrats on checking off one of the BIG boxes on your to-do list! I know it'll be beautiful!


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