The AdVENUEture

I know everyone has their priorities when they begin planning—finding the perfect dress, finding the most fantastic Mexican-Asian fusion caterer—but for me, it was the venue.

Dan and I wanted something casual, outdoor, maybe a bit rustic and definitely a place where all of our family and friends would be comfortable. Because we were so focused on making sure we had the perfect place, we ended up looking at quite a few venues over the course of our searching. It is easy to get swept away by gorgeous photos. Here were some particularly swoon-worth shots of venues we toured.

Thankfully, we ended up finding the absolute perfect place (more on that in another post). But over the course of the searching, I learned a lot about looking at venues that I would have never thought of. Here are the things we didn’t thinking about until we were knee-deep in the venue hunt, that might be worth considering.

1. Consider the overall experience. It is really easy to get caught up with the stunning photos many of these venues produce. And that is certainly important. But, when visiting a venue, imagine being a guest (I would even suggest imagining yourself as one of your more particular guests, like perhaps your Great-Aunt Carla).  What is it like when they are walking from the parking lot to the ceremony? Do they have to walk through mud or a field or climb up a steep hill? When they need to go to the bathroom, do they need to walk through the dark or wait in a long line for the one stall? We found some a-mazing barns, but just couldn’t imagine Mrs. Goldstein in her Italian heels walking through the dirt parking lot.

2. Consider how you can personalize the space. Some spaces will dictate the overall style of the event and not leave a lot of room for personalization. If you want to DIY and do lots of crafts, make sure it makes sense for the space. We chose a classically-styled space as it leaves us tons of room to make it our own.

3. Consider the details. When do you have to stop the music? Do they require you to buy their wine? This comes up frequently in Napa and Sonoma, where they have a lot of restrictions on end-time and alcohol allowed. Just know what you are getting yourself into.

4. Consider the unseen costs. I found a private estate that I absolutely fell in love with. But the thought of bringing in bathrooms, lights, generators, water or food prep equipment was more daunting than I was willing to deal with. Not to mention the cost.

Source:  Gardens at Peacock Farms, Santa Margarita Ranch, Dana Powers House, Tentadue Winery, Barndiva, Cornerstone Gardens, BR Cohn Winery, Avila Beach Golf Resort, Vine Hill House

 PS: I keep forgetting to post this, but if you want to see more inspiration for our wedding, follow me on Pinterest!