As you begin planning your perfect wedding, one of the first things to consider is the location. At Three16 Photography, it’s not only our goal to capture your beautiful wedding day, but to also assist you as much as possible in the rest of the planning process. One of the biggest decisions to make is where your ceremony and reception will be. The wedding venue sets the tone and theme for the whole wedding day and can add character, color, and style. Because there are many things to consider with each venue and so many amazing venues to choose from, it can be a bit of a stress to pick just one. Fortunately, here at Three16 Photography, we love to take off some of the stress of searching around for great venues. Over the years as photographers, we’ve photographed weddings in a wide array of locations in Southern California and from this we’ve assembled a list of our favorite spots to help you make your decision. From the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Beach, to the Taglyan Complex in LA, and Ponte Winery in Temecula, we hope that the range of styles and locations will help make the planning process go a little smoother!
While exploring venues online and touring them in person, keep in mind to ask whether they have all the amenities you’re looking and hoping for. There are a few things to consider before coming to a final decision, and they can make it or break it. We’ve put together a list of things that you’ll probably want to know before coming to a conclusion, but we also suggest putting together your own list of priorities for the venue of your dreams. We suggest either asking your wedding planner, or confirming with the on-site wedding coordinator to be sure that it fits all of your criteria.
Things to consider before saying “I do” to your venue:
How many guests will be in attendance?
Some venues have plenty of space to hold hundreds of guests, but other sites might feel cramped if you have too many guests in attendance. Do you want a spacious ballroom for the reception, with high ceilings and a large dance floor? If this is your style, we highly suggest the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda. Or would you prefer a more intimate setting with all your guests gathered closely around you as you and your new husband sway back and forth on your first dance? Just be aware that for the smaller, more intimate venues, you don’t want to be stepping on anyone’s toes or feel cramped. With the guest count comes the question of whether the venue can hold all the tables for the reception in one area. You don’t want anyone feeling left out because they didn’t have a reserved space for them at a table, or they had to eat outside instead. Another thing to consider about the amount of guests is seating during the ceremony. Make sure your ceremony site can fit all of your guests as well!
What is your ideal theme? Does your theme match the venue’s style?
If you’re hoping to have a rustic, country-themed wedding, we wouldn’t recommend a grand ballroom for your reception. But if you’ve been dreaming of an outdoor wedding with lots of green, we would definitely suggest a wedding in Temecula, near the Central Coast, or in Yosemite with the lush green and mountains in the background.
Does your venue and dream fit your budget?
Wedding coordinators will tell you that some people come to them with photos or hopes of what their day will look like, only to find out that it’s realistically way out of their budget. Before touring venues, discuss with your fiancé and have an idea of what you’re willing to spend on a venue- and each of your vendors for that matter. But if you’re really in love with a specific venue, don’t let your budget stop you. Some venues will lower the cost if your wedding day is on a certain day of the week. Typically Saturdays are the busiest day for wedding venues.
Does your venue have a specific vendors-only list?
Some venues have a list of preferred vendors to help you make all of your decisions for your big day. This can be an easy way to find vendors for every aspect of your wedding. But there are also venues that only work with a specific set of vendors. If you’re dreaming of using a particular florist or catering company, etc. check with the venue first to see if they allow your ideal vendors.
Are there rooms or areas on-site for you and your bridal party to get ready?
Whether you’re going to a salon to get ready, prepping at a house, or having makeup artists and hairdressers come to you, you’ll ideally want a space for you and your wedding party to hang out before the ceremony. Some venues have suites already prepped to be used for weddings, but other locations don’t. It’s also a great place to keep all your things tucked safely away during the day. You and your wedding party can store your change of clothes, any makeup you brought along, or any must-haves for tiny emergencies.
Do they allow glitter, sparklers, confetti, alcohol?
Have you always dreamed of an extravagant exit at the end of your reception, with all your closest friends and family lined up as your run through an explosion of confetti, or the twinkling lights of dozens of sparklers? If that is the case, we definitely suggest taking your venue’s policies into consideration while planning. Some venues won’t allow sparklers because of the fire hazard, others charge a clean-up fee for glitter or confetti, and some charge a corking fee for bringing your own alcohol. Whatever your venue allows or doesn’t, it’s best to figure that out beforehand and figure out whether you’re able to make a compromise.
Is there a cap on how long your reception can go?
Some venues have limits on how late you can party due to noise ordinances. Check with your reception site to see if there’s a specific time you have to shut the party down or be off the premises.
There are so many incredible wedding venues to consider and we want to encourage you do your research and visit the venues that speak most to you. We hope that this list of things to consider before booking your venue has helped with some of the wedding planning and decision-making process! If you have any questions or would like more recommendations on venues or vendors, we’d be happy to help! Contact us . We look forward to celebrating your wedding day with you!