5 Tips For Deciding When & Where To Get Married
What's The Best Month To Get Married
By Jeffrey House Photography
What's the best month to get married?
If you follow our blog, we often talk about how many bridges and grooms regret how they planned their wedding. In fact, over 80% of couples regret how they planned their weddings and we want to do something to help you avoid making the same mistakes. In this article, we want to give you some ideas on when and where you should get married.
As professional wedding photographers, we understand planning a wedding can be very overwhelming! There are a lot of details that need to be considered. What makes things even more difficult is the emotion that comes with a wedding. Having to make decisions about something that evokes such emotion can be very challenging. It's much easier to make logical and rational decisions when emotion isn't part of the equation.
So Many Things To Consider
We all understand there are many details to consider when planning your wedding, but couples often place to much importance on everything. Prioritizing is essential and this will require you to be organized. Organization is a huge key to success when it comes to wedding planning, so take a little extra time upfront to get organized. We can even help you by providing you with a copy of our FREE ultimate wedding planning guide. Just click the button below when you're ready to download your copy!
Important Details That Might Surprise You!
In this article we are going to put our focus on two key details for planning your wedding - when and where! You might be thinking to yourself, "yea, these are important things to consider, but how important can they really be?"
Choosing when and where to have your wedding can significantly impact your special day, and more importantly, your budget! Let's take a look at 5 steps you can take in choosing when and where to have your wedding.
5 Tips For Choosing When & Where To Have Your Wedding
1. Guest List
It usually surprises couples to see that developing a guest list is number one on the list when it comes to choosing when and where to have your wedding. How is it relevant? The guest list plays a vital role in the choosing your wedding venue, so let's take a closer look at the importance of a good guest list.
When developing your guest list I strongly suggest making two lists - A "must" invite and a "possible" invite. Once you're done making your lists see where the numbers fall. Why is this important when choosing a venue? Most venues, during "wedding season," will require couples to spend a minimum amount of money in order to book a Saturday wedding (i.e. $20,000) or they may require you to guarantee a minimum guest count (i.e. 125 people). You will obviously need to have a solid grasp on your guest list to determine which venues can be considered and which venues are not possible.
The flip side of course is making sure your guest list doesn't exceed the venues maximum occupancy. While this is a more rare situation, it's something that needs to be considered.
There's that dreaded word again - budget! On average, a wedding venue will cost couples between $100-$120 per head; therefore, if you have 100 guests you should budget between $10,000 - $12,000. Some of you just said to yourself, "yea, that's about what I expected." Others just fell off their chair. Now that we understand the average cost of a venue, it may or may not impact your "when and where" later on.
3. "Off-Season" Versus "In-Season"
The time of year in which you're having your wedding will clearly dictate whether it's considered an off-season or in-season wedding. The important thing to understand about off-season versus in-season weddings is how much of an impact it can have on the cost of a venue. Obviously in-season weddings will be noticeably more expensive and generally speaking, off-season weddings will not have the same requirements as in-season (i.e. minimum guest counts, minimum financial investment, etc.).
Pro Tip: An important factor that you don't want to overlook are the venue grounds. Are there nice areas outside and inside for your wedding photography? When considering the outside grounds look to see if there are areas with nice flowers, bushes, trees, water, etc. You may also look for close by open fields or brick/stone walls. Inside the venue look for unique areas that would make for nice backgrounds as well. Ornate walls or unique sitting rooms can create interesting photography. The time of year can either make or break the aesthetics of a venue.
4. Location Of The Venue
When choosing your wedding venue, the location should be a big consideration. You want a location that makes it easy for your guests to get to. Consider how many routes are available to get to the venue. If your guests are traveling during times of heavy traffic alternate routes can be very beneficial, especially if your having a Friday night wedding. You don't want your guests frustrated because they have been stuck in commuter traffic for hours.
It's a good idea to choose a venue that is within a reasonable driving distance for the majority of your guests. Couples will often forget to consider drive times for their guests. Often the venue is close enough to drive to, but just far enough to cause guests to leave early so they can get a jump on the ride home. If your guests are leaving early it could ultimately result in a pretty boring wedding reception.
Make sure to speak with local hotels in the area to reserve enough rooms for your out-of-town guests or guests who just want to stay the night. Many hotels have working relationships with wedding venues and extend discounts for your guests.
5. The Venue
Once you begin to schedule your venue visits, you will want to have a game plan in place. In other words, there are specific details you will want to address so you can compare and contrast each location later. If you Google "questions to ask a wedding venue" you're going to find a ton of sites providing lists of questions. You probably can compile 100 questions, but that's probably not the most efficient way to approach it.
View some lists and write down the questions that you feel are important to you and your wedding. However, that being said, I have some questions couples should address with every venue.
- Does the venue require any minimum financial or guest requirements?
- Can the venue accommodate hosting your wedding ceremony too and what are their options?
- What is the charge to host your ceremony at the venue site?
- Does the price of the venue include linens? Chair covers? Plates? Glasses? Silverware?
- Does the price include centerpieces and what are their options?
- Does the price include a wedding cake and what are their options?
- Do you have a choice between a buffet and full service dinner?
- If having an outdoor wedding, what is the venues contingency plan if the weather doesn't cooperate?
- Does the venue have on-site catering or do you have to hire a caterer? (request references of local caterers if you need to hire one)
- Does the venue offer a food tasting?
- How many total guests can the venue accommodate?
- If applicable, is the venue site handicap accessible?
- Are there any restrictions as to how late music can be played?
- What is the food and beverage cost on a per person basis? Taxes? Gratuity?
- Can you use your own decorations to suit your purposes or do you have to leave everything as is?
The Direct Impact
Creating a guest list, developing your budget, in-season and off-season weddings, venue locations, and venue features/options have a direct impact on "when and where" you ultimately host your wedding. And the opposite is true too. Where you host your wedding will ultimately impact the 5 topics we've just discussed.
Hopefully this article helps you to better understand how the "when and where" and can impact your wedding planning and your wedding budget. Being organized and informed will really help to make your wedding planning easier and more effective. We wish you the best of luck with your planning.
What do you think is the best time of year to get married?