Different couples will have different ideas for where they want to get married. They will also have varying budgets which will impact on the eventual location. Wedding venues are perhaps the key component of making your wedding day special and memorable so you need to put a lot of thought into this decision.  To ensure your perfect wedding venue is available you need to book early. Most of the best wedding venues are booked at least one year in advance or more if you want particular times of year, such as Valentine’s day. If you are more flexible on dates and can even get married on a week day then you will have less trouble.

The crucial factors to be determined before you start looking at different venues for weddings are your budget, how many guests you are planning to invite and what part of the day the wedding will cover, for example day and afternoon or evening as well.

You then need to see which locations are available in your area – traditional choices would include churches, hotels and stately homes but there are also more unusual wedding venues such as castles and museums. If you are more of the outdoors type you may prefer one of the many outdoor wedding venues such as a beach, a park or botanical gardens. Either have a drive around and see which ones take your fancy or search on the internet and visit the relevant websites to gather your first impressions. You could also attend a local bridal fair as all of the local venues will most likely be exhibiting.

Now that you have a short list of venues to consider you will need to visit each one and gather a raft of information to help you make your final selection. Pick up their weddings brochure so you can understand exactly what they offer, for what price and what restrictions they impose. Also take your camera with you and take some pictures of the reception rooms and bedrooms as after you have visited a few places they will all merge into one.

Here are some important wedding venue questions to answer for each venue so that you can compare them against each other later:

Dates available

You will probably have a rough date in mind for your big day but it is worth checking whether the wedding reception venue is available not only on that day but also a week or so either side. You may find your perfect venue is very expensive on the weekend you had planned but is less so on a week day. As such you may want to compromise on the day to secure the venue of your dreams.

Wedding Photography By Jon Day.

First impressions

Consider how you were treated at each location and during your initial phone call if you made one. Were the staff unattentive or uninterested in you and all of your questions? If so, things are unlikely to improve over the course of planning the wedding and the big day itself.

Guest capacity

There are many small wedding venues that offer intimate surrounds for a gathering of close friends and family. If however, your wedding party is on the large side, your venue needs to be able to cope with the number of guests you are inviting. You want to ensure that the capacity is also not too big though or your reception will feel swamped. Often larger hotels can screen off parts of larger function rooms for smaller wedding parties but it is best to check during the planning stage.

Licensed for wedding ceremonies

You can get married at many wedding reception venues and if this is what you are planning you need to ensure that the venue is licensed for carrying out wedding ceremonies. It can make it a lot easier for both the bridal party and the guests to combine the ceremonial and reception venues as there is no driving between locations and refreshments are available for guests both pre and post ceremony.


The variation in wedding venue prices will be immense. As well as being dependent upon the stature of the venue it will vary with what is actually included in a package price. You need to go over any estimates in great detail to ensure you are comfortable with what is included and more importantly what is not. An unexpected bill at the end of the day will not be a nice wedding present.

Most hotels package their venue price with other extras that they arrange such as the ceremony, reception food and decoration, toastmaster, evening disco and many other wedding supplies. If you want to leave some of the preparations with someone else to worry about, some hotels will offer a complete service where they take care of everything. If you want more control you can just rent the venue and chairs and tables and organize everything else yourself down to table linen, catering and waiting staff.

Try and obtain estimates for the various different packages that the venue has to offer along with an extras price list so that you can add or remove items to fit in with your budget. Ask about the discounts available for large wedding parties and try and find out what number of guests would constitute a small wedding that would not take up the venue’s largest function room. Make sure you are advised of what typical additional charges are made to other wedding bookings and whether or not taxes are included in the figures you have been quoted. Determine whether the cost would change significantly if the date was moved a week forwards or backwards or if a week day was chosen instead. Finally you need to know how much of a deposit is needed, payment terms for this and the final bill and what the cancellation terms are.

Bridal suite

Unless you are planning on jetting off on honeymoon straight after your wedding reception, you will want to check out the bridal suite. Is it beautiful, how much does it cost and is it included in the price you have been quoted?

Photo by CarlosMendozaPhoto.

Accommodation for guests

If you have many friends and family who live out of the area, the chances are they will need accommodation for the wedding night as well as the night before perhaps. The ideal location for them to stay would be the wedding venue if the price and accommodation is suitable. When you visit the location be sure to view the rooms that would be allocated, ensure they have sufficient availability for the nights required and attempt to negotiate a discounted rate for your guests.

Location of ceremony

If you will be married at the wedding venue, you want to ensure there is sufficient room at the alter for all those you envisage needing to be there, including the minister, the bridesmaids, photographer, pageboys etc. You also need to make sure that there are good backdrops for your wedding photos.

If you are planning a wedding outdoors in the gardens of the venue, check with the event organiser that they have a contingency plan in case of rain. They need to be able to accommodate the ceremony and reception indoors if need be. It is also worth looking around inside the venue for some beautiful locations should the need to take indoor photos arise.

Reception & evening party

Drinks and accommodation should be available for guests while the wedding photo session is going on. Check out what the menu choices are for the wedding breakfast and how the overall price will change depending on the food chosen. Ensure the caterers can cope with vegetarian and other dietary requirements. Find out whether you are able to have a band or disco at the evening party or whether there are restrictions on playing loud music. The closing time of the venue is another important consideration to be confirmed up front.

Most wedding venues have their own list of preferred wedding suppliers, so they will have a florist, DJ and decorator that they are used to hiring. If you want to arrange your own suppliers, you need to ensure there are no restrictions to doing this stipulated by the venue or any limitation on what your suppliers can do.

Other facilities

If you have children coming to the wedding and reception, it is worth asking whether the venue can arrange fully insured and regulated babysitting services.

Take a look at the car parking facilities. Will there be enough spaces for all of your guests and is the parking complementary?

If you are having an evening dance, is the dance floor large enough?

Special requests

Have a think about those weddings that you have attended. Did any aspects of the wedding venues grab your attention that you would like to replicate? You could also ask family and friends for their ideas.

Wedding venue staff members

Another key consideration when choosing a venue is how you feel about the wedding co-ordinator or member of staff who will be dealing with the planning of your wedding. If the venue is perfect but you do not feel comfortable or confident in the manager you are dealing with, you may be better off picking another venue. This is your big day and you need to ensure that those helping you make it special are on your wave length. Communication problems are easy to come across. Jot down important information that you glean from any conversations and e-mail the venue to confirm your understanding of all the details. It will be too late on the day to argue the toss.

Final selection

When you have checked through all of the above thoughts for a few weddings venues and have a few estimates, you are able to compare prices on the front runners to see what different value you are getting from each location. It is now advisable to visit your favorite venues on the day of a wedding so you can see exactly how it looks with all the wedding decorations, marquees, gazebos etc. There is nothing like seeing the venue in all its glory (or lack of) to visualise your big day.

You should now be in a position to choose your perfect wedding venue. Overall trust your instincts as your first impressions will probably not be far off.

Las Vegas is a city bustling with lights, magnificent shows, food, money, people who have big hopes of hitting it big, people hoping to catch a glimpse of Elvis, and couples who want a memorable wedding.

Las Vegas wedding venues have the reputation of being flashy, tacky, impersonal, and a haven for those who need a quickie wedding. So does that mean the 100,000+ people a year that choose to say ‘I do’ in Vegas are flashy, tacky, and in a hurry? No; at least not everyone, anyway. But we’ll talk about that later.

Whether it’s an elegant affair at Caesar’s Palace or something more out of the ordinary, Vegas’ 360+ wedding venues have something to fit everyone’s taste and budget.

If you’re a traditionalist, you probably wonder what kind of people would do that. Couples who select Vegas for their wedding destination are couples who are:

  • Saying ‘I do’ for the first time.
  • Celebrating a milestone anniversary by renewing their vows.
  • Wanting something small and personal, yet memorable.
  • Needing to escape the drama back home.
  • Getting married for the 2nd (or more) time.

Photo by Lola’s Big Adventure!.

Most venues offer packages in a range of prices. They can be as basic as providing the officiate and witness, or include everything from flowers, music, seating, food, decorations, photography, and entertainment. Just as long as you show up with the $60 license (FYI, you both have to be present to obtain one but there is no waiting period, and they only take cash payments), have proof you are over the age of 18 (unless your parent is with you or you have a notarized document granting permission), aren’t already married, and aren’t wanting to marry your cousin, you can walk into the wedding chapel single and come out a few minutes later as husband and wife.

So where can you do the deed? Here are a few ideas:

Caesar’s Palace offers packages for weddings as small as 10 up to those that will seat close to 200 guests.

Mandalay Bay’s wedding chapel sits beside a huge pool, and has 12 different packages to accommodate 50 to 100 guests. Besides the traditional wedding, Mandalay Bay gives you the opportunity to exchange your vows at their shark reef or island cabana.

Want to think way outside the box? Maverick Helicopters will take the bride and groom and up to three guests for a ride overlooking the city where they can say ‘I do’. NOTE: There is a weight limit, so leave your chubby friends at home.

More unusual ideas to include as part of your Vegas wedding venue package are a gondola, Grecian garden, beautiful garden gazebos, and even atop a replica of the Eiffel Tower. But by far, the most unusual is a wedding on the Treasure Island pirate ship. Yep, it comes complete with pirates who swing down from the crow’s nest of the ship to deliver the rings! You’ve gotta’ admit that would make for some lively storytelling in a few years.

Last but not least, is the Graceland Wedding Chapel. For over 50 years, the GWC has provided happy wedding memories for countless couples wanting to make Elvis a part of their big day. Hey, how many of you can say Elvis walked you down the aisle and sang at your wedding?

We all dream of that special day. We want our wedding day to be special and to represent our relationship with our one true love. Beyond the traditional church, a gazebo in the park, or even Las Vegas, there are a myriad of unusual wedding venues.

These venues are more memorable and more fun, need less decorating, and are often less expensive than traditional wedding venues. Here are the best ideas!

Get sophisticated and choose a venue such as museum, winery, theatre, mansion (think Wrigley or Hearst) or art gallery.

Get fun and choose a venue such as the zoo, aviary, or a riverboat cruise.

Get adventurous and choose an exotic island where you can have your wedding and your honeymoon all in the same place. Or, try a European Ice Bar (think Absolut in London). There are even ice hotels (think Norway).

Get wild and choose a beach or a national park such as Yellowstone. It makes sense to get married in front of “Old Faithful”, doesn’t it?

Get silly and get married on an amphibious Ducky Tour, “Quack! Quack!” Your guests will love exploring your city. Silly would also include getting married at the local McDonald’s or elementary school. But, if that’s where you met…..silly yields romance!

Get romantic! Get married where you and your love met. The local pub, a friend’s back yard, the local community pool, the campus of your alma mater, a baseball park or other sports arena, the local Starbucks, or even scuba diving.

Get historic or, even, prehistoric. Get married at a historic venue (think Liberty Bell) or with the dinosaurs at your local museum of natural history (think Carnegie).

Go crazy! Crazy and unusual would surely include getting married while skydiving, in a plane, climbing Mt. Everest, or while in a space rocket (it will happen). Zero Gravity Corporation offers weddings in zero gravity with handsome navy blue jumpsuits for guests.

Of course, there is always Las Vegas (think Elvis). Pick unusual wedding venues that reflect your joys and your relationship and you will have a memorable day enjoyed by all. Good luck and have fun!

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