Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Venue

Deciding on a location for your wedding is one of the more important decisions you’ll make since many other details will revolve around your venue. If you’ve dreamed about your wedding day since childhood, the prospect of pinning down the nitty-gritty details of your dream can be overwhelming. After all, it’s hard for the reality of a wedding venue to live up to the vision set in your mind. But with a little planning and ingenuity, you can find a venue that helps you achieve your dreams while still honoring the reality of your budget.

Envision Your Ideal Wedding

The process of shopping for a venue can be overwhelming, particularly if you don’t enjoy listening to sales pitches. Before you take the plunge and begin visiting venues in person, ask yourself what the perfect wedding day looks like to you – and what you can leave by the wayside. Some things to consider include:

  • The size of your wedding party and whether they’ll have enough room to stand by you while you take your vows
  • Whether you want an indoor or outdoor wedding
  • Whether your wedding will be religious or secular
  • What you want the aisle you walk down to look like
  • How much room you’ll need for guests
  • Your style: do you want a traditional wedding or more casual?  Are you bold and edgy or do you prefer a more rustic feel? Not every venue is conducive to every style, so you’ll need an idea of your decorations and ceremony structure when you visit the venue.

Honor Your Unique Personalities

There’s no reason your wedding has to follow any predetermined plan or replicate someone else’s. Instead, take some time to consider what makes the two of you unique as a couple. If you’re outdoorsy, why not take advantage of Colorado’s extended ski season and get married at a resort such as Keystone Resort. Love a crowd and hate the stress of a traditional wedding? Loveland Ski Area holds an annual group wedding for dozens of couples who are eager to take the plunge in the chilly mountains. If you want to steer clear of the cold and channel your inner princess, try a wedding at a luxurious property such as Silverthorne Pavilion or Lionscrest Manor.

No matter what venue you choose, you’ll need to evaluate whether it complements or stifles your personality. Be sure to ask the venue coordinator whether he or she can accommodate your needs before you waste time taking a tour or paying a deposit.  If you’re considering a unique wedding theme, we’ve included some tips to help you decide if a unique wedding is for you.

Consider the Weather

You might have dreams of walking down the aisle during a balmy summer day as floral aromas waft through the air. But the weather can be a huge liability, even if you’re getting married indoors. Ensure that the venue you choose has a backup plan for outdoor weddings.  If an indoor alternative is not an available, make sure the venue provides another option, such as a pavilion large enough to accommodate your entire wedding party and all of your guests.

If you’re getting married inside the elements aren’t as big of a concern, but you should consider the effects rain or snow can have on transportation. A mountaintop wedding can keep guests away if the weather is bad, and if you have to walk a long distance from the parking lot to the wedding venue, your lovely hair and elegant dress could be ruined in no time at all. When you visit the venue, ask about contingency plans and weigh whether you’ll be able to navigate the venue if the weather is uncooperative.

How to choose a wedding venue in Colorado

A view of a wedding reception hosted at the Garden of the Gods Club.

Look at Package Deals

Some couples love the creativity involved in planning every minute detail of their wedding, but others grow to loathe it. If you don’t enjoy endlessly combing through Pinterest boards or making crafts, you might be happier to delegate basic wedding duties to the venue itself. A variety of wedding venues in Colorado – including Beaver Creek Hyatt, Seawell Ballroom and Garden of the Gods Club — provide all-inclusive packages that include food and decorations. Some venues may even offer lodging to both you and your guests.

Review Venue Policies

You’ve always heard that you need to read a contract before you sign it, but in your haste to walk (or run!) down the aisle, don’t skip this vital step. Your wedding venue is not under any obligation to tell you each and every policy. Review the contract carefully to see if you can live with it. Consider the following:

  • How long you can be at the venue
  • The cost of extra guests
  • Whether the venue offers a wedding planner or any other forms of support
  • Whether the venue has restrictions such as which DJ or photographer you can hire
  • How much time you’ll have to prepare for the wedding beforehand, and whether you’ll have a private room to get ready
  • Whether the venue provides catering services.

Practical Matters

Before you fall in love with a venue, you need to carefully evaluate whether it can accommodate you needs. Be sure to examine the following:

  • Where you’ll be getting ready and whether you’re happy with this location. Be sure to find out how early you can show up to get ready.
  • Whether you’ll need transportation to a reception site. Some couples prefer venues that offer both reception and ceremony locations on-site.
  • Whether you’ll need extra space for a cocktail hour, a dessert area, or even creative activities such as roasting marshmallows.
  • Access to electricity if you’re outside, and the location of electrical outlets if you’re inside.
  • Ceremony lighting. Try scheduling your visit to the venue around close to the time of your ceremony to see what the space will look like.  Always consider the quality of your photos when envisioning your wedding.  Good photographers can work around poor light but the better the light, the better the photos.
  • Value of the view. An amazing view can take your breath away and your wallet too!  Ask yourself how important is the view and if you can settle for a pretty setting without the spectacular view.

Narrowing down your venue list and reviewing legal documents might not seem like the most romantic undertaking. However, it’s a great opportunity for you and your fiancé to practice working together on logistical and financial plans – a skill you’ll need for the rest of your married lives!


Additional Resources & Information for Planning Your Wedding: