8 Steps to Choosing Your Wedding Venue

You’re engaged – Congratulations! There are so many exciting things coming your way, which also means you’ll have a lot of decisions to make. One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is choosing a venue for your wedding. The Cedar Rapids and Eastern Iowa area have a lot of great venues to choose from, so you’ll have your work cut out for you!

Choosing a wedding venue is a multi-step process, so we have a list of what you’ll need to do to get to that point, then what to consider when you get there!


    1. Set your overall budget.
      The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a venue that doesn’t fit your budget. Many venues require a sizable deposit, so be sure that you’re ready to set down the cash before you book.


    2. Set your vision.
      Decide, as a couple, what your special day should look like. Rustic, romantic, classy, modern, minimalist… The possibilities are only limited to your imagination and research. Your wedding vision also includes your location, so consider if you want to stay close to home, have a destination wedding or something in between.


    3. Set your date.
      Decide if you want a specific date or if you can be flexible based on a venue’s availability. It’s best to go into a venue tour with at least a couple of dates or a month in mind.

    5. Draft the guest list.
      Once you have an aesthetic in mind for the setting, you’ll need to decide how many people will be attending. You might find a quaint and rustic barn that fits seamlessly into your budget and vision, but a 300 person guest list definitely won’t fit those quaint grounds.

    7. Start your research.
      The Knot is a great place to start looking at a collection of venues in your area. You can filter your results by price range, amount of guests and more. As you search, keep a list of the ones that stand out so you can go back and compare later.

    9. Consider the details.
      The price of your venue can include a lot more than just the cost of renting the space. Here are some details to look out for:

      • Does the venue rental include a ceremony location?
        If so, it could be a great way to save on additional rental and travel costs.

      • How long do you need the space?
        Some venues offer options for how long you can have a space, but some only offer a strict schedule. You’ll need time to set up, tear down and, especially, to enjoy your time. Make sure you can fit all of that into your allotted time, or that the venue rental includes help to get everything done.

      • Are table settings and decor included?
        Many venues offer wedding table setting rentals to make your reception look beautiful, and some even have those already included in the cost of your rental. Not purchasing your own settings and decor can save you money, time and storage space.

      • Is there on site catering?
        Wedding food and drink are likely big pieces of your wedding reception, and it can add up to a lot of time and money quickly. Venues that offer catering service as part of their venue package take away the stress of finding a separate vendor that will arrive on time with quality food and service.

      • Is the space accessible?
        You may need to consider elderly or handicapped guests when making your decision. You might be dreaming of an outdoor ceremony or reception at the end of a long or sandy path, but your older and honored guests may not be able to make the hike. Luckily, most modern wedding venues are made to be accessible for all guests.

    10. Tour, tour, tour!
      I repeat: take wedding venue tours! Taking a look at your options in person is an absolute must. You’ll need an opportunity to see the spaces you could be transforming into your once in a lifetime event before you lock in your booking. Some venues will even give you key information in a tour that you may not find on a website.

    12. Weigh your options and lock in your decision.
      Once you’ve seen all your options, balanced the pros and cons, and found the wedding venue that is just right, you’ll want to get your date booked right away. Many venues book a year or two in advance, so you definitely won’t want to sit on your decision once it’s made!



    Booking your wedding venue ticks off a huge task on your wedding checklist, so take a moment to relax and regroup once you’ve accomplished that goal. Planning a wedding can get stressful, and taking time for the two of you to enjoy together, without any wedding talk, can be a good way to reset your stress levels. So go ahead and watch that movie, go out to dinner or stay in and have a game night. You’ve earned it!



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