Selecting a wedding venue is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The venue acts as the “canvas” for your wedding, setting the mood and atmosphere for this memorable occasion. To help you get started on the right track, we’ve compiled a list of six things to consider when choosing a wedding venue.

#1) Occupancy Capacity

Booking a venue with a low occupancy capacity could result in some of your guests being turned away at the door. This isn’t a fault of the venue, as California fire codes require all commercial properties to limit the number of people who occupy them at any given time. So when choosing a venue, make sure the maximum occupancy exceeds the total number of people who are expected to attend your wedding, including guests, both wedding parties, service providers, entertainment, the officiant, etc.

#2) Parking and Transportation

What type of parking and transportation (if any) does the venue offer? Getting married in a historic downtown district may sound appealing, but it could present a nightmarish scenario for guests if there’s little-to-no parking. Check with the venue’s property manager to determine where guests are allowed to park. And if guests are forced to park far away, see if the venue offers transportation such as shuttle buses or taxis.

#3) Date Availability

Some couples may have a specific date in mind for their wedding, in which case you’ll want to make sure the venue is available. Popular wedding venues like Campbell Creek Ranch are often booked months in advance, so don’t wait until the last minute to find a venue

#4) Price

Of course, you should also consider the price when choosing a venue for your big day. Venues prices can range anywhere from a couple hundred bucks to several thousands, depending on its policy, date, rental length, and other factors. In addition, couples may also have to put down a security deposit, which is usually returned as long as you follow the venue’s rules (e.g. don’t trash the place or use prohibited wedding favors).

#5) Ceremony and Reception Accommodations

What kind of accommodations does the venue offer for wedding ceremonies and receptions? If the venue consists of nothing more than small chapel, you may have to set up a gazebo outside for the reception.

#6) Location

Last but not least, consider the venue’s location. Even if you and your fiance are willing to drive 100 miles to say “I do,” some guests may not be comfortable making the trip. If you’re planning a relatively large wedding with 100 or more guests, choose a venue that’s within a reasonable driving distance from you and your fianc√©’s hometown. This will ensure that most guests who want to attend can attend.

Photo credit: Eileen Rivard