As I blogged about earlier this summer, the venue is one of the first things you should research and book. They book up SO quickly. We got engaged at the end of June, and wanted to get married in the fall of 2018, and when I called around July 1st, most venues were already booked solid for the month of October. For my type-A personality, that lit a fire under my butt to make sure I got my date in as soon as possible.
There were a lot of things I had to consider when choosing my venue. Lucky for me, I live in Virginia where wedding venues are popping up like crazy and there's a ton of options. I used my Knot app to put in my criteria, and it made suggestions. I also asked around to see if anyone had suggestions, particularly of places that may not be quite as 'popular' as I didn't want a venue where I was just another bride.
Joe and I chose the Estate at White Hall in King George, Virginia, but it's only a few minutes outside of Fredericksburg. It's a newer venue that was just purchased by a lovely family and has been updated and turned into a wedding venue. It's beautiful and we are so excited to get married there!
The first thing I considered was our guest count and budget. I know; t seems kind of early to start your guest list. And you're kind of right. My guest list is in NO WAY finalized, but just putting all of the names of friends and family that I want to include in my big day was a huge help when it came to knowing how big of a venue we needed. I thought I could have a really small wedding, but between Joe and I's families alone, we had 90 people and the idea of 'small' went out the window.
Not a lot of venues can accommodate 200 people. They do 100-150, or even smaller. So that helped narrow our search down. We also realized that a lot of places charged a LOT for 200 guests, and that helped narrowed our search down even further.
After the guest count, I thought about what I really wanted in a venue: location, rules/regulations of usage, freedom of vendors, space, etc. My priorities were that it could fit 200 guests, that I could decorate it mostly how I wanted (a.k.a. lighting!!), and that it was close to Fredericksburg so that I could use the vendors that I wanted.
Some venues have preferred vendors that you have to use, while some venues allow you to use whomever you want. This can definitely be make or break for brides. If you're like me and know a lot of local vendors who you want to use, it was important to me to have the freedom to choose my own vendors. If you don't know any, then perhaps a preferred vendors list is a great way to help guide you!
Once we found the venues that would work with what we were looking for, we visited one or two, but ultimately fell in love with our venue and the owners who are just as excited as we are about getting married there.