Choosing a Wedding Venue

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Photo Credits:
Barn Reception -- Geoff White Photographers
Reception Cocktails -- Geoff White Photographers
Bouquet Toss – Bishop Photography
Wontons - Anna Kuperberg Photography
Reception Hall - Geoff White Photographers
Candy Jar - Geoff White Photographers
Meat Platter - Geoff White Photographers

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Choosing a Wedding Venue

Amazing venue choices for every style and party size.

Now that you’ve celebrated your engagement, it’s time to start planning. But where should you start? Location, location, location! Once you choose a wedding venue, you’ll be able to set your theme and start hammering out the details. Whether you’re in the mood for an intimate affair or planning an over-the-top soiree, we’ve got five amazing wedding venue ideas.

The Loft

There’s nothing quite like the open space of a loft for a wedding. Ideal for city dwellers who love the downtown lifestyle, it’s both romantic and sophisticated. The best part: It’s a blank canvas. From lighting and linens to drapery and other decor, you can turn a loft into your dream locale. Are you in the mood for a Moroccan lounge or an elaborate winter wonderland? Anything is possible. Play up the city location with a classy wine bar setup and tasty hor d’oeuvres. Just watch out for hidden costs. The blank slate is great for playing with decor, but all of the equipment has to come from somewhere. Unlike hotels or reception halls, lofts often lack kitchen space and don’t have chairs, tables, or other basics that you need for wedding venues.

The Vineyard

The open fields, sprawling grapevines, and stunning cellar settings transport you straight to the rolling vineyards of Italy. Surprisingly, there are vineyards in nearly every state, so you don’t have to make the trip to Napa or Tuscany for this dream wedding locale. The location itself sets the theme with a vineyard vine decor. Rich fall colors with blends of rust and brown, or the dusty hues of a Tuscan villa with sage, mauve, and burgundy linens brightened by gold-rimmed chargers and wine glasses are ideal. Embrace the location by serving Bellinis and sangria, setting up a cheese bar, and dishing out decadent desserts. Remember that you may have to get all of your food and drinks from the vineyard, so taste everything -- especially the cake.

The Beach

The sandy shoreline and crashing waves add to the laid-back ambiance at the beach. Say “I do” on the sand with the sun setting in the background. There are so many options here: seashell motifs, sand-filled vases, or fresh white flowers. Be sure to have a backup plan if your wedding venue is the beach. Outdoor weddings always run the risk of getting rained out, and don’t forget about the wind. It can whip your gorgeous centerpieces right off the tables. So prepare to move the party inside to a beachfront ballroom or opt for a tented reception overlooking the water. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

The Outdoors

The outdoors is perfect for a country couple or an earth-friendly pair looking for an outside wedding venue. You can say your vows in a sprawling pasture beneath a towering tree or find a nearby hilltop overlooking the mountains -- either way, an outdoor ceremony brings the beauty of nature to your wedding day. For the reception, consider staying under the stars with tables set right beneath a collection of trees or put up a tent with windows to overlook a field or lake. If your location is a farm, have fun with the barn setting. Incorporate colorful checker-patterned linens, grassy centerpieces, and some traditional Southern cooking, like fried chicken, collard greens, and corn bread (yum!). Just make sure you have a Plan B. And consider the bug situation. The little creatures are likely to be on the hunt in the heat of summer, so have the area sprayed prior to your wedding or light citronella candles to keep them at bay.

The Destination

Couples are flocking to locations throughout the world for their wedding venues. Whether you want to elope in Vegas, have an intimate affair in a foreign country, or you’re heading a few states away for a spectacular setting, destination weddings are totally in! From the snowy mountaintops of Vail, Colorado, to the romantic elegance of Paris, France, a destination wedding has a built-in theme. The catch: They can be very expensive and, depending on where you get married, the rules vary. Be sure you know the ins and outs of getting a marriage license, how many days you have to wait to get married once you arrive, and any other legal stipulations. Also be sure to get your passport renewed as soon as possible so you don’t forget!

-- Tia Albright