How to find the perfect Orange County Wedding Venue.

By Lynn Adams

Now that you’re engaged. Congratulations! You know the month you want to get married. Now you have the big task of deciding where to have the wedding. We all know that choosing the wedding venue is the foundation of all wedding plans. You need a location to make your dream wedding come to life. While finding a venue is a daunting task, it happens to be the most important one. Also, a task that needs completing early in the planning. Once you choose a venue, it will make your other planning much simpler. You will now have frame work to apply your own personal touch to the wedding you’ve always dreamed of. Our guide will walk you through choosing a venue and help make the planning a little easier you and your fiancé.

Photo by Clotaire Folefack on

An important to factor to consider before you even make a budget. Do you want to have an outdoor or an indoor wedding. This will affect so many more decisions down the line. Indoor weddings can be immune to bad weather. An outdoor wedding has the restrictions of when you can have the wedding. Outdoor weddings if you are having it at a non-traditional venue can be more expensive. Indoor venues usually rent all the extra’s you need like tables, chairs, caterer, and so on. With an outdoor wedding you may have to get all the extras there yourself. Although there are outdoor venues who also offer full service weddings. Keep these factors in mind when you begin your budget planning to make it easier on yourself in the down the road. Also knowing which type of wedding you want will make your search for a venue much simpler.

  1. Budget first

Before even looking at wedding venue’s or searching online, it’s it best to have a clear budget set down. Make sure you and your fiancée have the funds needed for your venue. Having a budget will help you both narrow down your choices. Don’t make the mistake of booking a venue before you have an idea of your wedding budget. Then realize you won’t have enough money left for all extra services you will need on your big day. With an established budget you can determine if you want a venue that does it all, such as chairs, food, bar and so on. Or do you want a certain venue that does not offer any extras. You will then need to budget extra costs into your plans. Most wedding planning experts advise you to spend 50% of the wedding budget on the venue. Having a concrete budget will help you narrow your venue shopping.


  1. The Guest list.

Ok so we know how much we’re going to spend, now we need to cover the logistics of the venue. Have clear idea of how many people the venue must be able to accommodate. It’s hard to know the exact number of guests you will have this early in your wedding planning. Have a rough estimate of how many guests you will be inviting to help you find a venue that will fit your needs. You do not want to find a great venue, then realize it won’t hold your guest list. A lot of venues have a maximum number of people they are willing to host.  Please be aware of that number when considering venues.


  1. The search is on.

Armed with your budget and a rough idea of the number of guests you’re ready to begin your search. There are a lot factors to consider when finding the perfect venue. If you cannot decide on your theme and style of your wedding. That’s ok. Get out there and start looking and your creative juices will start flowing. Once you start seeing pictures of venues you can begin to imagine how you want your wedding to look and feel. Do you want that beautiful outside wedding? Or an indoor wedding decorated with elegance. Start by doing searches on venues in the area you want to have your wedding. Here is a link to OC Bride approved vendors <insert link>. . Here are some real Orange County weddings you can view here. <insert link to Real Orange County weddings.> Also we have included below, a cheat seat you can use while searching for venues. This way you can keep your search on track.


  1. Things to keep in mind while you search

If you’re looking for a full-service wedding venue make sure and note what services the venue offers. Venues will always list what services they include for your wedding day. Make sure they cover everything you need for the wedding. An important thing to note about full-service venues. They may have certain vendor restrictions. Make sure you ask about these restrictions. Knowing if the venue can accommodate any extra vendors you want to add. Also, some venues will not allow you to hire an outside caterer if you were thinking of bringing your own.

Some venues have strict time limits, so have an idea of how long you want your wedding to last. If venue must have you out a certain time, make sure you know this before you sign anything. Overtime costs can be quite expensive. Also ask how many events the venue will host on the day of your wedding. Will they need you out at a certain time, or will the guests have a concrete time they will need to begin arriving. A lot of venues are very time sensitive when it comes to starting and ending your wedding. It is good to know if there are going to be any events going on around your wedding. It is important to know if these other events will affect your wedding day.

If you’re having an outdoor wedding, weather is big factor to consider. Can the time of year and time day have a negative effect on your wedding experience? Does the venue have contingency plans for bad weather? Spring and Autumn weddings can have unpredictable weather. Make sure the time of year factors into your plans. Even without rain a dark cloudy day can ruin your pictures.

As you are narrowing down your search make plans to have in person visits to the venues you like the best. Never book a venue without seeing it first, even if you may have attended the venue before. The layout of the venue may have changed. Once you have your venue search whittled down to a few places, visit the venues at the same time of day as your wedding. If it is an indoor wedding, it is best to see how the room will be lit at the time of your wedding. You want to make sure the photographer can get the perfect picture.

  1. Booking the venue

Once you have picked your ideal wedding venue, be sure to ask any remaining questions you have. It best to not only ask the person you are working with on booking the venue. Also ask others you may dealing with at the venue. Such as the catering manager, the day of coordinator and the business manager. Get a clear list of their expectations. Asking about things you or your guests can do to make your wedding a great experience. You may get different answers from each of them. It’s best to have that information beforehand. Also make sure you know who at the venue will be your day of coordinator.

Your wedding day is not booked until you sign the contract and make your first deposit. Make sure you can answer these questions before you sign.

Can the venue accommodate all the space you will need?

Is the lighting at the time of wedding what you need it to be?

How is the transportation and parking for my guests? Will they need any special accommodations?

What are the bad weather contingencies?

What are the vendor restrictions?

If you are doing in-house catering, make sure to have a tasting before the wedding.

Know if you will have exclusive use of the venue, or will there be other events being held on that day?

What are the overtime fee’s if any in case your wedding goes longer than expected?

Does the venue offer everything you need? What else will you need and how will it get there?

Photo by Abigail Jones on

Choosing a wedding venue is an exhausting task. Along with many other plans that need taken care of in the planning your big day. Once you nail down your wedding venue the rest of the planning will seem downhill. Before you search remember to have a clear idea if you want an outdoor or an indoor wedding. Have that concrete budget set out, as well as a rough number of your guests. While coming prepared with questions when visiting potential venues. Of course, while seeing the venue at the time of day your wedding will be. Keep to these and it will make finding your perfect wedding venue easier on you. And you can have a memorable wedding for you, your fiancée and your guests.

For more help planning your wedding click here.

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