How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Location
What you need to know, whether you envision a chapel ceremony or a beachy bash.
1. How many guests do you want, and how mobile are they?
Is your dream wedding small or a Broadway-worthy production? Your answer may determine the location. Why? Even though the day is about you, it’s also about your guests. If your closest friends all have toddlers, is it fair to request their presence at a safari wedding in South Africa? If relatives are elderly, can you expect them to make it safely to the beach? You won’t be able to please everyone, but consider making a concession or two if it means your loved ones will attend.
2. Do you want a religious ceremony?
Fifty-three percent of couples who wed in 2007 did so in a church. A few things to consider:
- A traditional religious ceremony may have to be held in a place of worship, so be sure to ask up front. (In that case, book the date at your place of worship before you book your reception location.) Also, some religious establishments frown upon elaborate decorations or flowers as well as skin-baring dresses, so inquire about these details.
- If you and your fiancé have different religious beliefs, consider having the ceremony at a neutral location, like a reception hall. Talk early on with both families about your decisions.
- If organized religion does not play a role in your lives but you want to incorporate a spiritual element, consider hosting the ceremony in a natural setting, such as a beach or a park (be sure to ask about a permit).
3. How much work are you willing―or do you want―to take on?
Depending on the location, you may have to do some heavy lifting. Before you commit to an “I do”-it-yourself undertaking, weigh the pluses and minuses of these settings:
- A unique location:You may have your heart set on a big wedding-day hoedown in a picturesque barn, but who’s going to clear out the hay, haul in the tables, set up the Porta Potties, arrange for lighting, and―oh, yeah―move Bessie out to pasture? There’s also Mother Nature to keep in mind. If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony or reception, you’ll need a backup plan in the case of rain, which means twice as much work.
- A reception hall: The establishment usually has a one-size-fits-all feel, but its staff is probably well equipped to take care of the dirty work for you, which may include―and this is important―post-party cleanup.