The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Wedding Venue

We know that the wedding planning process can feel full of big decisions. Family and friends are excited for you and are asking if you’ve set a date, you’re scrolling through endless amounts of wedding decor on Pinterest, and trying to figure out a guest list. Perhaps the one decision that will have the biggest impact on your special day is the venue. The right space will not only set the tone for your wedding, but will also influence details like which vendors you can use as well as how your guests are able to mingle and enjoy the space. 

You may have looked around and figured out some important variables already: venue size, date availability, and style are some of the first things most couples think about. When it comes to size, you certainly want to find a space that can comfortably handle your guest list, but you may want to avoid choosing a venue with more space than you need. Oversized spaces can make it difficult to create a warm, intimate feel and there is a chance you might go over budget trying to fill the space with lights or decorations. You may have your heart set on a specific date, but keep in mind that considering a range of several dates will likely make it easier to find an available venue. While practicality is important, you should also choose a setting that reflects you and your partner’s style: maybe it is rustic elegance or maybe it is formal and glamorous! Take the time to research and/or tour different venues to get a feel for which options speak to your style.

So now that you’ve considered size, date availability, and style, what else should influence your venue selection? To help you navigate this crucial decision, we put together a guide that outlines the most important factors to consider when choosing a wedding venue. Use these tips to narrow down your choices and find the perfect location for your big day.

Convenience for Guests

You will likely have some local guests and some who will be coming from out of town, so it is important to choose a venue that is easy to find and close to major transportation hubs. Some guests may need to stay at nearby hotels and travel to your venue. The closer you are to amenities and transportation, the easier it will be for guests to access your venue. 

The Rand-Bryan House is located just off of major interstates so it is easily accessible, but maintains a sense of seclusion and privacy. Guests flying in from out of town have a short drive from RDU. Guests can take advantage of local accommodations in Garner or enjoy more of a tourist experience just 20 minutes away in downtown Raleigh. 

On-Site Accessibility 

Don’t forget about older relatives and others with mobility restrictions who may find it difficult to  navigate your venue. Make sure that you choose a location that provides accessibility so that everyone can enjoy your wedding. Think about parking options as well as maneuvering between different areas of the venue (e.g. ceremony space and reception area). Although your vendors can certainly help you with the details, it may help things go smoothly if you consider a location where vendors can easily load/unload their equipment to set up in a timely manner.

The Rand-Bryan House offers ample accessible parking adjacent to the house, plenty of paved parking in our main lot, and overflow parking as needed. Three different ramps ensure that both guests and vendors are able to access various locations on the property.

Vendor Relationships

When you’re researching venues, keep in mind that some venues exclusively partner with certain vendors. That means that you will be limited when it comes to choosing caterers, florists, planners, and other vendors. If the sheer number of options overwhelms you,  a preferred vendor list may be ideal because it takes some of the leg work out of shopping around and choosing vendors. On the other hand, if you have your heart set on certain menu items or entertainment, or are trying to manage a tight budget, you will want to confirm that your venue allows you to choose your own vendors. 

The Rand-Bryan House offers the best of both worlds because we don’t require that you choose from a specific list, but we are glad to give recommendations. We are happy to meet new professionals who have not yet visited our venue as well as continue building relationships with trusted vendors who are familiar with our property.

Charges & services 

When you’re comparing venue options, make sure you know what is included at each venue. Some venues provide basic facility rental, some offer furnishings (tables, chairs, linens, dishes, etc.), and some even offer decorative items like centerpieces and arbors. Other venues provide all-inclusive services with food and drinks. 

Billing for furnishings, decor, and rental items is completed in various ways, so bear that in mind when you’re comparing pricing. Those charges may be included up front, may be add-ons, or may be paid to another vendor (caterer, rental company, etc.). Venues may require that you spend a certain minimum amount on food and/or beverages, which can significantly affect your budget. Your venue may require a coordinator, event insurance, or add a service charge under certain conditions. If you ask your venue about any fees or taxes that may be included, it can help you avoid unexpected charges later. Understanding the fine print is always important!

The Rand-Bryan House includes tables and chairs and offers a choice of packages for linens and dishes. We work with a rental partner, DeeJay’s Event Rentals, to ensure that all items you get are set up and ready to go when you arrive on your wedding day. All that’s left is for you and/or your planner to put the finishing touches on decor and enjoy getting ready! We also help develop a timeline for vendor arrivals so that we know when each vendor will arrive and where they need to set up. We will collaborate behind the scenes with your vendors to bring everything together seamlessly for your big day. 

At the Rand-Bryan House, we strive to keep information as straightforward as possible while maintaining flexibility. We require a refundable security deposit, but do not impose any extra fees, taxes, or service charges.  

Following this guide can help you refine your search and quickly find the perfect venue to meet the needs of everyone involved. Taking the time to consider these important factors will help you select a beautiful location that brings your wedding vision to life. At the Rand-Bryan House, we offer years of experience hosting weddings in a quaint and charming setting located right outside of Raleigh. If you would like to learn more about our venue and see if it is the right choice for you, contact us today.