Christine Ashburn Wedding Photography
Less Posing, More Being
Before You Choose a Wedding Venue
Before you even start looking at Westchester, The Catskills, and Hudson Valley wedding venue options, there are some things you can do to make the process easier. Think about these things, and ask yourself these questions before you start venue shopping!
Decide Where You Want Your Wedding Venue to Be
Of course, there are many wedding venues throughout the Catskills, Westchester and the Hudson Valley for you to choose from. One of the first decisions you should make before you start figuring out how to choose a wedding venue is where you want to get married. Does the venue need to be accessible by Metro North train? Is there a centralized location that will be beneficial to you and your partner’s family and friends? How far is acceptable for your friends and family to travel?
Once you have a general idea of the town or New York state county where you want to host your wedding you can further narrow your search by capacity and accessibility to lodging.
Make a Wedding Venue Budget
Budgeting is important whenever you’re planning a wedding, as it can prepare you for the expenses, get you and your partner on the same page, and it’s much better than being surprised by the dollar signs later. The venue is usually one of the biggest expenses that couples have for their wedding day, so make your budget first. Have an honest discussion with your partner and anyone else who might be involved in expenses for your wedding, and talk about what your budget will be for the venue, and for every part of your day.
The cost of a wedding venue will definitely depend on a lot of factors, especially your location. Do a little bit of research about average costs in the area where you want to get married, so that you have realistic expectations of how much you’ll be spending.
Make a Guest List
You don’t have to have your guest list set in stone quite so early in the process, but I definitely recommend having an estimate of how many people you want to invite before you start looking for a Hudson Valley or Catskill wedding venue. This is because venues come in all sizes, so if you know that your wedding will include at least 200 people, you can avoid looking at spaces that are too small. On the flipside, if you decide to have an intimate wedding with less than 100 people, you may not want to spend a lot of money on a really big venue that has more room than you need.
Talk with your partner about how many people you want to invite, and have a ballpark figure for the size of the venue that you’ll be looking for.
Set a Wedding Date
Staying flexible with your wedding date can actually be helpful, as if you find a venue that you love, you can coordinate with them to find a date that works. But, before you figure out how to choose a wedding venue, it is really helpful to think about potential wedding dates or to come up with a timeframe or season that you want to get married in. This will help you eliminate venues that don’t have availability during that time, or it can also help you prioritize if you realize that the wedding date isn’t as important to you as the venue!
For example, many Hudson Valley barn wedding venues are only available from May to October and may not provide heat or climate control. Also, the month of July can be extremely hot in the Catskills and the Hudson Valley. In contrast, the fall months of September and October are the peak wedding season in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills due to the mild weather. The last two weeks of October are usually best for fall foliage. I would suggest booking your venue and all your vendors as soon as you can, if you intend on having a fall Hudson Valley wedding.
Think About What Your Perfect Wedding Venue Looks Like
The last thing that can be really helpful to do before you start looking for the perfect wedding venue, is to take some time to just think about what you’ll be looking for. There are so many different types of venues, so figuring out what kinds you like can be really helpful in narrowing down your options.
The first question to ask yourself that can really help you narrow down your options is indoor or outdoor? Do you want to get married inside, with air-conditioning, or do you want to tie the knot somewhere with a view of the outdoors? It’s also totally possible to find a venue with both – if you want to have your ceremony outside but move inside for the reception, or if you want to get married outdoors but also want a venue that has a backup option in case the weather doesn’t cooperate, these are all good things to know before you start looking! Think about your wedding date as well – because the weather might affect these decisions.
Next, think about what kind of wedding venue you want. Getting married in a vineyard will have a totally different vibe from tying the knot in a hotel, so it all depends on what kind of experience you want for your wedding day.
There are so many different types of wedding venues, but here is a list of some of the most popular ones that you can consider:
- Vineyards and wineries wedding venues
- Banquet hall
- Hotel or resort
- Estate or mansion
- Industrial/urban loft
- Barn or farm
- Park, beach, or outdoor recreation area
- Inn or bed and breakfast
- Country club or golf course
HOW TO CHOOSE A WEDDING VENUE
Once you’ve figured out some of those logistics, and you’re ready to start looking, here’s how to choose a wedding venue!
Search for Potential Wedding Venues
The first step is to just start looking! You can get recommendations from friends who have gotten married, search Instagram or Pinterest, or check out online resources. Many wedding vendors will create lists of venues, for example, these best wedding venues in Westchester County, 12 Hudson Valley engagement and adventure elopement locations, the best Hudson Valley winery wedding venues and these intimate wedding locations in the Hudson Valley. The Knot and WeddingWire, and other directories designed for couples can also be a great place to look, as you can easily filter your search by type of venue, capacity, budget, location, and more!
Look for wedding venues that catch your eye, and make a list of venues that you like. Having a few options is great, so don’t hesitate to reach out to a few different venues!
Send Inquiries and Schedule Tours
Once you find a few wedding venues that you love, the next step is to send an inquiry. The venue’s site will have a contact form that you can fill out, where you can get more information about availability, pricing, and more. You’ll email someone at the venue to talk about the details, which can help you decide if it’s a good fit for you!
If everything feels right so far, I always recommend scheduling a venue tour before you make a final booking. Seeing the venue in person can really give you a sense of whether this place feels right. Schedule a tour if you’re able to, and see the venue before you make a final decision.
Book Your Dream Wedding Venue
Once you find the perfect place, it’s time to make the booking! You’ll likely have a contract to sign and a deposit to pay, and then your dream venue is yours. Make sure to reach out to any venues that you chatted with but decided not to choose to let them know (it’s nicer than ghosting, and we wedding vendors appreciate it!). Once your venue is booked, you can dive into the rest of the wedding planning!
What to Do After You Choose a Wedding Venue
After you’ve booked your wedding venue, the next step is to find a wedding photographer! You’ll want someone who can capture the beauty of the venue you chose, and someone who can show you all the incredible memories of your day.
I’m all about documenting the moments with photos that make you feel, so I won’t be putting you in stiff poses. If you’re planning your wedding, and want authentic photos, contact me!
HERE ARE SOME OTHER HUDSON VALLEY WEDDING RESOURCES:
- Elopement vs. Wedding: Differences and Pros & Cons
- HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
- 6 Best Hudson Valley Winery & Vineyard Wedding Venues for 2022