Dear Brides: How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Venue

CONGRATULATIONS: YOU'RE ENGAGED!

It happened.  You're engaged and thus begins the insanity + excitement that is planning your wedding! You scroll through Pinterest for hours on end, buy every wedding magazine in existence, pick out a wedding planner that you may not even write in, + start to plan out how you can make your dream wedding a reality.

Wedding planning is no easy task, which is why I've talked with some of my amazing brides + asked them to share the triumphs + struggles of their wedding planning process.  My goal is for you to read their stories + let it help guide you through your own wedding planning! 

My first bride I'd like to introduce you to is Crystal.  She + her fiancee, Tyler, are getting married this November [YAY!] in Mt. Joy, PA.  Read below to see the process that Crystal + Tyler experienced to find the perfect venue for their big day: The Cameron Estate Inn.

"Initially Tyler and I had discussed a destination wedding that featured a location that suited our personalities, such as holding it at a lodge in one of our nation's national parks (we love the outdoors!). Though that would have been beautiful and likely kept guest count (and thus, cost) down, it would have likely inadvertently led to the omission of some pretty important individuals as well. At my age I feel so greatly blessed to be able to say that I still have all 4 of my grandparents, with each pair having been happily married for 60+ years and highly involved in my life growing up. I didn't like the idea of a plane ride getting between their presence at Tyler and I's wedding, so local it was!

"Though [a destination wedding] would have been beautiful and likely kept guest count (and thus, cost) down, it would have likely inadvertently led to the omission of some pretty important individuals as well."

To narrow the field, we first ruled out barn venues - I know that they're very much "in" right now and Tyler and I have both attended beautiful weddings at rustic, barn venues; however, I grew up on a dairy farm and have spent many early mornings and long days milking cows, feeding calves, and unloading hay wagons in barns, so I opted for something different for my personal wedding day. Next, nothing too urban - we're outdoors people, remember? Thirdly, it had to have an amazing back-up rain location. Tyler and I had agreed that if we were going to make the financial investment in a venue, we didn't want to worry about the weather, we wanted to know that it would be just as beautiful and organized an event indoors as it would have been outdoors.

"If we were going to make the financial investment in a venue, we didn't want to worry about the weather, we wanted to know that it would be just as beautiful and organized an event indoors as it would have been outdoors."

Ironically enough, the venue that we have selected showed us their rain back-up location and my jaw dropped: it's a beautiful building with black marble flooring, breathtaking chandeliers, and large glass windows that stretch from nearly ceiling to floor and cover half the building. Tyler made the joke to the tour guide that, "She hasn't done this anywhere else," and we ended up switching from pursuing one of their outdoor ceremony locations to making that 'rain back-up' our first choice.

"When it's all said and done, it's just one day and I like to keep that in perspective."

Lastly, cost was of course important. I just graduated grad school in 2017 and Tyler is another 2 years out from his graduate graduation, so our venue had to be budget-friendly. Whether they were all-inclusive and gave one total sticker price, or you had to calculate each individual cost (cutlery, linens, etc), I was crunching numbers. When it's all said and done, it's just one day, and I like to keep that in perspective.

With all this being said, Tyler and I are both in awe of our venue, and we can't wait for everyone to see it! On a smaller scale, bonus perks to our venue further include: their 1 wedding/day policy (we won't have to share the grounds with another party), having access to the buildings to decorate the day before (since we're a Friday wedding), availability to be on the grounds as early as 8 am the day of the wedding, and some overnight rooms are available for our out-of-town guests should they so choose. (You can rent out the whole inn and have a "porch after-party" after the reception, but we opted not to pursue that option due to lack of need for that many rooms.)

Least important details while venue-hunting were what I consider the "extras", such as including parking attendants, featuring a horse-drawn carriage or an antique car on-site, and either featuring or being within walking distance of a hotel."

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Can you see why I'm so thankful to have this girl as one of my brides?!  Your venue is an incredibly important part of your wedding day, so take the time to plan it out and make sure it's the perfect place for YOU!