Do some soul searching with your fiance and figure out what is most important for the two of you. Is it a stunning view? Is it eliminating the need for transportation? Is it maximizing the number of guests so you can include all your family and friends? Think about what you would be willing to compromise on, too.
In my experience, I knew that it was most important for me to simplify and have everything under one roof. Eliminating the need for transportation was also important and kind of goes hand-in-hand. For me, this meant a hotel in downtown Boston. First: Hotel because I sleep there, get ready there, get hitched, and party all under one roof. One spot for everything, and I don't have to go outside but definitely could if its nice weather. My personal preference is an indoor wedding so I can have temperature and humidity control -- hair and makeup won't give me any problems! The idea of shuttling from location to location, getting in and out of a car doesn't sound fun to me. Second: being in downtown Boston means endless options for hotels, rehearsal dinner, and things for my guests to do before the party begins.
2. Decide on the location first.
City and State. Once you nail these down then you can focus on the options in your area.
3. Figure out your budget.
Goes without saying -- you have to know what you're working with. With that said, there is no harm in requesting quotes for places or visiting them if they are out of your price range.
My fiance and I plus my parents saw 10 hotels in downtown Boston. We saw everything from a Hyatt to The Four Seasons. It was more of an education on what you really get for your money. Clearly there is a huge range in what you can get -- the Four Seasons is undeniably one of the best hotels in Boston with the most stunning views of The Boston Common and that comes with a big price tag.
4. Go see the places.
Photos only go so far. I learned this one, for sure. I pretty much had my heart set on The Langham Hotel. The photos online looked so beautiful and it seemed to have the perfect amount of elegance and class for the kind of affair I want to have. Well, that changed when I was actually standing in the space. I was disappointed -- the spaces were smaller than I thought. The ballroom had no windows and wasn't as elegant as I expected, and the whole venue was a bit like trying to fit a square into a circle, and we found ourselves asking the question, "How can we MAKE this space work?" when the reality was they were just odd spaces and it wasn't going to work for us.
5. Look for wedding photographer's blog posts and other galleries to see the place in action.
I found this super helpful. Google a venue's name along with "wedding photos" and tons of photographer's posts will come up with photos you can drool over. It really helps to see a space in action.
PS - Don't forget to have fun along the way! Enjoy the process, don't stress over the small stuff, and don't get discouraged when your dream venue isn't what you were expecting. The perfect place will surface.
Comment and share your experience or ask questions below!