If I know you, you’ve likely Googled the top wedding venues in your area. And if you're being honest with yourself, you're bored. You know the top 5 wedding venues in your area, and you may have even toured a few places that you feel neutral towards, but nothing has quite felt like “the one” yet. Keep reading to find out about all the different types of wedding venues.
Buckle in, friends, because today’s episode is for you. The ones who are looking for “something different” and don’t want their search for “unique wedding venues” to keep resulting in the same five suggestions over and over again.
Even if you’re not looking for something unique, keep listening because I’m going to dive deep into the TYPES of wedding venues you can look for, despite your style, budget, or guest count. I’m sharing what you need to consider for each type of wedding venue – prepare to hear the tea on the pros and cons, and I’m going to share which types are the most expensive, which ones may have hidden expenses, what types are easiest to work with and SO much more.
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EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS: Types of Wedding Venues
To fast-forward to a specific part of the podcast episode, check out the timestamps below:
- Industrial Wedding Venues [5:25]
- Country club wedding venue [7:30]
- Barn wedding venues [9:17]
- Hotel wedding venues [11:30]
- Home wedding venues [14:12]
- Restaurant wedding venues [15:45]
- Historic resort wedding venues [17:55]
Links Mentioned in the Episode
- Visit the ASK THE PLANNER Wedding Planning Templates Shop
- Learn more about our Wedding Venue Selection Service
- Book a Clarity Call with Desirée
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And if you prefer to read, here's the summary of the podcast episode!
Types of Wedding Venues
Before I dive into the meat and potatoes of this content, I just feel like I need a quick disclaimer here. We share a ton of resources on the podcast and on the blog at verveeventco.com . The website can help you find your wedding venue, know what questions to ask during your wedding venue tour, and almost everything else in between.
I have two thoughts I want to throw out here if finding your perfect wedding venue feels hard right now. First, your wedding venue should feel like the one. I hope more than anything for you, that when you tour it, you get that magical feeling where you instantly envision your wedding day there from the moment and place you walk down the aisle to the last dance on the dance floor.
However, the second thing I want to say is it's also okay if that doesn't happen to you. Sometimes it can be hard to envision what a wedding venue looks like when it's all done up. And to be honest, that's usually one of the many reasons why you would hire a wedding planner or designer.
So let’s get on with the wedding venue types, shall we?
Industrial wedding venues
First, let's talk about industrial-style wedding venues. These venues are often created in locations that were previously something else and have since been renovated and repurposed to become a beautiful wedding space. And that is essentially what they are – just a wedding space.
If you're looking for a wedding venue that has maintained its charm while likely being updated to include more modern amenities like a caterer's kitchen or enough bathrooms, an industrial wedding venue might be the right choice.
When I think about industrial wedding venues where I am in upstate New York, I think of places like the Basilica Hudson or the Cracker Factory. In both cases, and with most other industrial wedding venues, they are great in that they are usually completely open and can really serve as a blank canvas as you start to design your day.
That is both a pro and a con though! With an industrial wedding venue, you likely need to bring in everything yourself. While some may include tables and chairs, most will require absolutely everything be rented, which as a luxury wedding designer, I love because I'm gonna be renting those pieces anyway and I don't want them worked into the cost of the wedding venue because I know I'm not going to use whatever basic things they include anyway.
That being said, if you're looking for more of an all-inclusive style package, you won't typically find that in an industrial wedding venue.
If you think this type of wedding venue might be the right option for you, consider searching for “event spaces” instead of “wedding venues” in your area!
Country Club Wedding Venues
These are typically your golf courses but not always. Country clubs can be fabulous wedding venues because they have likely been hosting events of all kinds for hundreds of years. Maybe your parents even got married here.
When I think of a country club wedding venue in my area, I immediately think of Oak Hill Country Club. That's one of my favorites. And then we also have the Country Club of Rochester which is wonderful too.
While country club wedding venues can be absolutely fabulous, you should expect a lot more rules. Country clubs are often rooted in tradition. They are service professionals and have accolades to prove it. While tradition can be nice and add a sentimental touch to your day, especially if a certain country club is important to you, just keep that in mind. An example of this is that many country clubs have Oak Hill has a dress code for your wedding guests. If you're not having an ultra-formal event, it might not be the right decision for you. They also usually don’t allow cell phones just out and about and prefer you keep them stowed away.
Barn Wedding Venues
Let me just get this out of the way – I am not a rustic girl. I am not into the rustic aesthetic and you will never ever catch me using mason jars. It's just really not my thing. So if the second I said barn wedding venues, you kind of rolled your eyes and thought, yeah, no, let me just tell you that some of them have come a long way and can offer something that feels more country chic than the barn wedding venues you might be used to.
Today, when I think about barn wedding venues I love, I think about The Lake House with its gorgeous waterfront view of the Finger Lakes or the Sablewood barn wedding venue.
Neither are what you might think of when you think of a traditional barn wedding venue. They're both modern, they have chandeliers from the ceiling, and they offer a clean backdrop for your wedding day. So before you rule them out completely, these may actually be what you’re looking for.
Hotel Wedding Venues
When I think of a hotel wedding, I often think of a gorgeous ballroom, great for the reception, not always perfect for a wedding ceremony although some WILL have a ceremony space. Similar to a country club, these venues will have more rules than other wedding venues. Typically not about your guest's dress code, but most will have a mandatory food and beverage spend and require the catering to be in-house.
The MAJOR advantage of a hotel wedding venue is that there's a place for your guests to sleep. If you're planning a huge party, you know that everybody is going to get “home” safely to their hotel room. I live in a destination wedding location, so a lot of guests are paying for a hotel room anyway, and this eliminates the need or the cost of shuttles and transportation options, which is really, really nice.
On top of that, hotel wedding venues are typically a bit easier to plan logistically so if you're looking for a more all-encompassing wedding venue package, they are likely the right option for you.
A con to the hotel wedding venue is that they will likely have other events happening at the same tim as yours and depending on the quality of the property, your event manager will be dividing her time up among many events, so take that into consideration. Of course, I’ve worked with the Mandarin Oriental and the Ritz Carlton and they’re wonderful at getting back to me, so it all depends.
Home / Estate / Tented Wedding Venues
This might surprise you, but this is often one of the most expensive types of wedding venues for you to consider. Oftentimes with a home wedding venue, I will recommend an outdoor tented wedding, which, if you haven't listened to episode 81 on the podcast, there was a really good interview with Sarah Brehant talking about the logistics of tented wedding venues which would give a little more insight than what I'm gonna share today on why home weddings/tented weddings are so expensive.
First, they're definitely a logistical challenge; however, in my opinion, they're one of the most timeless and most beautiful. I talked earlier about how country clubs might have a sentimental value and home weddings are like that on steroids, so they are definitely worth considering despite potentially being more costly.
The biggest thing is don’t think that hosting a wedding at your house is going to save you money. It will be the opposite. But if you like the sentimental aspect of it and have enough space to do it, it would be hard to find a better fit!
Restaurant Wedding Venues
If there is a restaurant that has special meaning to you or you have a more intimate guest list, you can absolutely look at renting out a restaurant for an evening or renting out a specific room in the space. Don't underestimate the power of a beautiful restaurant reception space, but keep in mind they’re not always used to hosting weddings and spoiler alert, it’s not as easy as it looks. Having someone there, like an experienced wedding planner, will be important because there are so many more logistics in a wedding venue than people realize.
You will also run into setup issues because the restaurant likely won’t want to stop lunch service early so you can set up, so if you’re planning on having decor, keep that in mind.
My sister got married at a wonderful restaurant in Little Italy called Gelso & Grand in New York and they were absolutely fabulous. They even had a lower level for the dance floor and DJ and it was perfect. But I was definitely stressed about having enough time to set all the place cards, napkins, flowers, votives, candlesticks, etc. because we only had about 2 hours to do so and I had to get to the ceremony!
Historic Resort Wedding Venues
When I think of a resort wedding venue, I think of Cedar Lakes Estate in Port Jervis and the Inns of Aurora. These types of wedding venues will have more accommodations, but they could be pricey, so some guests may choose to stay there while the remainder of your guests will decide to book somewhere else. However, this really depends on the type of resort. More historic resorts were originally smaller so space will be more limited to a few cabins or homes on site, but some properties have multiple buildings and will be able to house everyone, like the Greenbrier in West Virginia and the Chatham Inn in Massachusetts.
If you're looking for an all-in-one accommodation option for a smaller group like your wedding party and your immediate family, these kinds of resorts or villa-style wedding venues are a great option for a destination wedding venue.
With that said, the other thing to know about them is they will typically require you to stay a majority of the weekend. What that means is: on top of the venue fee, you're going to have a minimum “hotel” or “lodging” spend. This is unique to these types of wedding venues, and while it is not necessarily a deal breaker because, as I said earlier, your guests want somewhere to stay anyway. You have to keep this in mind as that’s a potentially large cost you may not want to shoulder if your guests decide to stay elsewhere.
Let me just stop and speak to my New York City people here for a second – if you're looking for a wedding venue that truly feels like an escape and you’re in a world of your own, these are one of my favorite types of wedding venues for that reason.
The Sky is the Limit
Like I said at the start of the episode, I know a lot of you are eager to find something truly unique that matches your vision. Choosing a wedding venue is not for the faint of heart.
When I think of a truly unique wedding venue where I am, I think of Gather Greene. Gather Greene consists of a hundred acres overlooking the Berkshire and Catskill Mountains. They have several wedding locations on the property while allowing you to rent the entire space for a weekend.
Gather Greene has a garden space, a mountain space, an industrial space, a barn space – they truly have everything. They also have completely different spaces for your welcome dinner, ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. They have this gorgeous modern custom-built pavilion that was so thoughtfully designed that my mind is blown just thinking about it. Think of all the pros of a tent but none of the cons since it’s an open and airy but permanent structure. They also built adorable cabins that resemble all the ones you see on TV which are like little houses, which give your guests a completely unique experience.
So if you're looking for something that is a complete and totally unique experience, just know that it absolutely exists – you may just have to look outside your city.
If you liked this episode, please leave us a 5-star review in Apple Podcasts.
As always, if have any feedback or follow-up questions, make sure you send me a DM on IG at @asktheplannerpodcast or call the wedding planning hotline at 585-210-3467.
Thank you so much for joining me today. I can’t wait to talk to you next week.
Wow, that wraps up today’s episode on the types of wedding venues you might want to consider. At my wedding and event planning company Verve Event Co., we love designing weddings intentionally, and because this is one of the first and most important decisions you’ll make, we’re happy to walk you through it
As a quick recap, here are the wedding venue types we talked about today:
- Industrial Style Wedding Venues
- Country Clubs
- Barn Venues
- Hotel/Ballroom wedding venues
- Home and Outdoor Tented wedding venues
- Restaurant reception venues
- Resort wedding venues
- Unique experience-based wedding venues
After hearing this episode, which type is right for you? Right now, if you're feeling limited, I want to encourage you to look a little further outside your city and see what you find.
If you’ve already selected your venue, leave a review in Apple Podcasts with the type you selected and where it is! I’d love to hear what kind of venue all of you are choosing!
If you're searching for wedding venues and finding lists of the same five over and over again – I hope today’s episode has expanded the list of possibilities for you!
Also, I wanted to let you know that if you’re on the east coast, my wedding and event planning company Verve also offers Venue Selection services. If you want help finding the dream venue this service is designed specifically for you! Head to verveeventco.com/venue to learn more.
If you’re not local but still want extra help with your venue selection process or anything else related to your wedding, you can always schedule a 60 minute clarity call with me to talk through your indecision, what’s troubling you, and get clarity so you can continue with the wedding planning confidently and with less stress.
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