The Blog


Read More

How do you Choose a Wedding Venue? | Wedding Venue Map

Before couples decide on their wedding photographers or before anything else, they typically have to find the perfect venue. There are so many awesome wedding venues in Orlando. Sometimes it can seem like a daunting task to find the right venue in the midst of it all. It comes down to this: How do you choose a wedding venue? What is it exactly that makes you realize that this is the wedding venue for you? Are there things should be kept in mind when looking at a wedding venue?

how do you choose a wedding venue?

How do you Choose a Wedding Venue?

Marta and I are wedding photographers first, so we’ve been to more than a few weddings. That being said, we can definitely help point couples to aesthetically pleasing venues for their weddings and Together Sessions. Logistically though, we wanted to talk to an expert about how to find the perfect venue for your wedding day. We talked to Shannon Tarrant from Wedding Venue Map, the go to place for Orlando Wedding Venue of your dreams. We asked her some questions that we felt were the most common amongst our couples.

1. Talk to a Wedding Planner First

Marta and I probably sound like a broken record at this point.  It goes without saying that planning a wedding is unlike planning any other event out there.  The insight, advice, and downright direction that a wedding planner can provide can help make an event.  When picking one of the largest portions of your wedding, you should make sure that you have someone on your side that has your best interest at heart.  Wedding planners know the logistics of planning a wedding in specific venues, so they know what to look out for and where.

2. Start Working on a Realistic Budget

There are plenty of online resources that showcase a realistic overall wedding budget.  Remember that every wedding is unique with multiple variables in it.  Look into what you can realistically afford.  Stay out of debt.  Most importantly, have around 10% of your budget in reserves for flexibility with vendors that you love.

“There are venues to fit every budget range. There are some basic wedding venues that include only the space for a certain amount of time and nothing else. While others includes tables, chairs, linens, lighting, and so much more.

For a venue where the catering is not included, the venue site rental can range between $1,500 and $7,000, which is a big range. But then you have to be sure to consider what their catering requirements are. Is there a limited list or do you get to choose your own? Sometimes, when the catering is provided by the venue, the site rental may be less expensive.

Sometimes a venue may look much more expensive on the venue rental, but you realize that their catering options are very affordable. It’s really important to consider all of those factors to get an apples to apples number.”

-Shannon Tarrant, Wedding Venue Map

howey mansion

3. Start Thinking about Your Guest List

Having a clear idea of what your guest list will be like will help filter out wedding venues that fit into your wedding’s needs.  It’ll also help with catering options and cost.

It’s safe to say that your guest list will be one of the biggest factors impacting your wedding budget.  If you’re trying to keep your guest list low, then remember that you should have the most important people in your lives present at your wedding.  Some people even prefer to just simply go and elope.  Sometimes, international destination weddings are also less expensive than having a wedding locally.

4. Find a Venue that fits your Style

With the crazy amount of wedding venues that have been popping up around town, it’s easy to find something for everyone.  Once you have your budget, guest list, and planner, then you can narrow down the possibilities of wedding venues for your big day.  That being said, if you have a Pinterest Board or binder that you’ve been working on in planning your wedding, then stay true to your vision that you’ve been planning around.

“…The most important piece is to get some inspiration to find a few venue styles that you love. Do you want something rustic like a barn or ranch? Is a ballroom with chandeliers more your style? There are so many different venue styles. You don’t have to choose only one. But find a few that inspire you to begin narrowing down the options.”

-Shannon Tarrant, Wedding Venue Map

courtyard at lake lucerne

5. Schedule a Venue Tour

This is easily the best opportunity to see the venue first hand.  It’s also a great way to see if it feels right to you.  Usually there’s a Sales Manager that’s there to guide you around the property explaining the in’s and out’s of the property.  Also take some questions that you’d like to ask the Sales Manager about your wedding and what you have planned.

“The key to be able to compare venues to each other is to make sure to get all of the information.

For example, a very simple question is does the venue include a ready room? ‘Yes’ is an easy answer, but you have to ask more. How many hours do you get in the ready room? At some venues, you have unlimited time and can use it for hair and makeup and be in there all day. Other venues only allow 1-2 hours before the ceremony start time.

After your visit your first venue, make a list of the things that are included and important to you to make sure you can ask at the next tour.

The most common surprise costs that can appear when you don’t ask include:

  • How many hours are included for both event time and set-up / breakdown?
  • Is it required for the couple to provide their own event insurance?
  • Are tables and chairs included and up to how many? Some venues only supply a limited amount and then you have to rent the rest.”

-Shannon Tarrant, Wedding Venue Map

6. Compare, Contrast, Contract

Most couples are proactive in choosing their wedding venue.  Once the venue is chosen and the date is solidified, everything else falls into place.  Finding a venue that you love and fits your criteria should be something that should be booked almost immediately.  Check off everything in your list.  Does it fit the budget?  Are your guests going to have enough space there?  Will the experience be pleasant for you as well as your guests?

“The average engaged couple in Orlando is booking their venue between 12 and 18 months. But every couple is different. It really depends upon how particular you are about the date, the season, and your location choice. The popular and prime venues tend to be booked further out. If you can be flexible, I have seen couples who have booked their venue and planned their entire wedding within 6 months. Consider alternative dates and times of the year when booking in a shorter time window.”

-Shannon Tarrant, Wedding Venue Map


How do you choose a wedding venue? Factor in wedding size, guest count, catering, and location. All of this affects total cost and remaining budget for other vendors. Without a doubt, one of the most difficult decisions is finding a wedding venue that feels like the place to host your big day. It’s a difficult task that shouldn’t be taken likely. As long as you and your fiancé are on the same page, then you should be fine. Check out the Wedding Venue Map for an in-depth breakdown of the venues that are all over Orlando and surrounding areas.

Find us

Orlando | Florida | Worldwide