How to Choose a Wedding Venue
So, you’re getting married! Congratulations! Now you’ve got some big decisions to make. Of course, you’ve already made the most important decision: you’ve chosen your bride or groom. But probably the next biggest question you need to address is where to have your wedding. That’s not always an easy decision, especially in the Atlanta area where there are so many different types of wedding venues to choose from.
Here at Saratoga Event Group, our goal is to assist you in your wedding planning and to make this joyous time in your life as stress-free as possible. We know that the choice of your wedding location is an important aspect of your wedding. The venue sets the tone for the whole event. Not only that, it’s often a factor in determining your wedding date, and it can take up to a huge chunk of your total wedding budget. In most cases, you can’t go very far in planning your wedding until you’ve first figured out where it’s going to take place.
For all these reasons, we suggest you ask yourself the following 10 questions—before you book a reception hall, hotel, garden or other locale. This will help you select a venue for your wedding that best suits you and your spouse-to-be:
1. How many guests are we going to invite?
Depending on whether you want to invite everyone you’ve ever known, or only your closest friends and family, your wedding venue options might be more or less numerous. There needs to be enough space for everyone to mingle, dine and dance without feeling cramped or uncomfortably close to each other. That doesn’t necessarily mean there has to be table seating for everyone to sit down and eat at the same time. Some facilities—and this is true at our venues—offer progressive seating, meaning that not all your guests have to dine simultaneously; some may have their meals while the others mingle, have cocktails or dance.
2. What is our wedding budget?
You might find a lot of venues you like, but the reality is, not all of them are going to fit into your budget. Do yourselves a favor and figure out how much you can spend on your wedding reception—including food, music, decorations, staff and the space rental itself—before you start contacting venues. This will save you a lot of time and help you avoid the frustrations of falling in love with wedding venues that are simply out of your price range.
3. How much work are we willing―or do we want―to take on?
A quaint country-style wedding in a picturesque barn may sound lovely, but remember, someone’s going to need to clear out the hay, set up tables and chairs, rent linens and tableware, set up the sound system and lighting, and arrange for the portable toilet rentals. If you’ve got the time to do this, or perhaps you’ve got family members and friends who have volunteered their services, great. If not, you may be better off going with a full-service venue.
At Saratoga Event Group, we are your one-stop wedding shop. Our venues are all-inclusive, which means when you use us, you not only get a wonderful setting, you also get the catering, the assistance of our events staff (including the services of our wedding coordinator, setup and cleanup crew and wait-staff), and the option to use our floral design services. You don’t have to worry about renting tables, chairs, dinnerware and other essentials because we provide it all for you. This may be the perfect solution if you don’t have the time or inclination to do all the work yourself, or if you simply want the assurance that everything on your wedding day will go perfectly smoothly.
4. Do we want to hold our ceremony and reception at the same place?
At our three venues, you can have your ceremony and reception at the same location. This offers several advantages. Your guests and bridal party only have to travel to one place. They don’t have to deal with parking hassles twice. Expenses are reduced, as you don’t have to pay for additional flowers or limo services. You and your wedding party can take photos after the ceremony, while your guests can go straight to the reception. You can store all your items (change of clothes, etc.) in your private bridal room throughout the day.
It’s still doable to have your ceremony in a different location, such as a church, and then have your reception at one of our venues. However, it’s ideal if the location for your ceremony and reception are within a 20 to 30-minute driving time of each other, to make traveling easier on you and your guests.
5. What time of year are we getting married?
Each season offers different perks and challenges. Certain locales may offer more advantages for a spring or summer wedding, while others might be a better fit for a fall or winter wedding. Obviously, if you decide on an outdoor wedding in the autumn, the foliage may be breathtaking but you run the risk that temperatures outside could be too chilly. If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony for the spring, you could be drowned out by rain. In these situations, it’s best to have a backup plan. We recommend choosing a facility like one of ours, which offer both indoor and outdoor options. We’ve got the beautiful outdoor grounds if the weather cooperates, but in the event of inclement weather, the ceremony could easily be moved indoors.
6. What mood and atmosphere are we looking for?
Your wedding is your big day. Try to choose a setting that is unique to your style and the mood you’re hoping to create. All our venues are unique. We don’t have any “blank slate” halls in terms of atmosphere. Our three venues have character to them already. Which one might be right for you just depends on what you want. If you’re looking for something rustic, historic or quaint, we have that. If you’d prefer a very grand, luxurious setting, we have that too.
7. How much privacy do we want?
Hotel banquet rooms, parks, beaches and other venues don’t exclude the general public. If you don’t mind hordes of onlookers while you make your vows or people “crashing” your reception, that might not be a problem to you. But if you do mind, choose a facility where you can have total privacy and everyone on-site is an invited guest and is there for your wedding.
8. Is the venue available?
Sometimes the biggest restriction on particular wedding venues is not the costs but availability. Many popular wedding venues become booked a year or more in advance, especially when it’s for the summer months and holidays such as Valentine’s Day. If your preferred locations are not available on your desired wedding date, that can rule out a lot of venues—unless you are flexible on your date.
9. Is there sufficient parking for our guests?
It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s essential that the venue you choose has enough parking spaces for all your wedding guests—either a dedicated private parking lot, an adjacent public parking garage or plenty of parking spaces along the street. Insufficient parking doesn’t necessarily have to be a deal breaker, but it may require you to spend time and money trying to find a viable transportation alternative (such as organizing a shuttle service to your wedding location). Obviously, if you don’t have to hassle with this, that’s ideal. If you utilize our services, all three of our event venues have plenty of designated parking areas.
10. How easy is it to get to this location?
You may want to have your wedding at a secluded castle on a hillside, but if it’s way off the beaten path and too hard for your guests to find or get to, you may need to think twice about this venue. Ideally, your wedding site should be close to major highways so people can travel there easily, and if it’s in an urban area, it should be convenient to public transportation. If your wedding is on a Friday evening, consider rush hour traffic and don’t expect your guests to have to drive through the most crowded freeways at the busiest time of the day. If you’ve got a lot of guests coming from out-of-town, your wedding site should have easy access to and from the airport and be close to hotels. Your guests will not enjoy your wedding nearly as much if it’s a hassle to get to.
We have the venue that’s right for you!
Saratoga Event Group is a full-service special event planning company in Atlanta, Georgia. Whether you are planning a small, intimate wedding with just a few close friends and family in attendance or a huge production where you invite everyone you know, we offer three venues which are all ideal for weddings. One of these may just be the perfect site for your big day.
Chastain Horse Park
Located on 13-acres in the northwest corner of Chastain Park, Chastain Horse Park in Buckhead is one of Atlanta’s most unique and desirable wedding settings. This facility was built in 1939 and served as a historic landmark complex until 1997. After and extensive redevelopment in 1999, it was reopened as Chastain Horse Park, and in recent years, has had a number of interior upgrades. The facility consists of an upstairs banquet room and a downstairs garden room, each with an outside balcony overlooking the equestrian ring. The entire facility can be rented for large weddings (using one area for the ceremony, another for pre-reception cocktails, and another for the dinner and dancing) or rooms can be rented separately for smaller groups.
On the National Register of Historic Places, the historic Pace House is located in the Vinings neighborhood of Atlanta. It was built between 1865 and 1874, with the remains of the 17-room antebellum home of Vining’s founder, Hardy Pace. With a warm, rustic ambience, the Pace House is a versatile venue that features a spacious open deck area (which can be transformed into a dance floor, cocktail area or DJ station), a large front lawn (which is ideal for outdoor cocktails and photo opportunities), and an unusual bamboo garden that is perfect as a backdrop for unique wedding photos.
Contact us for more information
Have additional questions? Want to learn more about our venues and our services? Give us a call at (770) 578-1110, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have over the phone, or you can schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our wedding experts. You can also visit our website and fill out our online contact form, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and someone from our office will get back with you shortly. We will do whatever we can to take the stress out of your “big day,” and make it the most special experience of your life!
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