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7 Steps For Choosing a Wedding Venue in the Hill Country

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Texas brides are as unique as the vast array of landscapes spanning the state. She’s beautiful and strong, sensitive and sweet, independent and smart. She’s everything Texas. She’s you. And you have found your perfect match. Let us be the first to congratulate you on your upcoming nuptials! Now for the next step! Selecting the location to hold your wedding ceremony is an extremely important decision when planning your wedding. There are several things to take into consideration when scoping out venues. Even if you have hired a wedding planner, there is still a lot of personal research that goes into your venue selection. So, take your time and choose wisely. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect place celebrate your vows!

1. Make sure the venue fits your budget.

7 Steps For Choosing a Wedding Venue in the Hill Country

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First and foremost, make sure you and the soon-to-be spouse set a reasonable budget. Don’t torture yourself and put a $10,000 venue on your list when you can really only afford $3,000. It’s just going to break your heart and waste your time.

2. Check and see if the venue is available on your “chosen” date (or month, or even time of year).

7 Steps For Choosing a Wedding Venue in the Hill Country

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Most Hill Country wedding venues have websites, so take some time and browse through them. Many of them have online calendars, and if not, they’re liable to have a contact email address. Check with them for a rough estimate of availability.

3. Estimate your guest list and verify that this venue has a comfortable capacity.

7 Steps For Choosing a Wedding Venue in the Hill Country

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Texans like their own space. And plenty of it. Make sure to give your guests plenty of elbow room when seated and mingling room when standing. One way to discreetly determine this is to ask at the site visit, “What number of guests is most successful in this space?” Just because you can fit 150 people into a room, doesn’t mean you should.

4. Roughly plan your event (ceremony/reception) and determine if this venue fits your needs.

7 Steps For Choosing a Wedding Venue in the Hill Country

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The Hill Country has some wonderful outdoor and indoor venues that fit multiple needs. If you’re planning to have your ceremony and reception all in one place, does the venue offer two separate spaces for both events? If not, do they recommend some type of “flip?” The typical “flip” is changing the ceremony space into the reception space when guests are ushered into another area for drinks or pictures. Flips are a great way to make a venue work. However, make sure they are done at the venue often, and ask how they are done: where are the reception tables and decor stored? Will you need to rent pipe and drape? Does the venue require a space that is weather-dependent (outdoors)? By asking these questions, you can recognize potential hidden costs and hidden issues. It’s also important to talk through the flow of the ceremony and ask more questions: where does the couple wait prior to the processional? Are there multiple places to wait if they don’t want to see each other beforehand? Is there a typical ceremony layout for this venue?

5. Consider location.

7 Steps For Choosing a Wedding Venue in the Hill Country

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Texas is big. As a matter of fact, everything is bigger in Texas…or so they say. Do you want to provide transportation for guests from a hotel to your remote venue? If the venue is centrally located, this would allow for guests to get themselves there via walking, driving, or even public transportation. Also consider if everyone is driving, there needs to be ample space for parking (paid or unpaid). Take note that transportation can be a fairly big line item on your budget if you decide to bus or shuttle people to and from the venue.

6. Take note of any catering restrictions.

7 Steps For Choosing a Wedding Venue in the Hill Country

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Some venues require you to use one exclusive caterer, which can be quite costly. And, this might fit right into your budget! For some, though, the budget might be tight or the food choice itself is a big deal to the couple. If you want your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant to cater at your venue, just make sure the venue you choose allows “non-traditional” caterers. Also note if there is an additional fee for “non-traditional” caterers.

7. Make absolutely certain that this venue fits your general vibe.

7 Steps For Choosing a Wedding Venue in the Hill Country

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This concept is a bit abstract, because it’s usually a gut feeling and completely centers on the type of wedding you’re hoping to have. If you and the Mr. are looking for a casual BBQ wedding, then a historic, formal hall isn’t really the best fit. Or, if you want a more rustic appeal, then boots versus black ties would be more appropriate. Do try to stay open to all possibilities until you do a site visit. Texas wedding venues typically have some amazing folks who own and run them. Talk to them and see if they can customize your day to fit you. Also, consider décor in this venue. Is the space naturally beautiful and impressive (so it won’t require additional lighting or flair)? Or, is it a blank slate that will need some up-lighting and pizzazz to warm it up? Take a close look at those marketing photos the venue shows you online on in the brochure – more often than not, they have a ton of lighting and draping to decorate the space. Make sure that you’ve budgeted for these extras, or that you prefer the space as-is. In all, and most importantly, enjoy planning your wedding! It’s your special day, and you’ve got an empty canvas right now. Paint your heart out.