Your wedding venue is more than just a location – it’s the setting for the start of your happily ever after. With this in mind, choosing your wedding venue is a pretty big decision that requires careful thought and consideration. No pressure or anything!
From rustic barns to luxury hotels, there are an abundance of venue styles to choose from, each with their own unique features. If you’re currently venue hunting (and have no idea where to begin!), read on as we unpack 10 different types of wedding venues you should see before making a decision – and our tips on finding the perfect backdrop for your special day.
Your Comprehensive Guide to Wedding Venue Styles
Selecting the perfect wedding venue is a major step towards creating the dream wedding you’ve always envisioned. From classic wedding venues to more unconventional options, here are some of the most popular wedding venue styles to consider for your special day:
Banquet halls are known for their spacious, elegant interiors and are typically designed to host large celebrations. They’re usually equipped with everything you need to host your special day, including tables and chairs, catering, lighting, and AV.
With plenty of on-site amenities, a banquet hall can make the planning process streamlined and stress-free. Being one of the most popular venue styles, keep in mind that availability may be limited – particularly during peak season.
If rustic and relaxed is more your vibe, a beautiful barn or farm location may be the perfect setting for your nuptials! Barn wedding venues usually boast scenic countryside views and offer a cozy, intimate ambiance.
With a unique and down-to-earth atmosphere, you’ll also find barn wedding venues provide ample photo opportunities for your wedding portraits. Plus, with both indoor and outdoor spaces to choose from, they make a great “all-weather” option.
For a more sophisticated setting, you could consider a historic site for your nuptials such as a heritage-listed building or private estate. These venues offer unique architecture and can provide a dramatic backdrop for your celebration.
Historic sites tend to work well for formal celebrations – so if you’re planning a black-tie wedding, this venue style would lend itself perfectly to your vision.
Dreaming of a magical outdoor wedding? Botanical gardens are an ideal choice for a nature-inspired celebration. This venue style offers a serene and picturesque backdrop, and typically has a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces such as greenhouses, manicured lawns, and romantic pavilions.
A garden setting lends itself perfectly to a more natural aesthetic – so if your vision board is filled with lush greenery, dreamy florals, and whimsical styling, this could be a great option for you. Plus, they’re usually an economical option for couples working towards a strict budget.
Hotels and resorts are a popular choice for weddings, for good reason! These venues typically offer all-inclusive packages and have on-site accommodation, making them a convenient and stress-free option.
Most hotels and resorts will have a variety of function rooms to choose from, so you can find a space that perfectly fits your guest list and vision. And if you’re hosting a destination wedding, you’ll often be able to score discounted rates on accommodation for your guests.
If you love the sound of crashing waves and sunset views, a beach or waterfront wedding venue could be the ultimate backdrop for your special day. Offering a laid-back coastal vibe, beachfront weddings venues create a relaxed and intimate atmosphere, making them ideal for a more casual celebration.
Hosting a beach wedding can also be an affordable option for couples planning a wedding on a budget. Keep in mind, this type of venue is weather dependent so you’ll need to have a solid Plan B in place.
Wineries and vineyards provide spectacular scenery, making them one of the prettiest options for your nuptials! Typically surrounded by rolling hills and lush landscapes, this venue style instantly creates a memorable atmosphere for your celebration.
Most wineries are equipped with dedicated function spaces, so you can tie the knot in the middle of a vineyard before hosting your reception inside the adjoining restaurant or cellar door. Not to mention the endless photo opportunities, sweeping views, and natural light – a photographer’s dream!
For couples seeking a trendy and modern ambiance, warehouse, and loft venues provide the perfect “industrial chic” setting. Known for their high ceilings, exposed brick walls, and minimalist aesthetics, these spaces offer a blank canvas for creating a contemporary and stylish celebration.
If you’re planning a DIY wedding and need an empty space that can be totally transformed, a warehouse or loft-style venue could be an ideal fit for you.
If you’re a foodie couple or hosting a small, intimate wedding, a restaurant setting may be the perfect setting for your special day. From fine-dining establishments to casual bistros, you can choose a restaurant that suits the formality of your event.
Hosting your wedding at a restaurant means you’ll have personalized service, all-inclusive packages and, of course, delicious food! The smaller space also creates a warm, inviting atmosphere for your loved ones to gather together.
For couples daring to break away from tradition, there are also plenty of unconventional options to explore! Imagine tying the knot on a boat, inside an art gallery or on a city rooftop.
Non-traditional wedding venues provide a unique backdrop for couples who want their wedding to be a true reflection of their individuality and creativity. The options are endless – you’ll just need to do your research to uncover some hidden gems.
How to Find the Right Wedding Venue For Your Needs
With so many options, you might be wondering where to begin! Before booking in your site visits, take some time to think about which wedding venue will be best suited to your needs. Here are some of the most important points to consider when narrowing down your options:
- Indoor vs outdoor. Are you dreaming of an intimate indoor celebration, an outdoor bash, or a hybrid of the two?
- All-inclusive vs blank canvas. Do you want everything included in the venue package, or would you prefer more flexibility and customization?
- Guest capacity. It’s a good idea to draft up your guest list before venue hunting. Knowing your numbers will help you instantly rule out any venues that are too small (or large) for your needs.
- Must-have facilities. Are there any non-negotiable elements you require for your wedding venue? For example: on-site parking, wheelchair access or proximity to local accommodation options?
- Price point. Your budget also plays a big factor in finding a suitable wedding venue. Some venue styles like public gardens and beaches will be more affordable, while you can expect historic buildings and luxury hotels to be on the pricier side.
- Overall vibe. Perhaps most importantly is the overall vibe and atmosphere you want to create! Sit down with your partner to clearly define your wedding vision, and use this as a guiding point when selecting a venue. Is your vibe relaxed, casual, and low-key? A barn or beach wedding venue might be the perfect fit. Or, if you’re serious foodies who love a good view, a winery could be a better option for your vision.
How Many Wedding Venues Should You Visit?
Selecting the right venue is a personal decision, but it’s generally recommended to visit at least three to five venues. This allows you to compare different styles, amenities, and atmospheres, helping you make an informed choice.
We’d recommend working your way through the venue styles above and doing some research online to determine which options best suit your needs, and which options you can rule out. During your site visits, be sure to take plenty of photos and videos that you can look back on to help you make a decision.
If you’re visiting multiple venues, it can be easy to forget the details! Download our free printable venue profile worksheet to easily take notes and track what each venue has to offer.
What Questions Should You Ask Wedding Venues During a Site Visit?
Be sure to ask plenty of questions during your site visits to help you find the most suitable venue for your needs. Some of the most important questions would be:
- Availability: Is the venue available on your desired wedding date?
- Capacity: Can the venue accommodate your expected guest count comfortably?
- Pricing: What is the venue hire fee, and what does the package include? Are there any miscellaneous costs to be aware of?
- Catering: Does the venue offer in-house catering, and can you bring in external caterers?
- Logistics: When is the venue available to set up and pack down? Is there on-site parking?
- Restrictions: Are there any restrictions on decor, music, or end times for events?
Check out our full list of questions to ask a potential wedding venue before signing a contract here, and keep it handy during your venue tours.
When to Start Looking for a Wedding Venue?
We’d suggest starting your venue search at least 12 to 18 months before your desired wedding date. Popular venues can book out quickly (especially during peak wedding seasons), so securing your venue early ensures you have a wide range of options.
Found your dream venue? Read our ultimate guide on planning a wedding from start to finish here, or check out our 12-month wedding planning timeline for a stress-free journey towards the altar!