When you share that you are engaged, the first thing people usually ask is “when are you getting married!” and after that, they want to know WHERE. Living in this area is so wonderful because we have every type of wedding you could want – there are formal ballrooms in hotels and clubs, sleek spaces in urban areas, gorgeous vineyards of all different styles, properties with lush gardens, cozy inns full of charm, and even rustic barns in the country.
We have four pieces of advice to help you on the road to selecting your beautiful Charlottesville wedding venue.
1. Have a vision.
If you don’t have a wedding stye or theme in mind before you begin your wedding search, you’ll probably be overwhelmed by the options available. There’s a reason Charlottesville is an extremely popular place to get married. We have tremendous diversity when it comes to wedding venues, all of them beautiful and appealing in their own ways. Some of the really basic things to consider:
-do you want to have you ceremony on-site?
-do you want most of the affair to be held indoors or outdoors?
-do you envision a formal, semi-formal, or informal wedding?
Having answers to these questions will narrow an enormous list down to a large, but not overwhelming one. While any space can be transformed with lighting, flowers, and rentals, there’s less impact on the budget when the style of your event matches the style of your wedding. In the words of our friends at Southern Blooms, embrace your space.
2. Research Online
Wedding planning takes up a lot of time and energy. While you could set up venue visits with every location that fits your requirements, you’d spend weeks crisscrossing the region for one appointment after another. Use venue websites and their social media channels to learn more about the features each venue on your list provides. Look up real weddings on wedding blogs like this one to see what ceremony and reception spaces look like. Use wedding vendor review websites and message boards to learn from other brides as well.
3. Don’t Just Tour, Ask Questions
You’ll want to make a few venue visits appointments, but don’t go just to be escorted around the property. Go to your venue visit armed with questions about logistics.
We also think it’s smart to make an informal visit, ideally on the day of a wedding, if your venue is open to the public. Have a glass of wine on the patio at the vineyard or have lunch in the restaurant of that club or hotel. Can you picture yourself getting married there? You can also get a sense of what getting to the venue will be like for your guests since you’ll probably arrive hours before they will.
3. Ask for References
We all like to think that we are excellent researchers, but we can’t stress how important it is to connect with a few brides and/or grooms who got married at your venue. Ask them what they loved about their wedding at your prospective venue and what they would change. Did anything not go according to plan? Were there any surprises, good or bad? Would they get married there again?
It can be a little odd reaching out to a total stranger to quiz them about their wedding, but you’ll find that past brides and grooms are often very happy to talk about their weddings!
Best wishes as you embark on the search for your perfect Charlottesville area wedding venue!