Selecting a wedding venue in Maryland for your big day can be an overwhelming experience. There is a lot of pressure to find the perfect location, choose a venue that has options in case of inclement weather, can hold all of your guests, has the availability for your season, and caters to your vision and all of your needs.
Selecting a wedding venue is the first thing on the wedding to-do list, as it determines the rest of your vendors, decorations, dates, and more. So here’s how to select the perfect wedding venue and reception hall to kick off your wedding planning.
Consider Your Wedding Venue Location
Start to make a list of your preferred wedding venue locations. Are you staying local, going out of state, looking to be near your family, or wanting to be near a hub of activity? Consider woodsy locations, beach locations, city locations, or any other type of ambiance you may desire.
We’ll cover this more later, but your location should also take into account guest travel, reception access, hotel access, commute times, overall theme, and more. You may want a beach location but it’s over 8 hours of travel away – mark down your priorities and begin your search within those parameters.
Know Your Budget
The perfect wedding venue is a wedding venue that stays within budget.
This can be the most challenging parameter to stay within but it’s also the most important. When touring and selecting your wedding venue, take into account your overall budget and how that budget is being allocated.
A wedding venue that eats up most of your budget will make the rest of wedding planning difficult – remember that your venue and catering take up the most of the budget, but you still need a dedicated amount for venue decorations.
Consider how much you want to spend on not only your venue but other areas like decorations, entertainment, and more so you have an expectation of how much you can reasonably set aside for the perfect wedding venue.
Tip- This is where consulting with your preferred wedding venues can be of great assistance. Circle D Farm’s Maryland wedding venue, for example, can help create a cost breakdown of extras so you know what your additional venue spending will look like at our location.
Is your ceremony location also going to hold your reception hall? Couples should consider if one location is a priority or if they don’t mind asking their guests to travel from the ceremony space to the reception location.
There are pros and cons to having your reception hall as part of your wedding ceremony location, so keep this preference in mind when setting up tours and making a list of venue locations.
Local Tip- Maryland is a small state, so some of the most beautiful wedding venues in Maryland may not have a reception hall on site but they will know of others nearby. If you don’t need a reception hall as part of your ceremony location, ask your Maryland wedding venue contact what reception areas they recommend.
Indoor vs Outdoor Wedding Venue
When you picture your wedding day, are you picturing it inside a grand hall or outdoors under the sun? Touring wedding venues that offer both options is a smart idea to get a better idea of what your wedding day will look like.
This is also why it’s important to know the location of your wedding – a wedding in Maryland, for example, means working with Maryland wedding venues that offer outdoor ceremony locations and indoor backup ceremony and reception areas.
You always want to know the backup plan your wedding venue has in case of unexpected rain, storm, winds, or extreme temperature fluctuations.
What’s Your Wedding Theme
For some couples, the theme comes later, and for others, they know from the get-go what they want their wedding to look like. Themes can be loose and simple or detailed and extravagant. Whatever way your theme goes, you want to have a general idea of the vibe of your wedding day to find a venue that complements it.
We ask our couples to think of the top 3 to 5 words that perfectly describe their day. Fun, rustic, relaxing, loud, dazzling, etc. can all help you find the right venue.
Tip- Some of the most beautiful wedding venues in Maryland start out as a blank canvas and are customized to fit a couple’s vision. Always visit a wedding venue’s gallery or online portfolio to see how other couples have transformed the space.
When Do You Want to Get Married
Season, day of the week, time of day.
Wedding venues can book up quickly, which means even touring venues a year earlier can lead to difficulty in scheduling for your favorite season.
Know ahead of time if you have a set preference for your wedding season, day of the week, and time of day you wish to have your ceremony – and even how long you want the space for.
This will allow you to ask questions about how long you have the space, if you can get married at sunset, if you only have the space for mornings or nights, and if there is a music cut-off (important if your wedding venue will also be your reception hall).
Estimate the Guest Count for Your Wedding Venue
No one is expected to know the exact count of their guest list a year or two before their wedding, but you should know when touring your venues how big you want your wedding to be. Consider family, extended family, and friends.
Take into account how likely people are to travel, if your wedding will be kid-free, and what your budget allows. This will ensure you don’t tour venues that either can’t accommodate your large wedding or venues that have a guest count minimum for catering (important if you plan on having a small wedding but are still expected to pay an amount that covers more than you need).
Hotel and Airport Access
This is similar to location but takes in more of the logistics of travel – your perfect wedding venue will need to consider the travel time from airports, lodging, and public transportation.
We ask our couples to consider if they’ll be providing transportation or if each guest will have to plan to drive themselves in and out – if your wedding venue is also your reception hall, can guests access public transportation (Ubers, Lyfts, taxis, trains, etc.) to drink during the event? For out-of-town guests, is lodging or the airport nearby or will they need to factor in additional driving time?
Accessibility and Ease of Access
While all public event spaces are required to be ADA compliant, it is still important to remind couples to be mindful of everyone on their guest list and their accessibility. Elderly guests, for example, may not be able to enjoy all of the venue locations if certain activities take place in upstairs or downstairs areas without ramps or elevators.
Even entirely compliant venues can be difficult for those who don’t like to walk long distances or have rocky or unstable terrain.
Always check if the wedding venue you’re considering allows for vendor flexibility. Some venues have specific vendors you can work with, especially when it comes to catering and bartending. For some couples, this isn’t a problem, but others may have a preference of their caterer or DJ.
Before falling in love with the perfect wedding venue, make sure it can accommodate the vendors you want to work with or gives you a wide variety to select from.
Al-a-Carte or All Inclusive
An al-a-carte vs an all-inclusive wedding venue will have a big impact on your budget and on your day-of to-do list. Check with your wedding venue to see if they include chairs, decorations, clean-up, etc. as part of their wedding venue package or if you’re responsible for coordinating these tasks.
Touring and Booking Your Wedding Venues
After you’ve thought about each key point and made a list of your priorities, it’s time to start listing, touring, and meeting with wedding venues. As a top-rated Maryland wedding venue in Woodbine, we like to recommend that couples consider a few last things as they get started.
- If you plan on using a wedding planner, talk with them before signing a contract so you have someone to help you negotiate the terms
- Then, begin touring venues. However many you want is up to you!
- Keep lists of your favorite venue details so you can compare locations, prices, add-ons, and more when making your final decisions
- Always read the fine print of the contract to know your time schedule and your responsibilities day of
- If you’re working with a list of required vendors, review their selection to ensure they offer the menus, drinks, and services you’re looking for
- Review everything, sign, and congrats! You’ve got your wedding date selected!
Looking to Tour Beautiful Wedding Venues in Maryland? Contact Us!
Circle D Farm is proud to be a beautiful wedding venue located in Woodbine, MD. We offer both indoor and outdoor locations for ceremonies and reception halls. Our farm is an elegant location that offers the perfect rustic theme but has also been decorated for other themes (check out our wedding venue photo gallery to take a peek).
If you’re considering a wedding in Maryland, contact us to tour our Woodine wedding venue today and learn about our offerings.