Inside Weddings shares the trusted wedding locations in our Editors Circle, plus a directory of local wedding venues to find the site of your ceremony, reception, and more!
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding day! One of the biggest decisions you'll make for your special day is where you'll be saying "I do" and celebrating with friends and family. The choice of wedding venue influences the amount of people you can have on the guest list, the style of event you'll have, and so much more. Whether you're planning to exchange vows in New York City, Santa Barbara or Napa Valley, or even a destination wedding, we help provide inspiration for hosting your wedding at an array of event spaces and offer suggestions for wedding venues to get married at across the country.
When narrowing down your choice of potential venue options, it's important to find a space that works for your celebration – whether you're having a big celebration or an intimate wedding. Review the pricing, maximum guest count, the location itself and spots for photos, what's offered (such as tables, chairs, other rental items, bridal suite, etc.), whether you like the backup plan for inclement weather if you're hoping for an outdoor celebration, noise and time restrictions, preferred vendor options, and overall aesthetics.
While some couples think that having their wedding at a private house or estate, farm, or even in a field or gardens will be a less-expensive and one-of-a-kind venue option for getting married on the big day, these sorts of venues often end up being more expensive as you'll not only need décor, florals, and food, but you'll likely also need to rent portable restrooms, a generator, a mobile catering kitchen, and more lighting than what may be needed at other venues. Depending on the sort of ceremony and reception you'll be having and where your event will be located, it's often more cost effective to host your wedding at a traditional venue, hotel, resort, or event space location that's accustomed to hosting an event.
If your ceremony and reception will be held in the same wedding location, the cocktail hour will be a time of transition for your team. Called "flipping" the room, the ceremony décor will come down and the reception décor will go up, all while friends and family are enjoying cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at a nearby location.
While every wedding is different, most events allow about 15 minutes after cocktails for guests to find their seats at the reception, followed by the entrances for the wedding party and newlyweds. Most couples decide to do the first dance immediately after the grand entrance, followed either by a welcome speech or the father-daughter dance and/or mother-son dance.
If you go with a speech first, typically the dinner service will commence after, with toasts sprinkled throughout as your guests eat. The parent dances may then occur after the toasts. In the case of not doing the first dance after the grand entrance, it should then occur after the toasts, but still before father-daughter, mother-son, or any similar dances.
The dance floor may be open at this point, followed by the cake cutting a half an hour to an hour later. Depending on how much uninterrupted dance time you want, the bouquet and garter tosses – if you choose to do them – can either happen while guests enjoy their cake, or in another 30-45 minutes or so. After that, it’s time to dance the night away until the grand exit!