How To Choose A Wedding Venue

phoenix wedding ministerBefore meeting with the first reception site manager, consider these important factors in determining the venue that is right for your wedding reception.  The reception site is undeniably the most important and most expensive piece of the wedding planning puzzle, so you’ll want to put some careful thought into this essential planning task.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Venue:
Theme and Style of Your Wedding Reception
Beyond the basic banquet hall, an overwhelming array of reception site options exists. From country clubs to mansions to museums, each set the stage for a specific style of event. Before deciding, determine the type of wedding you would like to host.
We cannot overemphasize—today’s wedding receptions are about personality and creativity. Your wedding is not your mother’s or your grandmother’s. It’s not your best friend’s wedding either. This is your once in a lifetime event.  Take advantage of your time in the spotlight to put together a wedding reception event that really shines. Consider your personal style. Do you want your wedding to be a reflection or a departure from that? Just because you tend to be more city-chic does not mean you can’t throw a country-style foot stomping hoe down of a wedding.
Put some thought into this, and envision your perfect wedding reception. The theme and style you wish to reflect will help dictate the type of reception site you choose. Remember that options abound beyond hotel ballrooms, banquet halls and country clubs. Also consider mansions and historic sites, museums or parks. The sky is the limit!
Geographic Location of Your Wedding
Where do you want to get married? In your hometown? In your fiance’s home town? In the town where you currently live? Or even on a Caribbean island? With today’s jet set couples, the possibilities really are endless. Don’t be afraid to consider something different or unexpected. Perhaps the style or theme of your event will dictate the location—a tiki-style hut by the beach, a rustic farmhouse in the country, a posh ballroom overlooking a metropolitan cityscape, a dinner cruise on the lake or bay. You get the idea…
Wedding Size
OK—so you have decided to get married in a historic mansion near your hometown. Great—you’re almost there! But before you get in your car and start touring reception sites, there is one major factor to consider. Capacity—one of the most important criteria in finding the perfect wedding venue. No matter how beautiful a place may be, if you anticipate a guest list of 300, cramming them into a facility that seats 150 will quickly turn an elegant affair into a mob of angry guests.  Most reception sites make setting capacity information readily available. If not, give a quick call to the general phone number and find out. Make sure to differentiate the capacities for the type of reception you envision (seated dinner, buffet, cocktail reception etc.) There may also be different capacity based on the setting with or without a dance floor.
Find a Venue that Meets Your Wedding Reception Needs
Find as many reception sites that meet these initial criteria as you can. Search our local wedding venue directory to find reception sites in your area, and narrow down your list. Then, schedule appointments to tour each wedding venue and meet with the manager. After that, it’s decision making time!

Writing Your Own Vows

So many couples sit down with me as their Arizona wedding pastor and one of them wants to write their own vows and the other does not (more often the bride does, not the groom). Then I sit as the tension in the room rises, because both are strong in their feelings about the idea of writing their own wedding vows. I listen, trying not to side with one or the other. Until a couple years ago, I thought it was all or nothing when it comes to wedding vows. Now, I offer them an idea that, more often than not, makes each happy. It’s what I call, “Freestyle Vows” or “Love Letter Vows.” Allow me to explain.

At the beginning of the ceremony, before the promises, the vows or the rings, I take out a letter from each, to each, and read them publicly for the first time. They do not need to match in length, content or style. Both are written from the heart with that magical moment in mind. The following are the reasons why I think freestyle vows have caught on and been embraced by so many of my couples:

  • One can be long; the other short
  • One can include humor; the other can be more serious and romantic
  • One can be poetic and structured formally; the other can be simple bullet points about how wonderful the other person is.
  • One can include “inside jokes” that only the couple gets; the other can be a favorite love poem.

As one can see, the ideas are endless. Writing your own vows has become a great way for a bride to bring creativity to the ceremony as well as an extra dose of romance.

So good luck writing, and remember to have fun with it. Your guests will LOVE it and so will you!

– Rev. Randy Williams