When planning a wedding, choosing the right venue can be one of the most important decisions you make. The venue is more than just a location; it sets the tone and provides the backdrop for one of the most memorable days of your life.

Call us slightly biased, but we believe Virginia brides have a distinctly unfair advantage as you get to welcome and entertain your guests in one of the most gorgeous lush landscapes on the planet, rich with history and charm.

At Six Pastures, we have the pleasure of working closely with clients planning weddings in the Winchester area and in search of a premier wedding venue.  We understand each bride and groom have a unique vision for their big day. Perhaps our farm is your dream setting or maybe you have something else in mind. Either way, making an informed decision is the best way to ensure you’re making the right decision for your most special occasion.

Here are 5 Things You Need to Know Before Choosing a Wedding Venue

Stay True to Your Vision

You may have noticed the moment you announced your engagement, everyone has an opinion about what your wedding should be. More than likely, you’re getting bombarded by well-meaning friends, family, wedding guides, and Facebook ads. And though you’ve been dreaming about your wedding since you were a girl, suddenly you’re finding yourself distracted by every wedding photo on Instagram.

If you feel somewhat overwhelmed and unsettled, even in the early phases of wedding planning, you’re not alone. This is common for brides and couples; so before you allow your dream wedding to become someone else’s Pinterest-perfect event, step back, take a breath, and remember this is your day and you want to be able to show up and shine as your authentic self. When choosing your wedding venue, make sure it will make the perfect canvas to bring your wedding theme and unique vision to life.

Honor Your Guests

While your wedding is your day, it is also a day for your friends and loved ones to celebrate with you. So it’s important to consider their experience as well. Before you search for the perfect wedding venue, you should have a good idea of how many guests you’re expecting to invite and how well your venue will be able to accommodate them.

Your guest list will shape the overall guest experience you will be providing for them. Will you be inviting a large number of out-of-town guests? Do you want your wedding to be family-friendly and welcoming of small children? Will you be inviting a lot of older or disabled guests who may have trouble walking? Is the venue parking on grass or hard surfaces? -Remember, rain turns grass and dirt into mud quickly!  There’s much to consider and you will be able to enjoy your wedding with peace of mind once you know your guests will be comfortably accommodated.

Respect Your Budget

In a perfect world, every bride and groom would have a blank check to cover their wedding expenses. But in reality, your budget matters. Although it’s not always fun to focus on limitations, it can actually be quite enjoyable to get creative within a reasonable budget and still plan the wedding of your dreams in an idyllic setting.

When choosing a wedding venue, keep your overall costs in mind. You’ll be paying for more than simply renting a space, so you will need to know what is included and what you will need to add. Does the wedding venue offer full-service packages or in-house services? Are there food and beverage minimums? Does the space you’re considering have exclusive contracts with wedding vendors such as floral designers, caterers, or rental companies for banquet chairs, linens, etc.? Be sure you understand the costs of extras beyond the base price!  These add up quickly and can destroy a budget! Can you bring in your own vendors or does the venue require you to use theirs? Save yourself the heartache of outpricing your vision by getting clear on pricing before making big decisions.

Consult With a Planner

An experienced wedding planner is familiar with the best local wedding venues. If you talk to a wedding planner about what you have in mind for your ceremony and reception, they will be able to recommend ideal local venues that fit your needs. Before you spend too much time doing research on your own, have a conversation with a professional who can guide you through the decision-making process.

Not only will a wedding planner be familiar with the ins and outs of the space, they will know what questions to ask and what to look out for. In short, you don’t know what you don’t know, and a wedding planner can fill in the gaps for you when it comes to selecting the right venue for the occasion. They have knowledge and relationships that can save you unnecessary headaches, frustration and stress.

Meet Your Needs

When planning a dream wedding, you’ll need to come down from the clouds and think both practically and tactically about your needs and logistics. First, if a specific date is already set or you’re getting married during a popular season, make sure the space is actually available before falling in love with it.

Also, think of all the aspects of your wedding that you want to include and ensure the layout of the event venue will accommodate your needs. Will you need separate spaces for a ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception? If you have your heart set on an outdoor space, is there an indoor alternative if it rains, and if so is the covered area nice enough or will it put a big damper on your vision? Look over the space with a discerning eye and make sure it’s suitable for what you need.

Whether the perfect wedding venue for you is a cozy chapel, sleek art gallery, elegant ballroom, or a stunning barn nestled in the beautiful Virginia countryside, you have a big decision to make and hope you enjoy the journey.

If you’re looking for a wedding venue in the Winchester area, the “flying pig” barn has most often been described as “rustic chic”.  If that’s your style, we invite you to consider Six Pastures, one of Virginia’s most enjoyable wedding venues.