Elegant indoor wedding venue Ideas & Advice Outdoor wedding venue

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Once you’ve determined the type of site you want, you can find your wedding venue in our national resource directory!

Wedding Venue Comparison Guide

Size up the wedding sites - use this cheat sheet to weigh the pros and cons of various types of wedding venues.

Here’s your guide to hosting your wedding at a banquet hall, hotel or resort, country club, restaurant, mansion or historic home, library or museum, public park, garden or beach:

Wedding Receptions at Banquet Halls

Great Because… 


• Cost efficient and hassle free wedding packages available
• Tons of wedding experience makes site coordinator an invaluable resource

The Downside…

• Weddings can look mass produced
• Multiple events held per day, affecting your starting and ending times

Here’s the Deal…

The average banquet hall’s ambiance may require some imagination to make it your own.  Consider it a blank canvas upon which to create your stylistic masterpiece.

Wedding Receptions at Hotels and Resorts

Great Because…

• Onsite accommodations and added amenities (concierge, shuttles, spas etc.)
• Proximity to airports and/or vacation destinations
• Low or no rental fees

The Downside…

• Hotel ballrooms and cuisine can be generic
• Ballroom dividers may be unappealing (ask to see in advance)
• Potential lack of privacy - larger hotels host multiple events at once

Here’s the Deal…

Providing everything in one location, these venues make things super easy for your guests.  Of course, amenities, ambiance and cost vary greatly depending on the hotel or resort. 

Wedding Receptions at Country Clubs

Great Because…


• Golf and other activities may be available for guests
• Great outdoor photo opps

The Downside…

• Facilities not completely private (members still on site)
• Food may be average or limited

Here’s the Deal…
Interiors vary, but the grounds will almost always be striking (lakes, golf courses, marinas – you name it).  Also keep in mind that you you may have to be sponsored by a member.

Wedding Receptions at Restaurants

Great Because…

• Good food is their specialty
• Fully decorated interiors punch added pizzazz often lacking in basic ballroom décor.

The Downside…

• Space limitations – make sure the space can fit a dance floor and band or DJ
• Potential lack of privacy – if your group size doesn’t warrant renting the entire place, you may be close to regular patrons

Here’s the Deal…

Most restaurants have experience hosting large functions – so planning is relatively painless.  If you’ve got a certain look and price point in mind, chances are you can find a restaurant to match.

Wedding Receptions at Mansions and Historic Houses

Great Because…

• Impressive architecture and manicured grounds provide a distinctive setting
• Privacy – these venues usually host one event at a time

The Downside…

• Higher rental fees
• Space – if there’s no large ballroom, parties may have to split into smaller rooms or take place outside
• More restrictions - noise, décor and rental times
• Accessibility – these venues are often in secluded locations

Here’s the Deal…

The style quotient is high, but expect to allocate more effort and more of your budget for this luxury.

Wedding Receptions at Libraries and Museums

Great Because…


• Distinctive architecture and cultural ambiance
• Exhibitions on display add element of entertainment

The Downside…

• Higher rental fees
• Public government space – means potentially restrictive rules, hours and red tape
• Often little coordinating assistance

Here’s the Deal…

Your guests won’t soon forget this setting, but you may want to hire a professional planner to help with details.

Wedding Receptions at Public Parks, Gardens and Beaches

Great Because…

• Solve decorating dilemmas when Mother Nature does the work for you
• The natural setting complements relaxed weddings

The Downside…

• Necessary permits and many restrictions
• Outdoor disturbances – insects, dirt, mud, allergies, noises, temperature
• Must plan a backup for inclement weather

Here’s the Deal…

Don’t think these natural settings are a breeze – everything must be rented, from tables and chairs to portable restroom facilities and dance floors. 

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