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What to Consider When Searching for your Dream Wedding Venue

Another engagement season has almost come and gone, so we are gearing up to help newly engaged couples start planning their weddings!

Which is the first vendor you should book for your wedding? Your venue! To help narrow down your options while researching and touring venues, take the following points into consideration.

Jon Pivko

1. Guest List

How many guests do you plan on inviting? Find a venue with guest minimums and a max capacity that aligns with your guest count.

2. Budget

Set a budget before you start looking for venues so that you don't end up disappointed. 54% of couples increase their budget during planning, with 45% allocating additional funds to wedding items they fell in love with along the way (source: WeddingWire). Once you have your number in mind, narrow down the wedding venues that align with your goal.

3. Style

What's your wedding vibe?

  • Rustic

  • Outdoorsy

  • Elegant

  • Waterfront

  • Nautical

  • Boho

  • Barn

  • Vineyard

  • Traditional NJ

Bear Brook Valley is known for it's non-traditional ballroom with a farmhouse vibe and is adored by nature-loving couples.

4. Location & Accommodations

Are you dreaming of a destination wedding or a celebration close to home? Whichever you choose, do some research to make sure there are major airports within driving distance and hotels or Airbnbs for your guests to stay at. There are four hotels within 20 miles of Bear Brook Valley that we recommend to couples!

5. Transportation

How will your guests get to and from your wedding venue? Check to see if there are local transportation companies, Ubers, or Lyfts near your potential wedding venue.

6. Back-up Options

If you're looking to get married outside, choose a venue that has a back-up option in case of inclement weather. Bear Brook Valley has four onsite ceremony options-- pondside, ballroom, the Stables, and the Cedar Pavilion.

7. Hidden Fees

If you're venue hunting in New Jersey, you will quickly learn that many NJ wedding venues tack on an additional service charge that is anywhere from 20 - 27% of your total 😲 Bear Brook Valley does not charge a service charge!

8. Reviews

Check out the reviews for the wedding venues that you are interested in. It's the best way to get honest feedback from couples who have already been married there!

9. Time of Year

What time of year do you want to get married? Most venues have peak seasons in which the cost per person is more expensive, some venues close for the winter, and other venues don't have indoor/outdoor options. Here are the pros and cons of each wedding season to help you pick the time of year you want to get married!

10. Online Planning Options

If you aren't looking at venues that are close to home or if you work full time, it may be difficult to plan in-person. Ask if the venues offer an option to plan online so that you don't have to drive back and forth multiple times throughout the planning process.

Bear Brook Valley offers online planning tools to help couples who have busy schedules or who live far away.

Questions to ask

  • Is there an in-house coordinator?

  • Can the kitchen staff accommodate guests with allergies?

  • Are outside vendors allowed?

  • Is the venue wheelchair accessible?

  • Are there any noise restrictions or a curfew?

Your wedding venue will become your home away from home on your wedding day. Find a venue that you love with a team that you feel comfortable with. Congratulations on your engagement and enjoy the wedding planning process

Screenshot this checklist to help you find your dream wedding venue!


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