Ask the Expert: How to Find the Perfect Place to Tie the Knot

You’ve chosen your spouse-to-be, the ring and the date. Next up … somewhere to celebrate! Consider these important factors when shopping for the perfect wedding venue.


Overall Style.
The details of your wedding day should have a cohesive style, and your venue should be consistent with this. Choose something that reflects the ambiance you are aiming to create. If timeless and refined is your vibe, a classic ballroom might be the right pick. Want something more eclectic? Try a renovated industrial space for a gritty and unique feel.

Take a good look at the venue’s interior and exterior. The space is the canvas upon which you’ll create the rest of your day. Make sure it fits your vision before booking!

Exclusive or Preferred Vendors.
Some venues require you to work with certain vendors. Others will recommend some who are familiar with the space and any of its challenges. A third type will allow you to hire anyone you wish. This means you’re free to shop around and book vendors who best meet your style and budget. If you want more freedom, look for those without exclusive vendor lists.

One of the easiest ways to save money is by choosing a venue that allows you to purchase and provide your own alcohol. Often hotels, museums and restaurants have bar packages that can be pricey but offer convenience. Barns, family-managed spaces and other unconventional venues typically allow you to BYOB, which can be a huge cost savings.

Access to the Space.
Be sure to ask what time you and your vendors can begin set up. If it’s only a few hours before the start of the cocktail hour, you’ll need to consider how this will affect the day’s overall timeline. Could set up possibly begin the day before? A tight time frame is manageable, but you’ll want to know in advance.

Rain Plan.
If any part of your wedding is outdoors, you need a Plan B in case of inclement weather. Ask about indoor spaces that can be used if needed. Ask about additional fees, minimum set up time and other details in advance. A good backup plan is critical for an outdoor celebration.

Victoria Deardorff is the owner and editor of Pittsburgh’s wedding blog, Burgh Brides ( Look for her “Ask the Expert” column in each semi-annual issue of Pittsburgh Magazine Weddings.

Categories: Bridal Buzz, Weddings