The Charlottesville Wedding Blog

Venue Spotlight

Which Type of Wedding Venue is Right for You?

If we had to pick just three wedding planning decisions that are highest in importance and difficulty, finding the dress, hiring the perfect wedding photographer, and choosing a wedding venue would instantly fall from our lips. But, arguably, the most challenging task from among those three is the last—researching, viewing, and finally booking just one wedding venue that fits your needs, budget, and what you envision for your big day. What complicates matters even further is when you have absolutely no idea which type of wedding venue you want or would be right for your upcoming celebration.

Often in the wedding world, the search for the wedding venue is presented as an easy choice and it always is made to appear that every bride knows exactly what kind of venue she wants. But this isn't true. Not every bride has been dreaming of her wedding day since she began playing with Barbies and not every bride can easily fit her style into a nicely wrapped box. So if you're starting out on your road to "I do" with not an inkling of an idea about what you want or need in a venue, don't think you're alone. We're here to help. We'll go ahead and say it: we don't have a magic answer for you because choosing your wedding venue is a very, very personal choice. However, we have put together a few statements for a few of the most popular wedding venue types that describe general characteristics of brides that might find themselves drawn to a venue of that style. If you find yourself nodding in agreement to most or all of the statements in a given set, then the corresponding venue is probably right for you! So without further ado, let's get to it.

    Hotel Wedding Venues

    Hotel wedding venues were made for the glamorous brides of the world. You can't convince us otherwise, especially when they often feature floor-to-ceiling luxury, delectable in-house catering, and a staff of helpful, knowledgeable experts who really know how to pull of an event with style. Then, throw in the fact that many hotel venues feature a ballroom and various other facilities to host soirees of any size and we're more than convinced that hotels are the perfect backdrops for brides who want it all—beautiful surroundings (hotels, inns, and resorts often have gorgeous grounds, so there's non-stop pretty indoors and out), convenient guest accommodations, and rentals, experts, and stunning ceremony/reception spaces all in one place.

    If the statements below speak to you, we'd bet a pretty penny that a hotel venue is just right for your glamorous, luxury-filled fête.

    You might be a hotel bride if...

    • you love modern and/or glamorous style wedding decor.
    • you want catering done on-site and in-house.
    • you love the idea of having an all-inclusive event.
    • you want to have a wedding that lasts all weekend long.
    • you want to easily supply guests with accommodations.
    • you are having a really big wedding.
    • you have your heart set on having a top-notch, ritzy reception.

    Country clubs are a close cousin to hotel wedding venues (minus the accommodations), so if you just can't seem to find a hotel that catches your eye, you can't go wrong with a magical celebration at a prestigious club! They often have the same special offers—on-site catering, personal coordinator, grand ballroom, etc.—and the rolling hills of the golf courses are spectacular for gorgeous outdoor photos, too.

    Barn Wedding Venues

    Usually set out in wide-open, rural areas, barn wedding venues are loved by rustic brides for many reasons. For starters, the views are often amazing and the barn gives a celebration a more laid-back feel that many brides enjoy. On top of that, there are so many options to choose from — whether the bride-to-be swoons for historic, fully-restored barns or brand-spanking-new barns full of fabulous amenities, such as built-in bars, plenty of restrooms, chandeliers, etc. Similar in terms of style to barn venues, ranches and farms also make fabulous choices for brides who dream of rustic weddings and the idea of having a celebration tucked away in the quiet countryside.

    So, if you're a gal who would rather throw on cowgirl boots rather than heels on any day of the week and who adores a backdrop that's a got some serious rustic flair, then check out this list below.

    You might be a barn bride if...

    • you love rustic/country/southern style wedding decor.
    • you appreciate "off-the-beaten-path" and natural environments.
    • you are willing to do whatever is needed to prepare for the weather.
    • you don't mind maybe having to book rentals, such as extra bathrooms, heaters or A/C units, etc.

    Modern Wedding Venues

    Brides come in many different packages—some brides can't imagine having a wedding day that lacks glamorous details while others feel sparkly decor is totally meant for someone else. And, either way, that's totally okay. A wedding day is all about honoring love and showing off the personality of the bride and groom. Modern wedding venues are one of our favorites because they can offer an interesting glimpse into the unique style of the couple. Like brides, they come in all different shapes and have many different styles! Whether a stunning art gallery in the middle of a bustling city or a converted cotton mill loft tucked away in an alley, these wedding venues are great for brides who love pretty-with-a-twist aesthetics, such as exposed brick walls or surrealist sculptures.

    If you're the sort of bride who often finds herself on the hunt for originality and wedding details that feel like "a breath of fresh air," then the average, run-of-the-mill venue probably isn't right for you. But, if you're looking for a backdrop that shines with creativity and non-standard beauty, then modern wedding venues were made with you in mind.

    You might be a modern bride if...

    • you love offbeat or "pretty with a twist" style wedding decor.
    • you love modern/urban/unique wedding decor.
    • you would rather spend a day in the city than a day in the country on most occasions.
    • you daydream about having wedding photos with amazing architectural backdrops.
    • you have your heart set on a more unique ceremony and reception setting.

    Estate Wedding Venues

    Big, grand homes (often filled with antiques and vintage decor) set amongst miles and miles of vibrant green lawns, gorgeous gardens, and countless picturesque views, historic estate venues are truly beautiful places to tie the knot. In the south, estate venues often come in the form of elegant antebellum homes and former plantations—perfect for a southern affair that's less rustic and more regal. However, in New England and northern states, you're more likely to find castles and historic mansions rather than the white, columned houses typical of the south. Either way, estate wedding venues are ideal for brides who love history and times past as much as they love breathtaking outdoor scenery. And did we mention that they create an amazing atmosphere for many wedding day styles? With so many gorgeous indoor and outdoor spaces, there are plenty of ways to make your vision come to life with architectural details of the estate home and the natural beauty of the great outdoors all around it.

    If you find yourself smiling, you should probably start booking estate tours today.

    You might be a historic estate bride if...

    • you love luxurious, glamorous style wedding decor.
    • you have your heart set on having pretty indoor and outdoor landscapes at your wedding.
    • you adore antiques and vintage homes.
    • you appreciate history.
    • you want access to indoor comforts (bathrooms, bridal suite, etc.) and outdoor backdrops.

    Backyard Wedding Venues

    There are definitely many ways you can add touches of personality to your wedding day, but one of our personal favorites for really showing off your uniqueness is by having your day at a truly one-of-a-kind place—your (or a friend or family member's) very own backyard. Great for setting a tone that's intimate and all about sharing really sweet, genuine memories with your friends and family, backyard weddings are perfect for brides who want their weddings to a be laid-back extension of themselves. When you host your big day at your home, you literally get the chance to open your doors and welcome your guests into your lives, into your love, and into your coming together. Plus, what could be more relaxing and special than getting ready in your own bedroom and creating special moments in a place where you can relive the memories without making a move?

    If you're looking for a causal, "we're-all-family-here" style wedding day, then you truly cannot have your day at a better spot than in your own backyard. If you think a magical, at-home wedding might be just the thing for you, browse the list we've put together below. Like we said in the intro, if you find yourself nodding your head in agreement with pretty much every item, then a cozy backyard celebration could be calling your name.

    You might be a backyard bride if...

    • you're dying to DIY.
    • you love the idea of having an intimate, family-oriented wedding day.
    • you are having a small wedding.
    • you are more of a laid-back, casual bride.
    • you love the outdoors.
    • you are okay with having to tent/book rentals for your celebration.
    • you are willing to do whatever is needed to prepare for the weather.

    Okay, so we're dying to know: which set of statements really made your heart go pitter-patter? Are you a glamour girl who is head over heels for hotel wedding venues? A rustic gal who fawns for barn weddings? A casual backyard wedding lover? Tell us below, and feel free to share your own experience choosing a wedding venue type that was right for you.

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