Should You Book Your Wedding Planner Or Venue First?

Wedding photo of bride and groom at the Atrium at Meadowlark in Vienna, VA

Already feeling decision fatigue at the beginning of your wedding planning journey? Don’t worry- this is where wedding planners shine! A wedding planner can help you navigate important choices like location, guest count, aesthetics, budget, and vendor selection and ensure no detail is left behind. 

Many engaged couples make the mistake of booking their wedding venue and other vendors before hiring a wedding planner. Wondering why this is a mistake?

Selecting a venue is an exciting part of wedding planning; however, it’s also where planners see couples make big and costly missteps. 

There are many factors to consider when choosing your perfect venue. It’s important to consider how critical factors such as the hours of venue access, contract details, or the cost of venue rentals will affect your wedding timeline, overall budget, and alignment with your wedding vision. 

Planners can point out important contract details that will impact your wedding day so you can fully see each venue’s benefits and limitations.

Wedding planners’ wealth of knowledge and experience are invaluable assets to help you make the best venue decision.

Let’s take a look at the top 3 reasons why you should choose your wedding planner before locking down your venue.

Compass Studios | The Atrium at Meadowlark, Vienna, VA

1. You’ll have expert insights.

Hiring a wedding planner before selecting a venue means that you will have a professional guiding you from the very beginning. 

Wedding planners have experience working with venues in your area and can provide you with curated venue lists based on your preferences and priorities. Touring venues can be time-consuming, and having a wedding planner can help you narrow down your search and spend time only on the most worthwhile prospects.  

You may be touring a beautiful outdoor venue on a sunny June day, but if you plan to get married in April, a wedding planner will help you consider what the venue will look like in case of rain. Or, let’s say you have some loved ones with mobility limitations; a wedding planner can aid you in factoring in ease of access by noting aspects such as stairs, ramps, and the overall size of ceremony and reception spaces.   If serving your favorite pizza on your wedding day is important to you, a wedding planner can help you avoid touring venues that don’t allow outside caterers. 

Hiring a wedding planner helps you brainstorm which elements of your wedding are most important to you so you have the best guidance possible when considering venues.

In addition to viewing venues through the lens of your priorities, wedding planners know what other factors to consider when looking at a venue, such as guest count. 

Guest count is a major factor that wedding planners help couples think about as it affects the venue search. 

For example, a wedding planner can help you realistically consider how much dance floor space is necessary based on the number of guests you’re envisioning. They can also share with you how guest count will affect the often-forgotten costs of venue rentals such as tables and chairs. 

By asking the right questions that may not be top of mind, a wedding planner makes your venue search easier and more budget-conscious.

Mike Sperlak Photography | The Alexandrian Old Town, Alexandria, VA

2. Your wedding vision will be more cohesive.

A wedding planner will be the first to point out how each planning choice affects other choices. Most noticeably, how each decision affects the overall budget. However, you should also consider how your choices will aesthetically come together. 

It’s common to be inundated with information and visually beautiful ideas, so a wedding planner will help you understand how all the pieces fit together. 

If you’re someone who tends to fall in love with a range of different wedding aesthetics, your wedding planner can help you think through questions like: Will your must-have ballroom gown fit with your vision for a lakeside ceremony? Is December the most suitable month for your wedding if your must-feature flower is a sunflower?

Or you may find that you’re just completely unsure where to start when imagining a wedding vision. 

Wedding planners can inspire you to weave aspects of your personalities and love story into your wedding day to create a clear wedding vision that you’re excited about (before you pay those non-refundable deposits).

Rob Jinks Photography | The River View at the Occoquan in Lorton, VA

3. You’re more likely to stick to your budget.

Creating a big-picture vision with a planner before securing a venue helps you envision your priorities and their estimated costs. Put simply, the venue is a big-ticket budget item. Putting together an informed budget with a wedding planner will help you understand how much you will want to spend on different categories based on your priorities. 

For example, if having a live band and excellent food are both important to you, you’ll want to budget more for these categories, which may impact your venue budget. You’ll want to avoid going “venue broke” by booking an expensive venue and not having the funds necessary to execute other important parts of your wedding vision.  

Wedding planners can help you make budget decisions by helping you prioritize your “must-haves” without overspending. 

Though every couple’s wedding planning journey is different, hiring a wedding planner can be advantageous. When you have a planner on your team, you’ll be able to confidently make decisions based on expert insights, stick to your budget, and create a wedding that showcases your individual style. 

If you’re interested in working with a professional planner who will seamlessly manage all of these planning details for you, reach out to us today to schedule a discovery call!

Jacqie Q Photography | VisArts in Rockville, MD

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Kristy Silva, Wedding Planner

Meet Kristy

Hey there! I grew up in the dry heat of Phoenix, AZ but now live in my favorite swamp, Washington D.C. My dream job? Owning a cat cafe. Just kidding (kind of). I’ve wanted to be a wedding planner for as long as I can remember. But not just any planner. The cis-heteronormativity of the wedding industry kind of gives me the ‘ick,’ so I’ve built a team to help all couples celebrate their love in a way that feels good to them. Not how society says ‘this is what a wedding should look like.

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