Trying to find the perfect summer wedding venue for your best day ever?
Summer is an amazing time to host your wedding! The days are long, the weather is fab, and everyone has a carefree outlook on life. It’s one of the few seasons where you’ll have your pick of fresh ingredients for your wedding menu, amazing tropical florals, and outdoor wedding venues! And choosing a wedding venue is the biggest decision you’ll have from that list.
Your summer wedding venue will also consume anywhere from 30%-50% of your total wedding budget! The variance in the exact percentage will depend on whether your venue offers in-house catering. Lastly, booking your summer wedding venue officially solidifies the day of your wedding! From there you can begin hiring your other vendors and preparing your invitations. It feels like a huge decision to make, right? How do you know what to look for when you’re researching summer wedding venues? We’re breaking it all down for you, in the blog below!
If you want to save precious time during your summer wedding and be able to attend the fab cocktail hour you’ve been dreaming up, finding a summer wedding venue with gorgeous grounds is a must! The weather will be amazing so it’s the perfect opportunity to shoot your wedding portraits outside, at the venue. This eliminates having to leave your ceremony to drive to your portrait location to drive back to your reception. All the while missing out on your cocktail hour!
When you start touring summer wedding venues on your “maybe” list, you want to check the grounds, the views, and the backdrops to see if you could imagine your once-in-a-lifetime wedding portraits being shot there!
By far, one of the biggest benefits to having a summer wedding is the ability to host your guests outdoors for your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. But, you need a venue that has dedicated spaces to accommodate each of those unique celebrations.
This can work in one of two ways! Essentially, what you’re looking for here is called a multi-location venue. It’s exactly what it sounds like. A wedding venue with multiple locations, on its property, that can accommodate each portion of your day with a unique space. Or, a venue with at least two of these locations and the option to have your ceremony space flipped to your reception space while your guests are enjoying those fab drinks during your summer cocktail hour!
The second thing you’ll need out of your multi-location summer venue is exclusive use of the venue, more on that below. This will allow you & your guests to be fully immersed in the experience of your wedding while avoiding any space flip faux pas.
Inside of that, you want to look even deeper at the spaces available to see if they can accommodate the type of seating you are planning on having. If you’re looking to set up long rows of family-style seating, does the venue have the adequate amount of space needed to fit the number of tables required for your guests? All while allowing space for your guests to move around freely, push out their chairs or get up and mingle with their new friends at an opposing table!
Large-scale hotels and big multi-location events and ballrooms will have multiple weddings and events happening simultaneously. While we’re not saying it’s not out of the question for your wedding. But, it’s certainly not ideal for creating a fully immersive wedding experience. Depending on where your guests are seated, they may be able to hear the music or celebrations going on in the next function room. And, there will more than likely be a common area outside of your event room where the washrooms are located. So you’ll be bumping into other couples, birthday parties, retirees, and maybe even baptisms. When you look at it in that light, it doesn’t provide the exclusive tucked-away private feeling you need to shut the rest of the world off and be fully present and immersed in your wedding day.
A summer wedding venue that provides exclusive use of their property on your wedding day, will erase all of those worries! Exclusive wedding venues tend to book up a bit further in advance than your run-of-the-mill event centers so keep that in mind when you begin the planning process. However, what they’ll give you in return is a top-notch experience with a dedicated team who will work to your vision & specifications. As opposed to function halls that are focused on filling up hourly blocks.
What’s the Vibe?
The vibe of your wedding venue will 100% affect every aspect of your day and needs to connect to your overall vision. Not sure what we mean? Here are a few examples!
We love to look at experience-based weddings with a vibe and energy all their own. A boutique hotel is a fab way to have an amazing summer wedding experience. Because they are not a big corporate chain, they are focused on catering specifically to you. Not filling event rooms A, B, or C, as a large-scale hotel would.
Boutique Hotel Venue We Love: THēsis Hotel Miami
Historic Mansion with Formal Gardens
These venues are built for couples looking to host black tie, formal, or cocktail attire weddings. Couples who want to combine old-world tradition with some modern-day flair. They are amazing choices for all-in-one venues with ceremonies in the gardens, tented receptions, or receptions inside their formal ballrooms. Historic mansions, estates, and villas, also typically offer exclusive use of their venue so you don’t have to worry about another wedding happening at the same exact time as yours!
Historic Mansion Venue We Love: Cedarwood in Nashville
Getting married in the sand with a no-shoes required type vibe is not exactly a black tie. A summer wedding on the beach means you’ll be dealing with sand and wind in your hair. Also, depending on the setup of the particular venue, they may only offer a tented reception. A fab wedding at a luxe beach resort can still be elegant. But you can see how the vibe is totally different than that of a historic mansion. A beach resort offers a more laid-back vibe with the opportunity to finish off the night by running into the ocean!
Beach Resort Venue We Love: Amara Cay Resort in Key Largo
A venue with views of the lake conjures up images of cafe lighting, lawn games, and a cool nighttime breeze hanging over your al fresco dance floor. Lakeside venues are made for whimsical weddings full of cocktails and vibrant decor! The grounds of a lakeside venue are amazing for your wedding portraits and will provide all the space needed to bring in the amazing food truck vendors of your dreams.
Lakeside Wedding Venue We Love: The Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa in Washington
A summer wedding at a winery is unrivaled outdoor ambiance, fabulous farm-to-table dining, and elegant rustic charm! Fun fact, there are only 5 wineries in Napa Valley that are legally authorized to host weddings due to the protections of the agriculture of winemaking. We’ve listed one of our faves below!
Winery Wedding Venue We Love: Berringer Vineyards in Napa
The age-old question when planning a summer wedding. Should you find a wedding venue with in-house catering, or should you find a venue that will allow you to hire and bring in your own caterer? Of course, there are pros and cons to both. Here are the biggest considerations to make when searching for a summer wedding venue with in-house catering.
- There will be a full kitchen in-house which means the food will be fresh
- The in-house kitchen staff will be able to caterer to guests with any dietary restrictions
- The menu options may be limited
- The kitchen & waitstaff work for the venue, not as a direct hire by you & your partner
Hiring a caterer
- You can design your wedding menu to match the unique vision of your day
- Your caterer will be working for you, not the venue
- The food may be prepared off-site
- Off-site preparation may not allow for any special requests or last-minute needs
- Your caterer of choice might not be on your venue’s preferred vendor list
The last thing to consider when searching for a summer wedding venue is the noise ordinance. Hosting your wedding completely outdoors comes with the very real added layer of maneuvering noise ordinances. The noise ordinance for the venue, or the area that the venue is located in will dictate what time the music has to stop. Dealing with an imposed noise ordinance will also pretty much dictate the timeline of your wedding because you’ll have a hard stopping point. Not exactly ideal if you’re going for a dance all-night kind of vibe.
Want to avoid venues with a noise ordinance in place? You’ll be looking for a venue tucked away from any local residents. Venues that have acres & acres of grounds will not have to comply with a local noise ordinance because they are tucked away.
If you’ve fallen in love with a summer wedding venue that does have a noise ordinance to comply with there are a few ways to keep the party going. The first is to transition to an afterparty inside the venue (again, important to look for a multi-location wedding venue!). The second is to transition to an afterparty off-site.