By Elizabeth Slagel
Owner, Weymouth Hill Event Venue
There seems to be this post proposal frenzy once engagement photos are done and your
greater circle officially knows you are betrothed. Engagement high quickly turns into “there’s
so much to plan” phase.
For the detail-oriented, Pinterest pinning-type, the foundation is there for a directional
planning path forward. For the other two-thirds, the overwhelming flood of latest trends,
influencers and style guides leave a cloud of confusion over what a bride and her significant
other really want for their wedding.
Relax. Take a step back. You have a budget and date in mind and perhaps already know who
would be a “lit” D.J. or capture your day perfectly behind the camera lens.
So why is the next step so hard?
It’s because you need direction. The problem is many couples don’t take the time to decide on
what their style is before diving head-first into the planning process. We see this often as
venue owners. There’s a budget and date, but the couple doesn’t know what they want.
The easiest planned weddings come from couples who think outside the box, by taking a closer
look at the box they fit inside. Sound confusing? It’s not, really. A couple in the D.C. area were
undeniable academics. She was a university professor, and he was a philosophical
commentator and writer. When his mother gave me the play-by-play of the wedding, it could
not have been more perfect. They were, of course, married in their favorite bookstore and
reception was in a museum/estate. All the floral, was not floral at all. It was decoupaged
make-shift roses from the pages of his and her favorite novels.
Okay, so not everyone’s style may be that obvious. However, your venue choice is the first
landmark step in deciding the direction of your wedding style.
True most venues are somewhat versatile spaces that can be transformed by theme, but a
unique space can be a ready-made canvas to a well-defined event.
The most important is to choose a venue in which you as a couple feel most comfortable.
Dozens of couples tour our venue, Weymouth Hill, every month. It can easily be spotted who
feels at home and who might not. This is hardly offensive. It’s simply a matter of preference.
One young man who kept expressing he had no preference in wedding planning perked up
when I mentioned sitting on hay bales at a nearby rustic barn venue.
I could tell he needed to be touring that venue and not a countryside estate venue. That’s okay
too. Couples should tour a variety of venues to find the one that feels right to them.
With so many wedding venues to choose from these days, that can be overwhelming. Here are
some places to start when deciding what box you as a couple fit in:
1. Outdoor Garden: That’s easy. Focus your search on area gardens or parks or a family
farm. Of course, be ready for rain plans and to handle the logistics of an outdoor only
affair, which will require more prep for food and beverage service and the need for
2. Regal affair: Your wedding venue search could include a historic hotel or bed and
breakfast or a long-established country club. However, don’t overlook a venue with a
beautiful setting that can be parred up with the finery of crystal and china or a valet
3. Rustic and earthy: You’re in luck. Barn venues are popping up everywhere and take out
a lot of the pretense of sports coat required establishments but can be equally stunning
events. They are the current trend and offer generally lower rates with lower overhead
4. Classic wedding: Don’t give up the chapel. Lots of couples maintain the desire to marry
in their hometown church or a visiting church with celestial, timeless grandeur. Of
course, this narrows down your search for reception only where banquet halls seem to
fit the bill, but that doesn’t mean the beautiful wedding venue on your radar is a no-go.
It just may cost you a bit more as their livelihood is full day wedding packages. See if
they will work with you on reception only prices.
5. Enchanting or storybook: This can be a forested park or any other heavily wooded
setting. If you were in Europe it could be a castle or manor, but in this country, look for
private estates with land that offer a similar feeling of a countryside manor. They offer
privacy and seclusion to your guests.
6. Hip and urban: The young professionals who live in loft apartments come to mind. Look
at converted industrial spaces, museums or conservatories. They usually offer large airy
spaces and have that more modern feel.
7. Eclectic: When none of the above entice a couple, expand the search to breweries,
distilleries, or an aquarium. Like the D.C. couple, think about what you both love. It
could be as perfect as a Harley Davidson shop, sports complex, coffee shop, antique mall
or comic bookstore.
When you find that perfect venue, the rest will fall into place.