Finding the Perfect Central Coast Wedding Venue
San Luis Obispo + Santa Barbara County
From lush gardens to rolling vineyards, rustic barns to expansive estates, luxury hotels to elegant restaurants, golf courses to community centers – and everything in between; there is certainly a Central Coast Wedding Venue for every taste and budget, but how do you go about choosing the right one when the options are so extensive? With insight from Kramer Events Coordinators, as well as some of our married and engaged team members who have been through the process, we have compiled a list of important questions to ask when selecting a location for your wedding day.
- Whats your Budget?
Before beginning your search, it’s best to have a draft budget prepared so you can focus your research efforts on venues that are feasible. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a venue before knowing what your budget is, as doing so will set you up for disappointment. You should plan to spend about 40-50% of your entire wedding budget on your venue, but there are some loopholes you can explore to save money up front.
- Do you want an all-inclusive venue?
There are some really great benefits to finding a venue that is all-inclusive, meaning they provide you with all or most of the things you will need to make your wedding day successful. Such a venue may seem to cost more up front when compared with non-inclusive venues, however, having the venue provide things like tables, chairs, and flatware can eliminate costly vendor expenses all together so it may be a better option in the long run. Seasoned wedding coordinator, Bri Cormier advises,
“All inclusive venues can save money, but you need to check the condition of the items they have available for use.”
If you find an all-inclusive venue but do not like the style of something they offer, speak with the venue manager about their flexibility when it comes to bringing on other vendors.
- How many guests do you anticipate having?
The second most important question to ask after you have determined your budget is how many guests will you be inviting to your wedding? It’s a good idea to have this discussion with your spouse, as well as your parents and theirs, as its common for you all to have a different invite list. When searching for a venue based on your guest list size, be sure to clarify that you want to know how many people can comfortably fit on the location, as you do not want your guests to feel uneasy in an overly packed venue space. Just because a venue says 150 people can fit, does not mean they should.
- What time of year are you getting married?
This is another vital question to ask as the weather will vary based on the time of year you are getting married and you must take that into account when deciding on an outdoor vs. indoor wedding venue. You may be stoked to find a beautiful outdoor venue at low cost, only to be hit with a huge expense for tents and outdoor heating if the weather takes a turn for the worse. Be prepared for the worst-case scenario, and if rain is a concern of yours check out a previous Kramer Buzz Blog post – What to Do if it Rains on Your Wedding Day.
- Does the venue have any restrictions?
Before locking in a venue for your wedding day, another key question to ask is whether or not the venue has any specific restrictions. If you know you’re going to have a lively party during the reception, you probably wouldn’t benefit from a venue that has noise restrictions and/or closes early. Similarly, some venues only allow vendors from a specific list to be apart of events at their facility. It’s important to know all of these things up front so you do not end up in a stressful situation further in the planning process.
- Are there lodging options nearby?
This is particularly relevant if you are having a destination wedding or if many of your guests will be traveling to attend your wedding. San Luis Obispo County has many options when it comes to wedding venues that also provide lodging and other accommodations for the couple and their guests.
- Will transportation be an issue?
Maybe you found the perfect venue that fits all your criteria and is within your budget but it is far out in wine country and requires driving on windy roads to get there. You do not want your guests to be stuck without transportation after they have been drinking at your reception so a professional transportation service may be needed. This can provide great convenience for you and your guests but you will need to be prepared for the costs of shutting people to and from.
- Whats the overall style/vibe you want for your wedding?
All practicality aside, your wedding day is one of the most important days in your life and you want to make sure it is everything you dream it will be. Kramer Events sales associate Melissa Kramer gives her input,
“My advice to our couples is once you have your top 3 venues in mind that fit within your price range, to go tour them. Once you’re onsite, close your eyes and imagine it’s your wedding day. Ask yourself, can you envision the entire day at that venue? Does it give you butterflies and put a big smile on your face or do you feel like you’d be settling? DON’T SETTLE!”
Choosing a Central Coast Wedding Venue is quite an event, so be ready to break out those budgeting plans, spreadsheets, and pro/con lists or when in doubt, leave it to the pros and book a Kramer Events Wedding Coordinator to help take the stress out of the process. Also, be sure to check out our free resource, Central Coast Wedding Venues, which was designed as a helpful tool for those planning a wedding in San Luis Obispo County.