Let’s face it, picking a wedding venue is stressful! It can easily get overwhelming. As a wedding photographer based on the Central Coast of California, there are a few hundred options.

From hotels to barns, to wineries, to estates, it can be a challenge to find the perfect space. However, I want to ease your mind with a guide to help you pick the perfect wedding venue.

Private Estate Wedding Venue in Santa Maria, California


#1: Know your TOTAL budget

Your venue cost should be no more than 40-50% of your total budget. If you end up overspending on just your venue, things like catering, florals, photography, and videography may need to be cut back.

#2: Make sure it matches YOUR style

For instance, don’t pick a rustic venue if you want a modern design. Don’t pick a super classy estate if you’re planning on wearing cowboy boots. By making your design and venue work together esthetically, the whole event will look flawless!

#3: Your guest count matters

How many guests do you want at your wedding?

50-75 people can fit in a lot more spaces than 300. Make sure the venues you are looking at can accommodate your max guest count.

#4: Find out what is included

Every single venue is different when it comes to what they include in their package.

Does it just include the space? Are tables and chairs included? If so, how many?

Does it include accommodations and for how many people? Is there a minimum food & beverage that needs to be a part of the quote (often for hotels)? Do you have to use their preferred vendors or can you pick and choose who you want to work with? What is the bathroom set up for your guests? How far apart are the spaces and events?

#5: DO NOT have your wedding on a Saturday

Oftentimes, a venue might provide a discount, have lower minimums on another day of the week. Most of these venues aren’t booked on the other days of the week and are happy to host another event if they can!


Don’t want to pay $10,000 or more for a venue? Think of alternatives. This is your day and you can go as non-traditional as you would like. You can rent an Airbnb, host it at someone’s private property, go to a state park, or the beach.

Looking for the perfect wedding venue in the San Luis Obisbo area? Check out: Romantic Wedding Venues in San Luis Obispo


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