Picking your wedding venue is such an important decision. You need a wedding venue that you love aesthetically, but you also need a venue that fits your wedding day needs! We highly recommend hiring your wedding planner first, as the planner can assist you with finding the perfect venue to match your vision, budget, and guest needs.
As planners in Northern California, we are experts at how to pick the right venue. We help our clients navigate all of the choices and help them select the one that fits their vision! Since we have planned events at most venues in this area, we know exactly what to look for and create layouts for every need.
When it comes to picking your wedding venue in Northern California, you'll want to keep a few things in mind!
How to Pick Your Wedding Venue
When selecting a venue, consider the following questions:
1. Does it accommodate ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing?
You might choose to have your ceremony venue and your reception venue be different, but it's important to understand what each venue can do for you. If you want to do everything at the same venue, be sure to ask if your entire event can be held on site. This includes having space for all of your events, as well as what rental items you might need.
2. Is there a "Plan B" option in case of inclement weather?
If you want an outdoor event, you'll need to make sure you're covered in case of less-than-ideal weather. Check with the venue if you can move the event inside if need be or if you can put a tent on the property! As wedding planners, we make sure that all of our couples have a Plan B for their event.
3. Are there other events going on at the same time on the property?
This is something that may or may not concern you. Some venues hold multiple events on the same day, which often means signs pointing guests to the correct wedding and sharing restrooms. If this concerns you, be sure to pick a venue that only holds one event a day!
4. Do you need accommodations on site for overnight, getting ready, rehearsal dinner, and farewell brunch?
You might decide to do some of these things elsewhere, but it's important to know upfront what your venue can accommodate. It might be easier (and cheaper) to go with a venue where you can do everything you need on-site. It also allows for easier transportation if all of the events can happen on the same property.
5. How is the accessibility for your guests regarding driving or shuttles, parking, ADA accessibility, and ease of walking on site?
In general, you want to make sure your venue is easily accessible to everyone, but this is particularly true if you have guests with disabilities. You'll want to make sure the venue can accommodate those guests. You’ll also want to understand the parking situation, so you can easily schedule any necessary transportation.
6. What are the restrictions regarding alcohol, sound, live music, and vendors not on the preferred list?
These are all things you need to be aware of in order to plan your wedding properly. Check with your potential wedding venue to see if they have any policies in place and see if any of those policies don't work for you. For example, if you have your heart set on a photographer but need to choose from a preferred vendor list, you might need to go elsewhere. Another thing to ask is how late your wedding can go. If you are dreaming of a late-night affair, make sure the venue has late-night hours.
7. Do additional restrooms need to be brought in?
This is an important detail that people tend to forget. You need to make sure you have enough bathrooms for your guests. The last thing you want is a long line to the bathroom!
8. Is there enough space for your projected guest count?
It's crucial that your venue can accommodate the number of people you're thinking of inviting. And it's just as essential to make sure it's not too crowded! If your venue holds 200 guests seated, and you want 200 guests and a lounge, large dance floor, and multiple bars, your venue might not be able to accommodate guests and rentals. That is another reason why you should have your wedding planner help you select your venue. As planners, we can let you know if your layouts and design details and guest count can fit within the space.
9. Is the space open to the public?
If you decide to have your wedding in a place that is open to the public, you might have guests that you didn't invite. Even if this doesn't concern you, it's good to know what the rules are!
10. How is the general ambient noise level on site?
If there's a lot of noise around, like traffic noise, that might upset your big day. So, be sure to pay attention to the general noise level when you visit. This is particularly important for your ceremony. If you are dreaming of an outdoor ceremony, make sure that it is a quiet space.
Our Favorite Wedding Venues in Northern California
Park Winters is an ideal venue! It's quiet, and it has absolutely gorgeous grounds. Plus, it has a lot of areas to choose from with indoor and outdoor options. Park Winters even has great overnight and getting-ready spaces. Not to mention, there's the delicious food with ingredients sourced from their own farm and a quality bar! This amazing country estate also has the most attentive and caring staff. Plus, it's even an easy drive to hotels and the airport, and it's not far from Sacramento, Napa, Sonoma, San Francisco, and Tahoe. We love doing weddings at Park Winters!
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn
This amazing wedding venue also offers Sonoma Golf Club as a secluded venue option just a couple of miles away. The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn has a hotel, spa, and restaurant on site, as well as indoor and outdoor options for your wedding. The Inn has a high level of service, an amazing bar, and delicious food. It's close to many wineries in the Sonoma Valley and an easy drive to Napa Valley and San Francisco. Plus, it has a new after party location available on site, as well as options for rehearsal dinner and farewell brunch.
Hiring your wedding planner before you pick your venue means you have help picking out that perfect location. We love helping our couples pull together their ideal wedding. Reach out to us, and we can help you find that amazing wedding venue in Northern California that's just right for your big day!
Park Winters Wedding Vendors
Photography | Milou + Olin
Planning, Design, Production & Officiant | Tan Weddings & Events
Venue, Catering, Bar & Accommodations | Park Winters
Florals | Flower Mama for The Pollen Mill
DJ | Function 45
HMUA | Christi Reynolds Beauty
Cake | Palette Cakes
Videography | Phillip Alan Films
Ceremony Words | Wedwordy
Rentals | Blossom Farm Vintage Rentals
Signage & Paperie | Meredith Law Design
Linens | La Tavola Fine Linen
Transportation | Five Star Limo
Dress | Willowby Watters at Miosa Bride
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Wedding Vendors
Photography | The Edges
Planning, Design, Coordination & Officiant | Tan Weddings & Events
Ceremony Words | Wedwordy
Catering, Bar & Cake | Fairmont Sonoma
Venue | Sonoma Golf Club
Band, String Quartet & MC | Vybe Society
Florals | Flourish Flowers
Rentals & Draping | Standard Party Rentals
Linens | La Tavola Fine Linen
Signage & Paperie | Arrow Art Studios
Transportation | Pure Luxury Transportation
Invitations | Minted
Dress | Enzoani from White Dress Bridal Boutique
Tux | Brooks Brothers Custom
Our 2022 Preferred Vendor list is in - check out these awesome creatives!
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