Part of the excitement of getting engaged is starting the wedding planning process. Whether you have attended wedding fairs, trawled Pinterest for inspiration, or have simply always had your dream wedding in mind, one of the first things all couples will need to do is select and book their desired venue. It is only natural to have some questions regarding the timeline of the planning process – I had so many – particularly about our venue and when we should aim to book our wedding. I researched the topic of booking our venue extensively, and this is what I have found.
So, how far in advance do you book your wedding venue? It is typically advised that couples should aim to book their wedding venue around a year in advance of their big day. However, this can depend on the time of year, the venue’s popularity, and desired length of engagement. For example, summer weddings tend to be more popular so booking for your ideal date may need to be done a little more in advance than a year.
My fiancé (I cannot get over typing that!) booked our wedding venue around 18 months prior to our big day – and the count down is well and truly on!
Having a specific date in mind, we wanted to secure our booking at our first-choice venue, hence why we booked earlier than most couples might choose to.
There are many factors that might contribute to how far in advance of your big day should you book your venue, including time of year, guests, budget, preference of day of the week – the list goes on and on!
There are many anecdotes on Bridal forums of wedding venues being booked up years in advance, but let me reassure you, this is rarely the case.
Perhaps having a conversation with your significant other and narrowing down exactly what you want from your dream venue is the best place to start – that is most certainly what worked for us.
Having looked around a few venues (I’ll admit – mostly just for the thrill of it, having just got engaged), we booked our dream venue without hesitation a year and a half in advance of our big day.
This was earlier than either of us had originally planned, but surprisingly this early decision came with a few added benefits.
One of the benefits of booking our venue more than a year in advance was the ability it gave us to budget and pay for our venue over a longer period of time. We are paying for the wedding ourselves, so that was very appealing to us!
Another benefit of an early booking in terms of your venue is the extended timing for planning and preparations – we have been able to secure most of our vendors already.
And I must admit, it feels good knowing that we could turn up on the day a year from now and something that roughly resembles a wedding would be in place!
(We are obviously going to obsess over the finer details nearer the time – and don’t worry – we’ll share those with you too!)
However, in total contrast to our early booking, friends of ours who are getting married in July booked their venue only last month – a few months in advance of their wedding day.
They could only choose a date that their venue had availability for this little in advance, but our lovely friends had no preference of date, so that worked well for them!
Although it can be different for some couples, booking your venue a year in advance of your wedding date is generally advised.
This is because there are some key factors that all couples should bear in mind to avoid disappointment, stress, and disaster on their wedding day.
How Far In Advance Should You Book A Wedding Venue?
Couples should aim to book their wedding venue around a year in advance of their big day.
There are a number of different reasons why it is generally advised that couples book their venue this far in advance.
Organizing your wedding suppliers is another consideration you will need to make, and knowing what your venue can provide is essential.
Giving yourselves a year or more to organize vendors such as caterers, florists, hair and make-up artists, a DJ, etc. might seem like a long time.
But trust me, allowing plenty of time for this will undoubtedly alleviate pre-wedding stress as your date draws closer.
If a wedding supplier – for example, a caterer – is particularly popular, booking them well in advance of your big day is really important too.
Particularly if you are planning on getting married in the popular Spring/Summer months.
It is likely your venue will recommend suppliers to you, so booking your venue in advance will allow you to select and book your chosen vendors and not risk them already being booked.
Another reason that couples might choose to book a year or more in advance of their chosen wedding date is to secure the date of their dreams!
Saturdays are the most popular day of the week to get married, and these days tend to get booked by couples’ way in advance.
If you have a particular preference of day – we suggest that you book sooner rather than later because you just never know who else might be looking.
It does depend on the popularity of your chosen venue; if you are at all unsure about availability and when to book, reach out to their admin team to enquire, they will be more than happy to assist with venue-specific advice and guidance.
We are getting married the day before my birthday – on a Friday.
As soon as we got engaged, we had that date in mind.
So when looking for prospective venues, our ideal date was most definitely a consideration.
If that is the same for you, then there is no harm in booking over a year in advance.
You may be wondering how far in advance is too far in advance – looking at the availability on our venues calendar; there are weddings being booked already for 2024!
I did some additional research on just how far in advance couples can book their wedding venue – read on to discover what I found!
How Far In Advance Can You Book A Wedding Venue?
Depending on your venue, it is not uncommon for couples to book up to three years before their wedding day, particularly for Saturdays in the summer months. However, this is likely to differ from venue to venue, with some wedding venues only taking bookings up to a year and a half in advance.
How far in advance couples should book their venue also depends on a number of different (sometimes quite personal) factors.
Things that couples should consider when seeking to book their venue in advance include:
- Budget – will you need to save for your wedding?
- Family – are you planning on having children before getting married?
- Length of engagement – do you want a longer engagement?
To list but a few.
Booking your venue years in advance of your big day will undoubtedly give couples more time to plan for their wedding and save money, but there are also some considerations couples should make too – including whether or not they are likely to change their mind about the venue!
It sounds crazy, but booking a venue more than a year in advance can mean, for some couples, that their excitement is drawn out for longer, and the whole experience is magical for a couple of years rather than just a few months.
However, for other couples, there are risks of booking too far in advance.
It might mean that they get bored of the venue, change their mind about the style of wedding they would like, or even become a little bit complacent and don’t put as much effort into the planning and preparations.
We are by no means saying that is true for all weddings booked years in advance – instead, we urge couples to consider this before committing to booking and paying a deposit more than, say, two years in advance.
If there is something specific you as a couple have in mind for your wedding venue, for example, a specific date, provisionally booking, or even confirming the booking of your venue is advisable as early as possible.
Do You Pick A Wedding Date Or Venue First?
Couples can choose their wedding date or their venue first – there is no hard and fast rule regarding this. Although, it is advisable that couples have potential wedding dates in mind or at least a time of year in mind when booking their venue.
Some couples will choose their wedding venue based on the availability of their chosen date, whilst others may select their venue and then choose their date based on the prices and availability of their venue.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to whether to choose your wedding date or venue first.
If there is a particular venue that captivates you and is the venue of your dreams, book a tour and enquire about their availability.
It could be that your wedding date can be booked on a date you already had in mind, or it could be that you book based on the pricing and availability of the venue.
Typically, weekday prices (Monday to Thursday) are cheaper than Fridays or weekends, so if the budget is a consideration of yours, then this might be a factor in choosing your wedding date.
If you have a particular date in a particular month in mind, couples will potentially have to be a little more on the ball when it comes to securing their booking in advance.
That or be a little more flexible with their venue choice.
Deciding on your dream venue can seem overwhelming – there are so many beautiful ones to choose from!
As a couple, there are certain things that you will need to consider.
How Do I Decide On A Wedding Venue?
Couples should decide on their wedding venue based on what the venue can provide for their big day. It is advised that couples consider the size of their wedding party, budget, location, ceremony arrangements (i.e., where it is in relation to the Church or other Religious venue where the ceremony will be held or whether you can hold your service there), approved list of caterers, whether or not you will have sole use of the venue and accommodation prior to booking their wedding venue.
There are many factors to consider when booking your dream wedding venue.
There are likely to be key factors to consider for each couple personally, so there will be pros and cons based on your particular preferences and requirements for your wedding.
Think carefully about the capacity (number of people who can attend your wedding) of your venue.
If your venue can hold 450 people, but you only plan on inviting 100 people, or so, it is likely that the venue will feel too sparse on your big day.
Booking a venue that caters perfectly to your guest list is often a great consideration to make.
If you are unsure about this, we would always suggest speaking to your venue – it could be that larger venues can be made to feel more intimate for a smaller wedding party – but this is something that your will need to discuss with your venue.
Budget is another element that couples should take into consideration when booking their wedding venue.
We were shocked that the cost of our venue was so high in comparison to others however when we enquired, we found that a lot more for our money was offered in terms of the accommodation, bar, and catering!
Personally, I don’t think there is a benefit to blowing your budget on the venue alone and then not being able to afford the finishing touches like flowers, décor, food, hair, and make-up.
All of which will really make your wedding day special and personal to you – but hey – that’s just my opinion!
Each to their own.
The location of your venue is also something to consider.
If you are holding your ceremony at another location – an hour drive to get to the venue might put a bit of a dampener on your day!
Select a venue that will fit perfectly with the timeline of your wedding day.
Accommodation – either on-site of your venue or nearby should be another thing couples think about when choosing your venue, mainly if you are asking your guest to travel quite far to attend.
We would recommend coming up with a list of everything you would ideally want your venue to have or be on your wedding day.
Perhaps as a couple, sit down and do this together before you begin your search!
When you have found venues that are within budget and look amazing – book a viewing!
It is likely that your selected venues will have a dedicated wedding team who will be able to coordinate your day and provide advice and guidance about what they can offer.
Planning your wedding is an exciting time and finding the perfect venue is so important.
When you think you’ve found it, don’t hesitate to book.
And then, you’ll soon be booking your honeymoon!
Read my other wedding venue guides:
- What To Wear To A Wedding Venue Tour [The Right Outfit Is..]
- How Long Do Wedding Venue Tours Take [And What to Expect]
- Can You Negotiate Wedding Venue Prices? [How Much Is Too Much?]
- Who Decorates The Wedding Venue? [And Provides The Decor?]
- How Much To Tip Wedding Venue Coordinator [The Expectation]
Hey, I’m Allison – a bride-to-be and the chief editor here at Everlasting Occasion. Here I document all the knowledge and experience I have accumulated since researching for my wedding over two years ago. I try to answer those many questions couples have when planning their dream wedding.