Happy Wednesday! While I don't have any new sessions to share with all of you, I thought it would be fun to fill in the gaps between sessions with some wedding planning tips, photography tips, and maybe even some life tips and updates (from my personal life)! I'm excited to kick-start this first series - it's focused all on planning your wedding in such a way that there's no stress for you or anyone else on your planning committee!

This week, we're going to talk about finding your perfect wedding venue. This is honestly one of the most important decisions you'll have to make, because your wedding venue is going to set the tone for your entire day. Whether you plan on having a themed wedding or not - It's important to find a venue that not only fits you and your fiance financially, but also needs to fit your vision for your day. There's nothing worse than looking back at your wedding day, and not loving it as much as you could have because you didn't get the venue that fits your style.

Pinterest can have some pretty great ideas for wedding venues - if you type in "rustic Chicago wedding venues" for instance, you'll get a feed full of barn-styled venues around the Chicagoland area that you can take a deeper dive into, to determine if your dream venue is within view!

You also want to make sure you have a rough idea of how many guests you'll invite. You don't necessarily need to have your guest list created - you just need to know an estimate of how many people you plan to invite. Most venues have a capacity, and the last thing you'll want to do is book a wedding venue that falls in line with your vision but can't accommodate your guest list. Make sure you research - either online or by going on venue tours - what the venue's max capacity is, and take note!

While you want to book a venue that fits your vision and style, you still want to be mindful of your wedding budget. Venues aren't cheap - and a lot of venues don't come with everything included. Decor and Floral arrangements will make a decent dent in your pocket as it is - so make sure you don't spend everything on renting out your space. You'll want to know how much your total budget is for the wedding, and approximately how much it will cost to have your decor and florals created. If adding the decor and the venue rental causes you to go over budget, you may need to either cut back on your design or find another affordable rental. I'll go more into planning out your wedding budget in a later blog, however, it's super helpful if you break down your budget by category. (e.g.: Venue, Photographer, Videographer, Floral, DJ, Decor, Bakery, etc.).

At the end of the day, you want to make sure you're staying true to yourselves. You don't want to break your bank by putting yourself in debt for one day. Instead, remember the reason why you're getting married. While it may be tempting to create a Pinterest-worthy wedding, you don't need that, if it's not obtainable. Sit down with your fiance (and any other contributors who are helping pay for your wedding) decide what's important, and then plan your wedding from there. Regardless of what you choose and design, your wedding will be perfect for the two of you, and that's all that matters!

Tune in next week to hear what vendor you should book after you've secured your wedding venue!