How to Choose a Wedding Venue

Updated: Mar 29

Engagement season is upon us! Did you know that 40 percent of engagements occur between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, with Christmas Day being the most popular (according to Wedding Wire)? If you got a sparkly gift this holiday season, you probably started researching wedding venues in the area, or lets be honest, you've already got a list going of your favorite wedding venues in New Jersey and beyond 😏

Photo: Pivko Photography

Finding a wedding venue that you vibe with, fits your budget, and meets all of your wants and needs is super important. Keep the following points in mind when searching for your dream wedding venue!

Guest List

Sit down with your fiancé and get an idea of what your guest count will look like. From there, you can filter your wedding venue search with capacities that match your guest count. Waterfront wedding venue, Rock Island Lake Club in Sparta, NJ has a max capacity of about 195 people.


Do you like traditional New Jersey ballrooms with lots of big crystal chandeliers, or do you prefer a non-traditional ballroom that you can use as a blank canvas? Do you envision getting married under a tent or having indoor and outdoor options? Is modern, boho, classy, nautical, outdoorsy, or rustic your theme? Find a space that you feel at home and you.


Have an idea of what kind of budget you are willing to work with for your wedding. Since the venue is often the first decision a couple will make, knowing this cost early on allows you to figure out how to divvy up the remaining budget to meet your needs. Do be prepared to possibly go over your budget, as couples often underestimate the cost of products and services. 40% of increased budgets are due to couples admitting they set a lower budget than what was realistic. 54% of couples increase their budget during planning, with 45% allocating additional funds to wedding items they fell in love with along the way (source: WeddingWire). Once you have your number in mind, narrow down the wedding venues that align with your goal.

Location + Accommodations

Do you want a destination wedding or do you envision getting married in your hometown? Whatever you decide, your guests who are traveling will still need a place to stay. Explore the area to see if there are any hotels or Airbnbs near your potential wedding venue. There are 3 hotels within 15 miles of Rock Island Lake Club for guests to stay in.


Not only should you find a venue you vibe with, but you should also find a team that you vibe with. You'll be working very closely with your wedding venue through the entire planning process and the day of your wedding, so make sure you feel comfortable with the staff. On the day of your wedding, you shouldn't have a worry in the world, and you and your guest should feel like royalty!

Other points to consider when searching for your dream venue:

Does the venue offer wedding planning and day-of coordination? Are there back up options if there is inclement weather?

Take a look at the venue's reviews!

All-inclusive or a lot of DIY and BYO?

Is there a curfew or noise restrictions?

Do they host more than one wedding a day? (Rock Island hosts only one wedding a day)!

What time of year do you want to get married?

Are there any hidden fees? Don't forget to ask if the quoted price includes sales tax, service charge, and gratuity.

Your wedding venue will become your home away from home on your wedding day. Find a venue that you love with a team that you feel comfortable with. Congratulations on your engagement and enjoy the wedding planning process!

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