Where-Oh-Where to Wed

Choosing a wedding venue can be a stressful decision, maybe not as life-altering as actually popping the question, but a decision of significance for the groom nonetheless. If youÍve followed convention when it came to asking her to be your wife, youÍve most likely already made challenging decisions about the perfect engagement ring and the ideal wedding date. Since itÍs typically the brideÍs thing to spend countless hours picking out the dress, flowers and other fussy touches, thereÍs not too much else for the guys do than pick out the perfect groomsmen gifts for their buddies and plan a respectable rehearsal dinner to bring the two families together. However, there is another important decision that the groom should be involved in, and that is helping to decide ñwhere to wed.î

When deciding on a wedding venue, it would be nice to have the bank account of a movie star. You could get hitched anywhere in the world and not have to worry about sparing any expense or detail For example, when Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner got married in 2005, they were able to seclude themselves in luxury at the Parrot Cay Resort in Turks and Caicos. It was an idyllic island wedding with a ñno flyî zone to keep the paparazzi helicopters away.

But, since most of us guys donÍt have those kind of deep pockets and wonÍt be hiding out from a throng of crazed fans (unless you have some past girlfriend stalkers), weÍre just typically looking for a nice, respectable place to host family and friends for a special event. There are plenty of places to hold a ceremony and reception, and with a little advance-planning, youÍll be able to book a venue that will impress all the future in-laws. Wedding ceremony and reception locations fall into a few categories, each with their own pluses and minuses.

Religious Venues:Many couples having a traditional wedding opt for securing a house of worship for their ceremony (with a reception often held elsewhere). Allow plenty of time to book a church or temple, because this can often be an ordeal if you are not already a member. I was fairly new to my city when I got married and hadnÍt yet established myself as part of a religious congregation, although I had been a member of a church elsewhere before I moved. While I was not required to become an official member of the church where I married, I was required to have a long-standing member vouch for me and also undergo a 6-week marriage class. While the financial expense was minor, the commitment was just greater than just booking a hotel ball room.

Outdoor Venues:Nature-centric couples always jump at the chance to have an outdoor wedding. If this sounds like itÍs for you, make sure you understand all the variables at play. As beautiful as it is, any outdoor space will require set-up and tear-down of chairs, tables, dance-floors, tents and the like. Serving food will be harder for the caterers without an indoor kitchen (although food trucks are becoming a trendy option). Also, donÍt forget about the biggest factor at play in an outdoor wedding, the weather! YouÍll need to be monitoring the forecast and have a back-up plan for any weather situations that go awry.

Hotels and Event Locations:The great thing about booking space at a hotel or event location is that they are extremely familiar with hosting wedding receptions; they will even allow you to have the ceremony on-site as well. This means that choices in d_cor, food, and music may all fall under the umbrella provided by the location rather than the bride and groom having to seek out each vendor individually. Many of these venues even have a designated employee to serve as the wedding planner, making the whole experience easier. Even ñpublicî places like museums, libraries and historic buildings are all often used as ceremony and reception spots. Make sure to scout out and secure your location early, many of the popular spots can be booked a year or more in advance.

Destination Locations:Do you dream of an exotic beach wedding or a snow-capped soiree? Destination weddings are becoming more popular as couples choose to combine the wedding ceremony, reception and honeymoon all into one spot. The drawbacks to this type of location can be the hassle of getting the guests there. Will you be footing the travel and hotel bills, or will they? You could consider the wedding attendantsÍ expenses part of a generous gesture in bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts. Yes, the tab can quickly add up, but if you are loaded like a Hollywood A-lister, why not enjoy this (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime experience.

If you could choose to get married anywhere and expense and logistics were of no consequence, what spot would you pick? From the swanky Plaza Hotel in New York City to your own backyard, we want to hear what you think in the comment section below.