It was a unique dilemma when we set out to research local wedding venues: too many locations.

Choices abound in the area for those looking to tie the knot, and the variety can accommodate virtually any type of wedding reception, be it small, large, indoors or outdoors. The one thing that they all have in common? Book them early.

What are brides today looking for in a wedding venue?

“My primary focus was finding a venue that could hold everyone in one room,” said our cover model, 2017 bride Laura Haynes whose reception was held at Early Works Family of Museums. “I had been to so many weddings where the venue was broken up into different rooms, and I felt like half the guests didn’t get to partake in the reception activities, such as cake cutting, first dance, etc. We knew we were going to have a big guest list, and we wanted to be able to celebrate with everyone. Another huge factor was cost. The Huntsville market has some pretty expensive wedding venues but we wanted to put our money into experience instead. And the final reason, my dad said he wouldn’t help pay for the wedding if the reception wasn’t inside so that helped us make up our mind – June in Alabama.”

Huntsville Marriott’s Elizabeth High concurs.

“Brides are looking for that ‘wow’ factor,” High said. “This is their big day and we want to make sure that we create the vision that they are looking for.”

For 2020 bride Samantha Hill who is currently planning her wedding, the Roundhouse in downtown Huntsville checked off all boxes.

“My fiancé and I like the openness of the event space,” Hill said. “I have a big extended family and friends from outside of the state, so our final guest count could range from 100 to more than 200. The Roundhouse gives us enough space no matter who shows up. Also, we loved the rustic look with the string lights. Having a cart from the old depot in the venue gives it a quirky vibe that works with who we are. Our wedding is in the spring, so the open windows will let in a lot of light and fresh air. It will also still work if it rains.”

The dreaded rain – every bride’s foe. But there are alternatives if the weather does not coordinate.

“If it is raining when we are supposed to do outdoor portraits, we will find a space inside to do indoor portraits,” said Amber Palmer of Joel and Amber Wedding Photography. “If there is a point in the day when it is pretty and we can go outside, we will take the bride and groom outside. We will take advantage of any break in the weather but we have had wedding days when it rained all day long. You find a place indoors and you just roll with it. If it is raining or windy, it is up to the photographer to find another location with good light.”

While there are so many decisions to be made when choosing a venue, rest assured that whether it is the Huntsville Botanical Garden or the backyard, the best receptions are those that reflect the bride and groom.

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