Wedding Planning & Tips

Narrowing Down Your Wedding Venue Search

Narrowing Down Your Wedding Venue Search

With over 500 wedding venues in Central Florida, narrowing down your wedding venue search may seem impossible. If you jumped onto a venue search website like Wedding Venue Map or The Knot moments after getting engaged, you’re not alone. It is completely normal to have FOMO (fear of missing out) when it come to choosing a venue. After all, your venue will be the background to your happily ever after. But there is a fine line between having choices and being completely overwhelmed with options. So how do you narrow down your wedding venue search?

bride and groom walking on garden path next to lake With over 500 wedding venues in Central Florida, narrowing down your wedding venue search may seem impossible. If you jumped onto a venue search website like Wedding Venue Map or The Knot moments after getting engaged, you're not alone. It is completely normal to have FOMO (fear of missing out) when it come to choosing a venue. After all, your venue will be the background to your happily ever after. But there is a fine line between having choices and being completely overwhelmed with options. So how do you narrow down your wedding venue search

Photo by: Captured by Elle Photo & Video


Knowledge is Power

Yes, this may have been a cliche saying on a classroom wall at one point, but it is true. Before you even click search, start your planning with some preliminary information. Two of the most important things you can go into the wedding venue search armed with are your approximate guest count and a general idea of what you are wanting to spend. Venue options are going to be very different if you’re looking to host 30 guests versus 300. This allows you to quickly narrow your search to only venues that fit your guest count and desired budget.

Struggling on your determining your budget? Download our free wedding budget tracker.

Boho bride and groom in front of vintage fountain narrowing down wedding venue search

Photo by: Jamie DiOrio Photography

Have a Vision

This one may seem obvious but often times couples start the venue search not even sure what they are looking for. Does your perfect venue have lush gardens or is a tropical beach more your vibe? Are you looking for classic and romantic or rustic and laid back? Narrowing down the wedding style you are looking for keeps you from having to look at every venue type from a chic city rooftop to tree-filled state park. It allows you to spend your time seeing venues that really fit you.

Not sure on your wedding style? Check out our Pinterest inspired Wedding Inspiration Boards for some ideas!

Wedding reception with tall, rustic, floral centerpieces an example of choosing your venue based on style

Photo by: Live Happy Studio

Set Limits

Before you start touring venues, decide on when you’d like to choose your wedding venue. Setting a deadline can keep you from spending forever going on endless venues tours. Once you start touring venues, give yourself a max number of venues that you are going to see in person. For home buyers, the national association of Realtors recommends a maximum of ten home visits and ten weeks for the house hunting process. For your wedding day, you could safely cut each of these in half, limiting yourself to five venues in five weeks but definitely don’t see more than ten or you’ll start forgetting what details you liked or disliked about each.

Bride and groom in tall grass with letters spelling forever

Photo by: Cricket’s Photo & Cinema


Compare Apples to Apples

Wedding venues are all really different (that’s why you’re looking at more than one – right?) Just as different as wedding venues are, wedding venue packages are just as different. Each venue chooses different features to highlight and menus to offer. Once you’ve started receiving wedding venue packages and later, formal venue proposals, be sure to compare them equally for what is included. Some items to look at that often differ from venue to venue include ready room and honeymoon suite accommodations, bar allowances (hosted bar versus consumption bar versus cash bar), quantity of hors d’eouvres and entrees. Comparing packages in this way ensures that you are getting the best “bang for your buck”.

Confetti Cannons Give You the Best Bang for your Buck When Choosing Your Wedding Venue

Photo by: Kathy Thomas Photography


 Consider Your Guests

If a lot of your wedding guests are coming in from out of town for the wedding, consider how close your venue is to local accommodations. Consider hosting your wedding day at a venue that offers plenty of rooms for your guests to stay. Also keep in mind transportation for these guests from the accommodations to the venue and activities for them to do on wedding weekend outside of wedding day itself.

Groom and groomsmen playing pool in Toronto Blue Jays jerseys

Photo by: Jennifer Werneth Photography

Know Your Non-Negotiable Items

Whether it is staying in budget or walking down the aisle with your fur baby, it is important to know what is most important to you and stick with it. As you go through the planning process and start seeing venues, you may find yourself adding items to your want list. Keep your wants in order of most important to least, that way you don’t rule out a venue that has all of your key hot buttons simply because it is missing one that you really don’t care about any way.

Bride and Groom with Fur Babies in front of infinity arch after choosing a wedding venue

Photo By: Alexis Kline Photography


Keep it Real

No one knows wedding venues like, you guessed it, wedding venues. As you tour venues and meet with venue staff, keep it real. Don’t love the venue? Be honest. Your venue contact may be able to recommend other venues in the area that better fit your needs. Love the venue but received a proposal that’s way over what you had budgeted? Let them know. They may be able to adjust the package to work within your budget if you are flexible with your date or package inclusions.

Bride and Groom with Greenery Holding each other at wedding venue

Photo by: Chyanna Pacheco Photography 


Think you’ve narrowed down your wedding venue search and decided on “the one”? Don’t gamble with the losing your spot. Get it locked in! Popular venues and dates can book out up to two years in advanced, so if you’re date is available book it.

Groomsmen Betting on their wedding venue

Photo by: PB & J Studios


Still looking for the perfect Central Florida wedding venue? Mission Inn Resort has three different venues on property that match any style. Check out our website and our instagram to see if we might be what you’re looking for. Happy Wedding Planning!


Top Ten Wedding Hair Styles Feature with Four Brides

Bridal Hair Styles – Mission Inn’s Top Ten

Looking for ideas on great bridal hair styles for your wedding? Take a look at Mission Inn Resort’s favorite hair styles from recent weddings.


1. Elegant High Bun

bride posing in front of greenery with elegant high bun

For her bridal hair style, Abby chose an elegant high bun styled by Makeover Station. High buns are a great option for any age range.

This is a style that makes the face the focus of the wedding pictures. Check out Abby & Danny’s gorgeous photos by Silvana DiFranco Photography.

Bride sitting getting her bridal high bun styled

Groom Kissing Bride with High Bun

2. Romantic Up-Do

Bride and Groom Looking at each other

For her wedding day, Jeremy chose a beautiful up-do. This is a hairstyle that requires no other decoration. An interesting, but elegant twist to pin curls, it had the appearance of the hair being turned into roses, for a romantic updo. This is a perfect for wedding day look, captured beautifully by The Hendricks Photography.

bride and groom together for portraits

Bride and Groom standing on stone bridge with bride holding flowers

Bride getting ready to kiss her groom with gorgeous bridal hair style


3. Side Swept Do

bride smiling in front of ready room mirror with side swept do hair style

Amy was ready to sweep Andy off of his feet with this gorgeous side swept wedding day look. This style, created by Vanessa Pacheco with Beauty and a Bowtie, is perfect for keeping the hair off of the back for those warmer wedding days. Photographer KT Crabb Photography, was able to capture some great pictures of Amy & Andy for us!

Bride holding beautiful bouquet with groom

Bride smiling in wedding dress with side swept bridal hair style

Bride and Groom Holding Hands After Wedding


4. Soft Curls

Bride sitting in chair holding bridal bouquet with gorgeous soft curls

The team at About Face Design Team covered Diva in soft curls that elegantly framed Diva’s face on wedding day. Diva paired this classic bridal style perfectly with a long train for a dramatic effect. Check out these stunning photos captured by Lotus Eyes Photography of Diva & Kenny on their big day!

bride and groom embracing on a stone bridge with bridal veil blowing in background


5. Side Swept Fishtail Braid

Gorgeous Side Swept Fishtail Braid Bridal Hair Styles

Dana said “I Do” to Tan with a gorgeous side swept fishtail braid created by Laura Reynolds Artistry. Laura added soft curls to the look to frame Dana’s face for photos by Josh and Rachel Photography. This is another great option for summer weddings. A pulled back look will leave you cool and looking fresh, even in a Florida summer.

bride and groom with gorgeous flowers

bride showcasing her flowers and bridal hair styles

Couple holding hands and walking


6. Classic Up-Do

Bride holding bouquet showing off her bridal hair style

Alyssa wanted a classic up-do for her November brunch wedding. Michelle with M3 Makeup Artists created this look with securly placed curls that still had a soft look. Check out these gorgeous photos taken by Corner House Photography of Alyssa and Hunter on wedding day at Mission Inn’s Legends Wedding Courtyard!

bride and groom holding hands

bride looking at her wedding dress with a gorgeous updo bridal hair style

groom kissing brides head


7. Half Up Half Down

Bride and Groom Kissing with Pink Hibiscus

Lida wanted a soft curled, half up/half down hairstyle. This style, created by Vanessa with Beauty and a Bowtie is not your typical half up, half down. This kind of hairstyle gives dimension and volume, and pairs well with any kind of formal wear.Emily Paige Photography did a great job of capturing this bridal hair style in all of the great photos from Lida & Jeff’s big day!

classic wedding bridal hair style

bride and groom touching foreheads with sun setting in the background
bride sitting on a blue chair in her wedding dress smiling


8. Vintage Updo

Bride with stylish updo hairstyle putting earrings in

Another gorgeous updo by  Vanessa with Beauty and a Bowtie. On wedding day, Jessica sported a vintage style, side swept, updo with curls.  Her hairstyle was adorned with a beautiful flower crown. Jessica & Steven’s day was photographed by Nate Puhr Photography.

Bride in wedding dress with vintage hair style

groom looking at bride who is holding a bouquet of flowers

bride with beautiful vintage hair with flowers


9. Curled Braid

Bridal braid with curls hairstyle

Kati Rosado Photography perfectly captured this side swept braid. The team with Kristy’s Design Artistry created the braid with beautiful curls, leaving pieces out to frame Laura’s face. This hairstyle was the perfect compliment to Laura & Chris’s romantic wedding day on Plaza de la Fontana.

Groom holding bride

Bride holding her veil with gorgeous hair style

Groom kissing bride in front of spanish tile fountain


10. Celtic Knot and Chignon

Celtic Knot hairstyle

Melissa chose a soft updo in a celtic knot style, featuring side swept bangs, and a Celtic inspired chignon. This beautiful look was created by Before the Aisle and captured byMonica Grace Photography.

bride and groom kissing

bride smiling while putting her earrings in

Can’t get enough?  Then check out more on the Mission Inn Wedding Inspirations Boards.


Gorgeous Wedding Portrait of Bride and Groom in Orange Lillies at Sunset

Gorgeous Wedding Portraits at Mission Inn

Top Locations for Gorgeous Wedding Portraits 

Gorgeous Portrait of Bride and Groom in front of Tree and Bridge

Photo By: Brian Sumner Photography


Are gorgeous wedding portraits a must have for you on wedding day? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Couples constantly ask where to find the best spots at Mission Inn Resort to take gorgeous portraits on wedding day.  


We partnered with some of our favorite Central Florida wedding photographers to create a guide to some of the best photo spots at Mission Inn – both the iconic locations and the more hidden gems.  



Mission Inn’s Iconic Wedding Portrait Locations: 

The Sunset Bridge 

Bride and Groom on a Bridge Looking at Each Other

Photo By: Photolocity

Stephanie and Joe kissing by the water

Photo By: KMD Photo and Film

Gorgeous portrait of bride and groom on sunset bridge at sunset

Photo By: Jamie Reinhart Photography

El Campeon Golf Course – 100 Year Old Stone Bridge 

newlyweds sitting on stone bridge with dramatic sunset

 Photo By: Cricket’s Photo & Cinema

Gorgeou Portrait of Same Sex Wedding Garden Bridge Portrait

Photo By: Heather Rice Photography

Gorgeous Portrait of Bride and groom holding each other on stone bridge at Mission Inn Resort

Photo By: Lotus Eyes Photography

The Famous Mission Inn Waterfall 

Portrait of Groom in Scottish wear kissing bride's hand

 Photo By: VMP Photography

Bride and Groom Indian Wedding Questions to Ask your Planner

Photo By: Corner House Photography

Stephanie and Joe next to golf course waterfall

Photo By: KMD Photo & Film

The Mission Inn Resort Sign 



Mission Inn’s Resort-Side Portrait Locations: 

 The Gates of Plaza de las Palmas 

Bride and groom kissing in beautiful tunnel with wrought iron door

Photo By: That First Moment Photography

Bride and groom at iron gate for wedding portrait

 Photo By: Cricket’s Photo & Cinema

Two brides wedding portrait

Photo By: PB &  J Studios

The Fountain of Plaza de la Fontana 

Bride and Groom at Sunset

Photo By: Passio Photography

Portrait Plaza de la Fontana - bride and groom next to fountain

Photo By: The Hendricks Photography


bride and groom standing in front of spanish style fountain for wedding portrait photoPhoto By: Kiki Blue Photography

The Staircase at Plaza de la Fontana 

Bride and groom kiss on outdoor stairsPhoto By: Brian Sumner Photography

Bride and groom dramatic staircase shot at nighttime

Photo by: Cricket’s Photo & Cinema


Bride with blue bouquet standing next to her groom on a staircase of pink hibiscus trees in front of a lake

Photo By: KMD Photo & Film

The Market Lights of Plaza de las Palmas

Bride and groom with umbrella in the rainy Plaza de las Palmas

Photo by: That First Moment Photography

Bride and groom in Plaza de las Palmas with ribbon of light surrounding them

Photo by: Emily Paige Photography

Bride and groom kissing in Spanish courtyard during sparkler sendoff

Photo by: KMD Photo & Film


The Portrait Locations at Legends Courtyard: 


The Fountain at Legends Courtyard 

Bride and groom kissing next to vintage fountain

Photo by: Kathy Thomas Photography

Picture of Bride holding flowers kissing groom in front of fountain

Photo By: Jessica Leigh Photography

Boho bride and groom in front of vintage fountain

Photo By: Jaime DiOrio Photography

Marina del Rey’s Portrait Options: 

The Big Oak 

Bride laying on the branch of an oak tree surrounded by spanish moss next to her groom for gorgeous wedding portrait

Photo By: Sivan Photography

Bride and Groom Dancing and Holding Hands in front of oak tree at Mission Inn Resort

Photo By: Brenda Anderson Photography

Bride and Groom sitting in oak tree for their wedding portrait

Photo by: Cricket’s Photo & Cinema


Woodland Marsh Path 

Bride carrying red flowers holding grooms hand while walking on a boardwalk

Photo By: Jessica Leigh Photography

Beautiful Boho Wedding Bouquet Bride and Groom in the Woods

Photo by: Kathy Thomas Photography

Walking on Boardwalk with Spanish Moss

Photo by: KMD Photo & Film


Docks at Marina del Rey 

Bride in blue blazer kissing bride in wedding gown on the pier at mission inns marina del rey at sunset

Photo By: PB&J Studios

Bride and Groom standing on the docks in front of a seaplane getting ready to take off

Photo By: Nikki Ogden Photography

Bride being dipped by her groom at sunset on the docks of marina del rey on wedding day

Photo By: Jessica Leigh Photography


Reflecting Pond

Bride and Groom standing on bridge with reflections in the water

Photo By: Ashley McCormick Photography

Bride and Groom Kissing on a Bridge in Front of a Reflecting PoolPhoto By: Brenda Anderson Photography


Seasonal Floral Portrait Options: 

Bouganviellas at Marina del Rey

Bride and Groom in front of Hot Pink BouganvillaPhoto By: Kristen Weaver Photography


Poinsettias at Plaza de las Palmas 

Bride holding red and white wedding flowers in front of tower of red pointsettias

Photo by: Cricket’s Photo & Cinema


Orange Lilies at El Campeons 18th Hole 

Bride and groom dancing in front of large orange lillies at sunset

Photo By: Nick and Lauren Photography


Azaleas at Legends Courtyard 

Bride and Groom in front of oak tree behind beautiful pink flowers

Photo By: Jessica Leigh Photography


Wildflowers at Marina del Rey 

Bride and Groom standing in wildflowers

Photo By: Brenda Anderson Photography


Fun and Unique Portrait Ideas: 


Giant Chess Board 

Groomsmen standing on giant chess board

Photo By: PB&J Studios


Billiards Room 

Bride and Groom Playing Pool

Photo By: That First Moment Photography


Mission Inn Bikes 

Bride and Grooms Riding Bikes

Photo By: Critsey Rowe Photography


Playing at the Playground 

Bride and Groom on Tire Swing

Photo by: Errol Colon Photography


Portraits on the Golf Course 

Bride chasing groom with golf club on golf course

Photo By: Richard Harrell Photography


The Vegetable Gardens

Bride and Groom in Vegetable Patch

Photo by: Heather Rice Photography


Poolside Portraits

Bride and Groom Poolside with Drinks


Resort Backdrop:

Bride and Groom in front of Mission Inn ResortPhoto by: KMD Photo & Film 


Do you have a favorite portrait spot at Mission Inn Resort  that isn’t listed here?  

Please share it with us in the comments! 


Want to see more wedding day inspiration? 

Click here to view our wedding inspiration collection 


Date on Plaza de la Fontana

Central Florida Date Night Ideas

Date nights are a must for keeping your relationship new and fresh – no matter what season of life you’re in. Here’s a list of some awesome date night ideas. We even included some great options right in Central Florida!


Photo of Man and Woman on a Date at Night in Central FloridaPhoto By: Sophia’s Art Photography

Date Nights Ideas for Foodies:

  1. Eat at a new restaurant together (Café Tu Tu Tango or Boxi Park)
  2. Satisfy your java fix at a trendy coffee shop (Axum Coffee, Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar or Orlando Cat Café)
  3. Grab a drink at a unique bar (The Courtesy Bar, Mathers Social Gathering or Cocktails & Screams)
  4. Go out for ice cream ( Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream or Twistee Treat)
  5. Check out a local food truck event (Tasty Takeover in the Milk District or Disney Springs Food Trucks)
  6. Go to a build-your-own pizza bar (Mod Pizza or Blaze Pizza)
  7. Bake something together (Publix Apron’s Cooking School  or Truffles & Trifles)
  8. Try a Dinner Show (Pirates Dinner Adventure, Mango’s Tropical Café or The Royal Palm Dinner Train)

Couple Sharing a Cupcake at a Bakery Date Night in Central Florida by KMD Creations

Photo By: KMD Creations Photography & Film


Date Nights in the Great Outdoors:

  1. Try for a Hole in One (Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, Top Golf or Winter Summerland at Disney)
  2. Have a Picnic in the Park (Leu Gardens or Bok Tower Gardens)
  3. Hike Hand-in-Hand (Seminole-Wekiva Trail or Ocala National Forest)
  4. Spend the Night Under the Stars (Observatory at Orlando Science Center or the Planetarium at Seminole State College)
  5. Live the Lake Life (Swan boat ride on Lake Eola, Paddle Boarding with Lake Life Paddle or Tubing at Rainbow Springs)
  6. Pick Your Own Flowers or Practice Building a Bouquet (Southern Hill Farms or Mick Farms)
  7. Bioluminescent Kayaking (A Day Away Kayak Tours or Get up and Go Kayaking)
  8. Have a Shoot-Off with Trap & Skeet (Mission Inn Resort’s El Cazador)

Couple having a date on the lake in Central FL

Photo By: Cricket’s Photo & Cinema


Rainy Day Dates:

  1. Check Out a Movie (Enzian Theater or Silver Moon Drive-In)
  2. Grab Some Quarters & Get Your Game On (Player 1 Video Game Bar or Joysticks Arcade Lounge)
  3. Get Locked In at a Local Escape Room (The Escape Effect, Lockbusters or Escapeology)
  4. Laser Tag (Ultrazone Extreme Laser Tag, Warrior Sports Park or Main Event Entertainment)
  5. Throw Axes Together (Epic Axe Throwing Orlando)
  6. Muse Around a Museum (Science After Sundown at Orlando Science Center) (1st Thursdays at the Orlando Museum of Art)
  7. Stay home and play board games or check out The Cloak & Blaster
  8. Check Out Some Intense Virtual Reality Gaming (The Void – Disney Springs)

Two Hands Holding on Top of Scrabble Board, Love, Wedding Glamping, Couple having a scrabble date

Photo by: Heather Rice Photography


Date Nights for your Inner Artist:

  1. Take a Pottery Class Together (All Fired Up)
  2. Make a Woodworking Craft for the House (Hammer & Stain)
  3. Swing by a Local Art Festival (Mount Dora Art Festival or Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival)
  4. Go to a Play ( Phillips Performing Arts Center, Orlando Shakes or The Ice House)
  5. Sing Karaoke Together (CityWalk’s Rising Star or Big Daddy’s Orlando)
  6. Paint Some New Wall Art (Painting with a Twist)
  7. Check out a Comedy Show (Sak Comedy Lab or The Improv Orlando)
  8. Participate in Open Mic Night (Open Mic Orlando)

Blue and Orange Color Couple Date

Photo by: Wings of Glory Photography

Date Nights We Couldn’t Forget:

  1. Go on a Scavenger Hunt (City Hunt, The Go Game or Operation City Quest)
  2. Volunteer Together (Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, Give Kids the World or Feeding Children Everywhere)
  3. Say Cheese! (Engagement Session with KMD Photography or a Boudoir Session with Bumby)
  4. Get Matching Tattoos (Hart & Huntington Tattoo Co. at CityWalk)
  5. Visit a New Place Neither of You has Been (Disney’s Boardwalk or Tarpon Springs)
  6. Go to a Trivia Night (Yellow Dog Eats Café or Toll Road Brewing)
  7. Check Out a Local Brewery (Mount Dora Brewing, Castle Church Brewing or Orlando Brewing)
  8. Have a Couples Spa Getaway (Spa Marbella at Mission Inn Resort)Woman in White Dress and Man in Blue Shirt on Date at Disneys BoardwalkPhoto By: Cricket’s Photo & Cinema

Looking for more date night ideas?

Come visit us at Mission Inn Resort where you can enjoy one of our many restaurants, a round of golf one of our two championship courses, spa services and boating and fishing on Lake Harris.

Date Night Star Gazing in Central FL

Photo By: Cricket’s Photo & Cinema