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Photo: Blue Jar Photography

Any wedding checklist will tell you that picking a wedding venue is one of the first decisions you’ll need to make. The wedding venue you choose will have a big impact on your wedding’s style and personality. Restaurant wedding venues are a popular choice—and for good reason.

Here are some the reasons we love restaurant wedding venues.

It’s great for a small wedding.
Most couples spend some time researching restaurants…for the rehearsal dinner. But if you plan to have a small wedding, a restaurant for the big day could be the way to go. Depending on the size of your guest list, you could book a private room or rent out an entire restaurant. Either way, there are lots of perks for you and your guests if you have your wedding celebration at a restaurant.

The food, obviously, will be top-notch.
If you and your betrothed are foodies, a restaurant is a great place to treat your guests to an over-the-top meal. Unlike venues that only have a catering kitchen, wedding at a restaurant means meals will be cooked on-demand and guests can choose from more than the standard chicken or fish. Plus, the venue research is extra fun. What a great excuse for you and your fiancé to dine out while you search for the perfect restaurant venue!

It allows you to show off your personality.
Do you and your beloved have a favorite restaurant in town? Did you travel to Japan and fall in love with sushi? Vacation in Paris and now frequent your local French bistro? Selecting a restaurant that shares something you both love is just another way to make your wedding personal for your guests. And don’t forget that little details can convey this too. Theme your favors to match the restaurant’s menu (mini bottles of the restaurant’s house wine, for example, or share a special dessert recipe from the venue’s pastry chef) for another individual touch.

You can save on the rental fee.
When budgeting for your nuptials, many wedding-focused venues require a rental fee. At a restaurant, where weddings are a secondary business, a rental fee may not be required. Instead, they usually charge a guaranteed food and drink minimum. That can still add up depending on your guest list, but nixing the rental fee eliminates at least one line-item from your wedding budget.

A mid-day wedding is an option.
Another budget saver? Book your wedding for the middle of the day. At a restaurant, prices are likely to be lower for lunch or brunch. You still get the same fabulous food and the same number of hours, but your bottom line will likely be lower. And if you and your spouse have finished your wedding celebration before nightfall, you and your wedding party can always hit the town for the evening. Drinks on the newlyweds!