1. Decide on Your Style
- Outdoors or indoors?
- Someplace that offers both options?
- Elegant (such as a ballroom)?
Once you decide on what type of setting you want for your ceremony and reception (or just your reception), you can now begin to look for those types of venues.
2. Start Looking
- Ask friends and relatives in your area for suggestions.
- Think outside the box. You don't have to choose a venue that is specifically known as a wedding venue. Try art galleries, museums, parks, a friend's property with a nice view. These types of places often won't come with as hefty a price tag.
- Use websites to your advantage. Try The Knot. This site allows you to enter the location you prefer and will bring up a list of venues available in your area. It will show you photos, contact information, and links to the venue's actual site so you can really explore it. You can also use Google for this. Type in the location you want using search terms such as "wedding venues in ...." Read the reviews that come up and explore every option typing in different search terms.
- Write down the names and contact information for the venues you and your fiance liked best (yes ladies, you must include your man in this).
3. Narrow it Down
- Ask if you can visit the venue. Sometimes venues won't allow this, but will instead send you their contract and ask you to review it. If you're still interested after you've read it, then they will schedule a viewing appointment. Three of the five venues we were interested in did this. The other two, The Davenport and Zen, we visited in person.
- Review the contract. Ask to see the contract if you have not seen it already. Read it! You might fall in love with a venue, but if the contract doesn't fit your needs, you need to find something else unless you're willing to compromise. The Loom is a beautiful venue, but upon reading the contract, it was a huge no for us. The music there must be kept under 85 decibels. That's the noise level of a kitchen blender! For our musicians, this simply would not work.
- Ask questions before signing. Here is a great list of questions by Under the Veil.
3. Secure the Location (s)
- Tell them your date. Some of you might have your ceremony and receptions at different locations. That's perfectly fine! But make sure that the correct date is written in the contracts.
- Be prepared to make a down payment. Most venues ask for half of the total deposit to secure your wedding date. The last portion of the balance is typically due a month before your wedding.
- Keep a copy of the contract in your wedding binder. If you don't have one yet, you can find out how to create one in my previous blog post, How to Organize for Your Wedding.
Have some more tips? Leave a comment!