Many couples start their wedding planning by finding the perfect venue because the venue affects so many other factors. For example, the venue’s capacity determines your head count and, therefore, your guest list. It also influences your color palette and decoration choices. Or if you even need to decorate. (Some venues do it for you!) Plus, certain venues offer add-ons and premium services—like catering and entertainment—so you can focus on other details. And, of course, all of these factors affect your wedding budget. It’s easy to see why you would start with the venue!
But just because finding the perfect venue is an important part of wedding planning doesn’t mean it has to be a difficult part. In fact, it can be done in four simple steps. In this post, we’ll walk you through each step of your venue search, complete through signing on the dotted lines. Before they begin the venue search, many couples have their date already picked. But if you don’t—don’t worry! Being flexible with your date can open you up to more venues. What’s most important is knowing where you want to host your wedding.
1. Choose Your Location
Before you can begin hunting for the perfect balance of guest parking and natural light, you have to know where you’re looking. It’s the easiest way to narrow down your venue options, and it’ll prevent you from falling in love with a spot that’s too far away or too expensive. (Location is a huge factor in pricing, too!)
Of course, you don’t have to choose the exact city—but you do need to know the general area. For smaller states, like those of us in Maine, the general area may be the entire state. But choosing larger states, like California, won’t help narrow your choices down. Instead, it’s best to pick a region or city to begin your search and work from there.
2. Search Online
Next, you’ll want to grab your laptop (or tablet or phone) and head to your favorite comfy spot, because it’s time to do some online shopping. With the help of venue directories like Eventective, finding the perfect venue has never been easier. No, we can’t make the decision for you. But we can help you sift through thousands of venues based on location, capacity, and pricing in just a few clicks.
That’s exactly why we started Eventective—to easily connect couples with venues and vendors to make their perfect day, well, perfect. But of course, we’re not the only event directories out there. So we reviewed the top five event directories (including ourselves!) because your focus should really be on finding the perfect venue, not the perfect venue directory.
If you have a clear vision for your venue, you can also filter your results by proximity to transportation, indoor and outdoor capacities, and the venue type. After all, a rustic barn isn’t the best fit for your chic, modern wedding! Once you have your top choices, you can give them a call or send them an email to find out more information or request a quote.
3. Visit Your Favorites
By now, you have a set location and you’ve been viewing venues in that area. Maybe you’ve contacted some of them to get quotes and check their availability. Either way, you have a list of your favorite venues and the fun can really begin! It’s time to visit your favorite venues in person. If that’s not possible, request a video tour or any other type of virtual tour that they offer. Pictures can certainly do a venue justice, but they’ll never compare with seeing the waterfront view or exposed beams in person.
We recommend visiting your top three venues to start. If none of them fit your fancy, you can keep going down your list. But start small! Depending on your location, visiting a venue can be time consuming, so try and prioritize those spots that you really want to see.
4. Read the Fine Print!
You’ve found your dream venue in your dream location—congratulations! Before you sign the dotted line, be sure to read all the terms and conditions of your agreement. Even if you don’t read your contract, you’ll still be held responsible for it when you sign it. And sometimes, breaking the contract can cost you money.
Important details to look for include:
- The cancellation policy, including any payment refunds
- Whether you’re able to bring in outside food, drink, and decorations
- The check-in and check-out procedures
- Any additional services are included and accurate based on your conversations
Finding the perfect venue is one of your first major wedding decisions. But once you make that decision, you make room for other smaller—but still important—decisions. Now you can choose color palettes, decide on decorations, and start inviting guests! Some of those tasks might take more than four steps, but creating a wedding website will make RSVP tracking easier and help guests stay informed. (Hint: We can help with that, too!)
Do you have a location picked out for your wedding? Or are you flexible?