Choose a type of venue. If you've got a large guest list, you'll need space to accomodate them. An outdoor venue sounds romantic but is susceptible to weather changes (with nonrefundable deposits). Are you anticipating a lot of out-of-town guests? Maybe a hotel wedding suits your needs. Are you an avid arts lover? Rent out your favorite art gallery or museum.
Get recommendations. Ask around for opinions on venues in your chosen location. Contact former brides about their experience with the venues you're considering. They'll have the best insight for pre-wedding venue hunting and how the staff handles last-minute crises.
Visit venues in person. Once you've made a list of your venue preferences, tour the facilities with your partner to get a full assessment. Consider the following factors:
- restroom access
- flexibility of layout
- venue conditions
- catering options
- parking availability
Work within your budget. Factor in costs of the facility itself along with catering, equipment rentals, and staff services. What's included in space rental and which services are considered add-ons? Before booking a venue, get details of the rental agreement regarding cancellation policies, change of date, and terms for deposit and final payment.
Be flexible. If you find your dream venue, make sure you're prepared to compromise on your wedding date to meet venue availability. Get married in the off-season, when rental costs will be lower—and you won't be competing with all the other summer brides.