How to Choose a Venue in 5 Easy Steps

A venue is probably one of the most important choices when it comes to wedding planning, after of course the person you will marry and your wedding party options. Yes, I did put the venue in before the dress! Okay, now you think I am either a) absolutely crazy, or b) a dress hater. Let me tell you, even though I may be a little bit of a, I have been picking dresses since before I knew what a boyfriend was!

I’ll explain to you exactly why the venue comes first: It’s easier to find a dress that goes with a venue, than a venue that goes with a dress.


Which brings me to Step ONE: Decide on what type of venue you would like: Modern, Classic, Rustic, Chic, Beach or Medieval. Or maybe you want a mix of two. For example, Rustic-chic, you may want rustic accents but the overall look to be super chic.

The next step, Step TWO, will be to make a preliminary and secondary guest list. Preliminary being your guest list, secondary meaning your guest list after both your parents and the groom/bride-to-be’s parents have went through it and made adjustments. Of course, you will have to go through the secondary list again to decide if you really want your work acquaintance to come or not. This will really narrow down where you can tie the knot. If you have 300 invites and the maximum capacity is 150, you’ll either have to cut your list in half or find a new venue. If you were looking to have a destination wedding, you may have to cut your guest list again.


Step THREE: Go on to The Knot, Wedding Bells, Minted and other wedding websites to search for venue options. Keep in mind these sites won’t have every single option on their website. If you know of an area that you’d love to get married in, take your car and drive around to look for options, or contact the city’s community centre to ask for venue options. This will open your mind to venues you may never have thought possible.


Step FOUR: Visit the venues in person. Some times the rooms / halls in the venue will look gorgeous on the website, but will look terrible in person, or vise-versa. The venue we chose for our wedding wasn’t our first choice until we went there and saw it in person. It turned out to be the perfect location, inside and out!
Make sure you take notes and photos. Remember to write down any questions you may have, including: menu options, maximum capacity, ceremony site options, kid menu options (if your wedding is kid-friendly), dj set up, dance floor (do they have one and if so, what size). You’ll also want to be sure to ask them what is included in the price and if they offer wedding planner services. Some hotels offer full wedding planner services and others offer nothing but the venue site.

Make a decision

Step FIVE: Look at all your notes/ emails and photos. Try to list the pros and cons of each venue with your groom / bride-to-be. Maybe you have a tight budget and the most important part is that the wedding is on or under budget, or maybe the atmosphere is the most important aspect of the wedding. Make sure to keep all the previous steps in mind: theme of wedding, guest list / capacity, your venue options and remember the visit to each venue, what you loved and hated.

Good luck with your venue picks ladies and gents!

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