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Wedding Planning: Finding Your Venue

You can't have a wedding without the perfect space to host the event, which is why understanding how to pick a wedding venue is a crucial component of wedding planning. Whether you dream of a destination wedding at a resort or a local celebration at a wedding venue near you, choosing a wedding venue is an important task that needs to take place before you get too far along in the planning process.

So, what is a wedding venue? What should a wedding venue include? Curious about what to look for in a wedding venue? Maybe you're curious about how to compare wedding venues? Don't worry, The Knot gives all the answers you need regarding how to choose a wedding venue.

What is a Wedding Venue?

It's helpful to understand what you're searching for before embarking on the task at hand. So, what is a venue for a wedding? Simply put, your wedding venue is the place where your wedding takes place. But there are nuances to the wedding venue meaning to be aware of.

Some venues host both the couple's ceremony and reception, while other to-be-weds opt for two wedding venues, one for the wedding ceremony and another spot for the reception. Wedding venues are not one-size-fits-all so it's important to understand what type of space you need for your big day and what options are available to you for your wedding day.

If Great-Aunt Sally asks you at the next family function "What's a venue for a wedding? What does venue shopping mean?" while you're sharing your recent adventures with finding the perfect wedding venue, you now have the answer. You're in the process of saying "I do" to a location before you say "I do" to your partner.

When to Book a Wedding Venue

The ideal wedding venue booking timeline is around 12 to 18 months before the wedding. This step is one of the first ones that needs to happen in the wedding planning journey since you can't officially set your date until the location is locked in.

How to Research Potential Wedding Venues Near You

Before you jump into the actual process of vetting potential wedding venues, you need to do some brainstorming and research potential wedding venues because there are a few things to consider when choosing a wedding venue. Online research and video consultations are a great first step in the search process, but they should never fully replace seeing a space in person. Once you've researched your favorite potential venues, it's key that you ultimately see the space in person—this will be the most effective way to decide if a spot is right for your big day.

Find Your Wedding Venu thru TheKnot Vendor Marketplace

When it comes to initial online venue research, The Knot Vendor Marketplace is a great place to start. With the ability to search by region, you'll be able to pull together an extensive list of prospects to cull through. From there, chat with your wedding planner about narrowing down your list of potential venues that you want to research more thoroughly.

Instagram and Tiktok

For all things weddings, Instagram and Tiktok are your friend—and that holds true for the venue search as well. To start, try scrolling through locale-specific hashtags like #[yourcity]weddingvenue to see if you can uncover some hidden gems in and around the locale where you plan to tie the knot. Social media can quickly become a rabbit hole, in the very best way, so make sure to save any and all spots that pique your interest. This will allow you to come back later to more thoroughly research options you've stumbled upon.

Word of Mouth

In much the same way that word of mouth is a great way to discover beloved local haunts and must-visit restaurants, lean on friends, both engaged and not, for venue suggestions. Maybe a friend recently attended a coworker's wedding and absolutely adored the historic estate venue they chose—you'll never know unless you start putting out feelers among friends and family. Keep in mind that while word of mouth opens you up to a surge of advice, the wedding is ultimately your day as the engaged couple to plan however you see fit, so you need only heed the input that serves you and your partner.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Venue

You may plan to visit multiple prospective wedding venues during the process. So how do you compare wedding venues? What should you keep in mind? Due diligence is a must as you're reviewing spaces. Here are a few key considerations to think through as you evaluate a venue for the wedding.

  • Are you okay with a wedding venue that allows multiple weddings on the same day?
  • Make note of the venue's communication style. Is it easy or hard to interact with the staff of the venue?
  • Pay close attention to the venue contract, especially if there is complicated or unclear language about the scope of service.
  • Gauge the level of experience the space has with weddings as they bring certain unique nuances.
  • Is the venue vague or forthcoming about what they can accommodate?
  • Gain an understanding of any additional fees or surcharges you may encounter.
  • How flexible is the venue to unique, out-of-the-box ideas?

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