Wedding Planning Tool Kit: 4 Steps to Owning Your Venue Search

bridal selection tool kit 2

It seems like as soon as you get engaged people IMMEDIATELY start asking you “Have you set a date?”

What people do not realize is that setting a date is not only about some fictional date you have set in your head or what time of year you want to get married in, but WHERE you want to get married or have your reception. I found that finding a venue that fit my wedding’s vintage elegance theme, and more importantly my budget, super challenging.

44th & Luxe Events - Heidi Kolby 3 (1)

Photo Credit: Amy Oliver,

That is why I have teamed up with Heidi, a talented wedding planner from 44th & Luxe Events, to provide you with tips to help you own your venue search. I have also included my Bridal Gush Venue Screener Tool to ensure your venue selection meets your vision and budget.

Looking for a wedding venue should be one of the first thing you do after you complete your wedding budget. The venue can dictate the feel of your wedding, what type of attire you wear, and most importantly what day you get married on. With the majority of your budget going to the reception and ceremony, it is crucial that you define this piece early on. With so many wedding venues out there and all with vastly different pricing, décor options, and locations, it can be overwhelming to figure out what is the right choice for your wedding. But never fear, we are here for you.

4 Steps to Finding The Right Venue

1. Make A Game Plan:


When you first get engaged you have to resist the urge to just go out and buy or book things. To find the right venue there is some pre-work involved, you have to make a Game Plan.

You have to first figure out your budget, nothing is worse than looking at a place you can’t afford. Check out the blog post Wedding Planning Tool Kit: Wedding Budgeter for the Bridal Gush Wedding Budgeter tool that can help you establish how much you should spend on your reception. Now that that’s done, next is to decide on the general time frame for when you want to get married. This could be a season, a specific month, and even a specific day. This will help you to narrow down options based on availability.  Once you have these you are ready to start your search.

Insider Tip From 44th & Luxe Events:

Guest count dictates the capacity in which you need the venue to be able to accommodate. Also, make sure you know what type of style or vision you are going for with your wedding: traditional ballroom, rustic chic, urban vibe? This will help guide what you’re look for.

2. Start your Search:


Once you know what you are looking for, now it is time to find it. Start your search through going to Bridal shows,  look through local bridal magazines, asking friends and family for ideas, or going online. Compile a list of the venues and contact them to get their information on pricing, availability, and maximum guest count.

Insider Tip From 44th & Luxe Events:

To get a faster response, contact venues directly by phone or email rather than using online contact forms.

3. Do a Site Visit:

Now that you have your list of possible venues, the next step is to set up a tour of the venues that fit your game plan. As you do your site visits think about the flow of the reception, how guests will be seated, what you want the room to look like, and check out the entire venue including the bathrooms… yes the bathroom.  Use this as an opportunity to get to know the staff and how they operate through the planning process and day of.

Insider Tip From 44th & Luxe Events- Key Questions to Ask on Your Site Visit:

-Is there a room rental fee and what is included? (Keep in mind that some room rental fees may be expensive but they can come with additional décor items)

-What is their deposit, payment structure, and cancellation policy?

-Do you have in house catering or are outside catering allowed? Is a tasting included and how many people can do the tasting?

-How many events do they have on the same day or at the same time?

-Can you accommodate both the ceremony and reception? How is this executed?

-For outdoor locations, is there a rain plan? For locations in a city center, are there parking accommodations for guest?

-Does the venue have insurance to cover the event or will you need to purchase event insurance?

-Who is responsible for setting up and clean up of décor items?

4. Evaluate and Choose a Venue:


You have completed several site visits, seen tons of great venues, asked all the right question, and now it is time to make a choice. What I found in my venue search is that doing steps one-three where the easy part, but step four was the hardest because after all that work, usually all you have are a copious amount of packets from each venue showing what offer for catering and rental pricing. Many venues do not “run the numbers” or make a proposal for your wedding until you are absolutely ready to book with them. So this can leave you confused on how much everything cost.

That is why I have come up with the Bridal Gush Venue Screener. This tool allows you to take the information from all those packets and distil the information down on an easy to use spreadsheet. From this, you can evaluate your options and choose what is best for you. Download the free Bridal Gush Venue Screener tool by clicking the like below.

Bridal Gush Venue Screener

The Bridal Gush Venue Screener was developed to help you organize your venue search by providing a space to record venue contact information, what you like and dislike about the venue, provide a calculation to indicate if that venue will fit in your budget. The provided tool also comes with an example to show how the spreadsheet works.

With these 4 steps and the Bridal Gush Venue Screener in hand, we know you will find an awesome venue.  If you find these tips and Venue Screener helpful, leave a comment below. We’d love to hear about your experience or where you decided was your perfect venue.

Be sure check out other wedding planning tool to help make planning your big day easier: Wedding BudgeterGuest List ManagerWedding Day Planner.

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