Finding your venue is the key first step in planning. Not only does your venue determine your date, but it can influence the vendors you book and it sets the stage for what you day will end up being. Your venue is also one of the largest line items in your budget and knowing your total cost in this category is vital.

For some, they find their venue on the first afternoon of tours. For others it can take seeing five, ten or even twenty spaces before landing on the perfect spot. Even though you’re excited to start planning all the detail, booking your venue shouldn’t be rushed.

Whether you’re just starting the hunt or you’ve been looking for awhile, here are five things to consider when searching for wedding venues.

#1 – The Tangibles: Tangibles are items that are included in the rental that you have use of with the facility – think tables, chairs, linens, decor. These are items you don’t have to pay an additional fee to use and are already existing with the space. When a venue includes a lot of tangible items, your venue fee is often higher. However, it may still be less expensive than bringing those items in on your own.

#2 – The Intangibles: Every venue has an intangible aspect, something you can’t describe or put your finger on but makes it absolutely perfect or absolutely dreadful. When looking at venues, you can always bring in tangible items to make it your own, but you can never give it that natural wow factor or take away your gut instinct that it’s just not right.

#3 – Capacity and Flow: Everyone knows to consider capacity, but the flow of the space for the capacity it can accomodate is important as well. Some spaces can accommodate larger groups but the space is split into multiple rooms. In some instances this can provide an intimate feel for large groups but, it may not be the flow you’re going for. Consider the potential set up and flow for your day when touring each venue.

#4 – Location, location, location: Location is the first thing I consider (besides total capacity) with a venue. Many things can be changed, but location never can. While it doesn’t have to be right smack in the middle of town, the best options are always a short drive from accomodations with an option for transportation (taxi or Uber).

#5 – Cost: This is obvious and you all know it. But, cost is more about the number you see at the bottom of the contract. Each of the above considerations should factor into the overall cost as well. In addition, an existing preferred vendor list is also a major cost factor. Less expensive venues can end up costing more than budgeted for when you bring in all the items that aren’t included or consider the pricing of preferred vendors you’re required to use. Before signing on the dotted line, consider each of these things in your overall cost.

Do you know how much you should be budgeting for your venue? Download our free budget guide to find out.

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