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A venue research checklist

Who is to say which is the right wedding venue is for you? Well – no other than yourself. Whether you opt for a barn or a ball room (or create a ballroom inside a barn), either location could be the perfect venue. What matters is that it fits with your vision and desired wedding ambiance – plus a few practical requirements too which we will guide you through here. We are here to help!


One of the first things you are going to need is a place for your wedding guests to dine, enjoy speeches and have the spectacular celebration that this wonderful occasion deserves. The venue is probably the most significant and expensive items on your budget list, so finding the venue which meets all your requirements is of great importance. The last thing you want to worry about on your wedding day is that the venue doesn’t live up to your expectation.

Two things to have worked out BEFORE searching for a venue

Your Budget

Firstly you want to establish what your budget is. This way you will avoid having to miss out on another costly but highly desirable vendor such as a DJ or a videographer later on when you realized you have overspent.

Have a realistic idea of much your total budget is, as well as approximately what your design will cost to implement. Expect to pay more than just the venue rental fee, as most venues will charge a fee per guest catering too. Decor and floral design will also increase with a bigger venue space as they require more. If adding other elements you are planning for blows the budget, you’ll either need to scale back your expectation or look for another more affordable venue.

Your Guest list size

Know how many guests you’re expecting to invite before you go looking at venues (and don’t assume that enough guests will RSVP “NO” for everyone else to fit in) as actual wedding costs are in direct correlation on the number of people you’re inviting, so knowing your guest list size first will help to grasp the relationship between guest list and venue costs.

Time to Research

When you know your budget, guest list size and decided on a planner or not, finding a venue starts with research – and expect to do a lot of it!
Venues and their websites are all unique from each other, both in what they offer and what their website layout looks like. So you might have to dig out  information in various places -and sometimes they don’t seem offer any information at all. If you can’t find answers on a venue’s site, reach out with your questions via email using our spreadsheet to track what info you need. You’ll find that some venue dont offer much information online, but when contacted they will have a wedding leaflet or pdf to share that has a lot of the information you are looking for.



Talk to a Planner
If you are going to hire a planner – do this early in your engagement as the planner will be able to recommend you venues which fits the bill, saving you on a ton of work. She or he knows the wedding industry inside and out and might even be able to find you a cheaper deal.

Be true to Your Vision
If you have a specific theme in mid, it makes sense to look for a venue that will match. If you are having a modern wedding look at art galleries, sleek restaurants, or warehouses. A wedding incorporating more rustic elements works well with outdoor venues such as parks, backyards, and farms. Choosing a venue that enhances your theme will enable your wedding to feel authentically atmospheric.


Be considerate to Your Guests
If you’re inviting a lot of out-of-town guests or having a destination wedding, look for a venue that’s near a hotel. Ask the venue how many people they can fit comfortably, as well as what is allowed according to fire regulations.

Be aware of what is Included
Some venues are all-inclusive, and some you will have to bring in your own vendors and decor – why you should compare prices realistically. There can big a big difference in prices once you’ve added on the costs of renting things yourself. If everything is included in the fee, make sure to have a look at the items as chairs, table ware and linen might be on the more basic size.  Also include the tax and tips in your calculations.

Be yourself
Ask yourselves what is authentic to you two as a couple, and to choose a space and a design that represents the wedding your hearts desire. Perhaps a place with a special meaning will have preference over one that looks just like the online photo you liked so much. And remember that, while a venue might have looked gorgeous with a different theme or design scheme, it may not be perfect for yours. Try to look past Pinterests alluring images and firstly take your own priorities into account.

More things to consider: What it will cost for your timing of the event – will you need to pay for overtime? What exactly is included? Chairs and tables means cheaper rental costs later on, free parking means no transportation needed.


Before making plans to visit, try to answer these questions first when you are researching venues:

  1. Can I afford this venue?
  2. Is this venue available on the date (or month, or time of year) that I want?
  3. Does this venue’s capacity fit my estimated guest list?
  4. Does its space fit my needs? Where can we get changed/ rest? Are there places to mingle? How to people move from ceremony to reception? Is there a ceremony space?
  5. Consider location. Do you need to arrange a shuttle service for guests? Is accommodation available? Does it allow for guests to arrive via taxi? Is there parking? Paid or unpaid?
  6. Does this venue have catering? Sometimes a venue makes you use one exclusive caterer – make sure that is one you can afford and serves the food you like.
  7. Does this venue fit your vibe? This depends on the type of wedding you are aiming for. If you’re looking for a low-key wedding, you might opt for a more casual environment, and if you are opting for luxury, you would maybe not go for a rustic environment. But do bear in mind – if done right, juxtaposing is a great enhancer and component of many unique weddings. Don’t be afraid to be experiential with decor and venue combinations to find your own distinct style. Modern theme with farm venue, perhaps?
  8. What do we need decor-wise? If the venue is naturally beautiful, it might not require much decor. If it is a large venue with lots of empty space you will probably want more florals, furniture and trinkets, unless obviously you are set on the minimalist look.
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Once you’ve done your initial online research and made a list of places that seem promising, make a shortlist of venues you like the most using our worksheet.  Make a booking for you two to go and visit – please remember to bring our list of questions for venues as featured in April’s wedding planning post.

Lastly: A “wedding factory” where there are six weddings a week, all done according to the same formula is usually off the radar for many Brides wanting a unique wedding. But do consider that it will be much simpler (and often cheaper too), as everything is already there to be used, with less elements having to  be rented and less work to be done by you. All you would need to to is to decide on your dress, choose your cake and send your invites. Something to have in mind, unless you are dead-set on the DIY route of course!

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