Contributed by: Brittany McClain, Mavris

Congratulations! You are now engaged to the love of your life. This is the moment that you have always hoped for and dreamed about. You finally have the ring! Now what? Sit back, relax, and relish in the bliss of being a soon-to-be wife… maybe for 5 minutes. As soon as you announce your engagement, family and friends will immediately ask ‘when’s the big day?’ It’s time to stop day-dreaming and start planning for the one, special day that you will always remember. It’s time to jump on Pinterest (as if you haven’t already) and begin searching for your dream wedding.

I believe the most important detail when planning your wedding is finding and securing a venue and date. All other details will be planned accordingly to these two (major) details.
How do you start to look for the perfect venue? Research, research, research. Dig into the internet, talk to friends about weddings they have attended, ask married people you know. Look up photos of various venues in the designated city and determine what you really are envisioning for your ideal venue. Are you an elegant, grand ballroom bride? A modern, museum bride? A rustic, chic, warehouse bride? Narrow down your options, and then get back on the computer. Read real reviews from real brides. Past clients will post positive and negative experiences about vendors they have worked with. Why? Because they wanted real experience to read when they were in your shoes.

After reviewing others’ experiences, begin getting appointments on your calendar with prospective venues. Do not schedule all of the venue appointments for one day. You will be overwhelmed. Tours offer a lot of information about what a facility can offer you and shortly after viewing a few, all of those details will begin to cloud together. Take one or two tours in one day and let the information soak in.

What are you supposed to look for in a venue?

First Impression Feeling: How did you feel when you first walked into that facility? Can you imagine you and your husband-to-be there? Your guests, your family? I have heard time and time again that a bride knows her venue within the first five minutes of entering a facility. Much like when you are searching for your perfect wedding dress, you just know when you have found the right one.

Knowledgeable Staff: Are they able to offer you the answers to your questions? Did they make you feel comfortable with the information they were providing you? It’s understandable that you may have never planned a wedding before. Don’t hesitate to ask a ‘dumb question’. You should not feel pressured to choose their venue. It is important to feel comfortable with the staff at a prospective venue – chances are you will be working closely with these people if you choose their venue.

Next Steps…

You have found the perfect venue, now it’s time to set an official date. A little advice from a wedding coordinator: be flexible with your wedding date. Chances are, that perfect Saturday in June that hosts the anniversary date of your parents and grandparents and has had 75 degree weather the past 12 years could be taken. Don’t let that sway your venue decision. Why not consider a different day? Fridays have become so popular in the wedding industry. Friday is an extra Saturday in our world. Chances are, vendors can provide a discounted rate for a Friday wedding rather than a Saturday. You’ll be saving money on your end and also freeing up your guests entire weekend do what they want in the city of your venue or possibly even recover from the great time they had at your wedding.

So it’s official: you have a wedding date and the perfect venue. Now, (depending on how far out you are planning your wedding) you may relax. Enjoy that pre-marital happiness and that new, sparkly rock on your left hand. You have some time to breathe before you jump back onto that wedding planning wagon.