31 Real Brides, 31 Real Tips on Mastering the Venue Hunt
13 min

31 Real Brides, 31 Real Tips on Mastering the Venue Hunt

wedding venue advice, wedding venue tips

Getting your glam squad and that to-die-for dress is totally key, but honey, the real tea is all about where you tie the knot. It’s all fun in the bridal sun until the venue hunt gets a touch tricky—and yes, a little stressy. But we’re here to turn that stress into success with some sparkling insights from brides who’ve totally aced their venue finds. *Drumroll*

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Bring your photographer on a venue tour.

“Bring your photographer on a venue tour, especially if they’re unfamiliar with the location. This helps them prepare and spot photo opportunities you might miss. Capture your own photos during the tour too; these candid shots provide a realistic view of the venue’s actual space, beyond the styled website images.” – Raven K., Crestview, Florida

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Prepare a list of venue questions.

“As a Type A bride, I found it incredibly useful to have a prepared list of questions from resources like wedding blogs to clarify key venue details like accessibility and included amenities. This approach helped us efficiently assess each venue’s pros and cons.” – Rachel A., Reading, Pennsylvania

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Ask lively questions.

“Make venue scouting fun by asking the lively questions: Can we bring confetti? What about cake-cutting fees? And, are those vendor lists just suggestions?” – Kristina M., Melville, New York

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Read that fine print.

“Always read the venue contract thoroughly to understand all fees and requirements—this can save both money and stress later on!” – Faith H., Euclid, Ohio

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Master Excel for planning.

“Master Excel. Getting comfortable with spreadsheets can streamline your planning process and make everything ten times easier! It’s a powerful tool for organizing everything from guest lists to budgets.” – Deirdre M., Toronto, Ontario

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Check what the venue’s price covers.

“Check what the venue’s price covers. Can you bring your own vendors? Do they assist with setups/cleanups? Provide linen? It’s a great way to control your budget!” – Jacqueline S., Marissa, Illinois

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Haggle your heart out.

“Don’t be afraid to negotiate with venues on pricing. Many venues are willing to adjust their packages to fit your budget. A simple conversation could reduce costs more than you expect. I was able to talk my venue down from $20k to $12k!” – Rebecca K., USA

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Rain or shine, be prepared.

“Ask about plan B options for outdoor venues in case of bad weather. It’s always best to be prepared! Knowing your options ahead of time will ease your mind and ensure your day runs smoothly, no matter the weather.” – Aqsa S., Hamilton, Ontario

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No question is too silly.

“Don’t feel pressured and ask all of the questions, regardless of how silly you think they may be. Wedding planning is stressful enough!!! The last thing you need is to book a venue and plan a wedding only to be told that ‘you can’t hang that’ or ‘you can’t use that vendor.’” – Courtney M., Springfield, Kentucky

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Join the bride-to-bride buzz on Facebook.

“Utilize your local wedding Facebook pages! They are a lifesaver! No one else knows the market better than other local brides going through the same thing! Make a post and watch the recommendations flood in!” – Destani S., Puyallup, Washington

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Plan for clean up if DIYing.

“If you’re DIYing a lot of it, have a plan for clean up (and trash)! This isn’t a glamorous tip, but hauling garbage bags of cake plates and wilting flowers isn’t glamorous either.” – Alithea O., Baltimore, Maryland

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Decide your must-haves first.

“Decide your must-haves first so you can eliminate options right away. For example, accommodations on-site, outside catering allowed, or distance from the airport.” – Paige K., Jacksonville, Florida

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Experience the ‘click’ moment.

“If you’re DIYing a lot of it, have a plan for clean up (and trash)! This isn’t a glamorous tip, but hauling garbage bags of cake plates and wilting flowers isn’t glamorous either.” – Alithea O., Baltimore, Maryland

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Pick a sentimental location.

“Pick a sentimental location to you two as a couple and use that as your venue. My fiancé and I are planning to have our wedding at the cottage we met at, which doesn’t involve venue shopping at all. Easy breezy!” – Jessie E., Kitchener, Ontario

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Know what you’re signing!

“I highly recommend that you thoroughly read your contract. Sometimes, people need a lawyer to get out of contracts from other venues that are not their preferred venues due to the lack of professionalism and not giving the client what was promised, etc. It’s important to be educated on what you are signing and not just sign with your emotions.” – Nailah P., Bradenton, Florida

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Have a great connection with the venue director.

“Make sure you have a great connection and COMMUNICATION with the venue Director of Sales!! They are your direct contact! If you don’t have a great relationship from the get-go and they are not responding, move on FAST!!” – Caroline C., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Match the venue to your photo vision.

“Whatever you want your photos to look like, get that venue.” – Alan J., Cape Coral, Florida

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Ensure the venue fits your budget and guest count.

“Make sure the venues you plan to tour are realistically in your budget and can fit your guest count.” – Jaimi W., Saint Petersburg, Florida

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Discuss expectations with the venue owner.

“Have a conversation with the venue owner about your expectations! The venue can be beautiful, but the venue owner will make or break your experience. We got super lucky and fell in love with the venue (and owners!) of the first place we looked, and I absolutely cannot imagine how difficult this process would have been without their knowledge, support, and guidance.” – Kayla H., Clive, Iowa

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Consider hiring a wedding planner.

“Venue planning is no walk in the park but it certainly can be less stressful with a good wedding planner.” – Chrissy W., Livermore, California

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Have general price guidelines.

“Some general price guidelines are helpful or links to sites that can provide that insight! Once you accept the price tag and if that’s what you/your family/your significant other are willing to pay, it becomes a lot less discouraging. I would also say that making a pros and cons list and being as even-keeled as possible helped a ton because once a list of cons for one spot became too lengthy, it automatically dropped off and allowed us to focus on the realistic options!” – Maya C., Rocklin, California

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Know your guest count before venue hunting.

“Before you go venue hunting, try to get a good idea of how many people you’re looking to invite and what the venue minimum and maximum amount of people are. Some venues charge you to use the space, other venues charge you per person, so if you know how many people you’re roughly looking to invite, it will give you a better idea of what kind of cost you’re looking at.” – Nataliya Y., Atlanta, Georgia

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Ask about what’s included in the package.

“Ask what’s included in the package, is there a cleanup fee, do you provide a day-of coordinator?” – Carsten V., Ocala, Florida

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Check for decoration restrictions.

“Ask if there are restrictions on decorating (i.e., are real candles allowed); what are the setup and teardown requirements; how many guests can the venue accommodate and if that changes depending on table type; etc.” – Meghan R., Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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Choose a venue with major airports for destination weddings.

“If you’re planning a destination wedding, choose a venue with major airports and direct flights to minimize travel time and maximize your time together.” – Amber Y., Taipei, Taiwan

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Ask about the venue’s cancellation policy.

“Ask about the venue’s cancellation policy and any associated fees. Understanding this upfront can save you stress if plans change unexpectedly.” – Annam S., Milton, Ontario

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Instruct your photographer to capture the venue.

“Definitely make sure to instruct your photographer to capture plenty of pictures of the venue itself, not just the festivities. You’ll want to remember what it looked like before the party mess!” – Laura R., Mexico City, Mexico

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Get crafty and DIY.

“Get crafty and DIY! Platforms like Shein, Amazon, and Etsy have tons of cool stuff that can really help cut costs. It’s expensive all around, but worth it!” – Melanie D., Allentown, Pennsylvania

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Personalize the venue with your story.

“Share part of your story together for a part of the venue, such as a different couple photo at each table with family and friends. This will give the venue a personal touch.” – Catia Z., Vicenza, Italy

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Keep all activities at one location.

“Consider if you want everything to take place in one location—it simplifies logistics and often saves money. Have your wedding activities at one site for ease and coherence.” – Emily B., Miami, Florida

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Check for exclusive perks.

“Check if the venue offers any exclusive perks or partnerships with local vendors, such as discounted rates on nearby accommodations or bundled service packages.” – Rebecca B., Union City, Tennessee

And they lived happily ever after… There you have it, lovelies—31 chic and savvy tips to make your venue search as fabulous as yourself. Keep your spirits high and your stress low ‘cause every queen finds her palace. Here’s to finding yours with a whole lotta laughter and champagne toasts!

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