Shenandoah Valley Virginia Wedding Photographer

Wedding Venue Search

All of the prep work is done. You’ve talked about your wedding vision, the budget, and ranked priorities. Now it’s time to start the wedding venue search. Your date is officially set once you have booked your venue. So this is the first step on the vendor hunt. Your wedding venue sets the stage for the entire wedding because it’s the blank canvas.

Here are 5 tips to help you find the venue of your dreams!

 1. Location of Wedding

Many couples are not from the same hometown much less the same state. Between attending colleges and meeting online there may be some distance between the two families. It is important to consider geographic location of the wedding venue. It may be ideal to select a venue in between the two families, distance-wise to accommodate travel. Or you might select a venue in your new hometown so you can show your family where you call home. This option may be easier to book vendors because it is near you.

Other things aspects to consider are proximity to downtown shopping areas, distance to a hotel, nighttime driving, inclement weather, and terrain of roads. Your guests may not all have 4-wheel drive vehicles to meet you in a field or comfortable driving up mountainsides. It is your day after all but you do want to ensure guests can easily access the venue. An alternative is providing transportation from the hotel to the venue and back as a convenience.

 2. Google Search Venues

Google, the powers of all search engines. You can quickly and easily get a glimpse into what venues are in your search area. You can view images of the venue even wedding photos taken at the venue. Bonus, you can easily map the distance between families, see what’s nearby, see point #1.

The benefit of internet browsing is that you can collect a list of venues that meet your criteria within a few hours, all from the comfort of your home. The filters and search words will even help narrow down the venues for you. There is no need to drive to every venue or spend days narrowing it down.

3. Select Your Top 5-10 & Make a Check List

Once you have a list of venues that match your criteria, you will want to narrow down the list to about 5-10 venues. Rate them from 1-10 on your favorites. You will want to record the venue name, contact information, address, and wedding information from website. Bonus, if they share the starting price point online because this will help you in narrowing down the options.

Then create a list of questions to ask at each venue to ensure you gather all of the information needed to make the best decision. These questions entail the number of guests, hours/days venue is available to you and more. Don’t worry I will be sharing the questions you should ask next week so be sure to check back.

4. Begin to Schedule Venue Tours

After your list has been created and prioritized, utilize that contact information and reach out to the venues. If possible when contacting the venues find out if your date, month or season are available before visiting. There is no point in visiting if they don’t have availability.

Again, don’t forget to utilize your wedding email address to send these messages so all the responses go to one location. Ideally, when vendors respond they will give you some options for visits. Try to plan visits with nearby venues on the same day so you can easily recall different aspects from different venues. Schedule those tours, ask the questions and find your wedding venue!


5. Narrow Down & Officially Book

After you have visited, asked all of the questions, shown family and money contributors, reach out, and find out the process to officially book. The booking process should include a deposit and contract. The contract should outline all of the items discussed that are included. This way there is no room for assumption or being open to interpretation. It’s in black and white. Don’t worry, I have you covered on contracts, a future blog post will outline everything that is needed in the contract so be on the lookout.

Next week I will be sharing questions to ask the venues when you tour so don’t officially book anything just yet. I want to ensure you know all of the information to make the best decision.


To see more of my recent engagement sessions, CLICK HERE!

To see more of my recent weddings, CLICK HERE!

Interested in scheduling a consultation to discuss your wedding, CLICK HERE!

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    Welcome to my blog! I'm so glad you're here! I am a wedding and high school senior photographer located in Virginia and surrounding areas. Take a look around the blog to see my stunning couples and amazing seniors that I get to photograph and get to know more about me and my handsome husband. Looking foward to getting to know you!




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