Congrats on your engagement!

Now for the fun part! Let's pick out your wedding venue. This can be hard because there are so many beautiful venues and many book up quick within 2 years. Don't let that scare you! I've got some tips to help narrow them down & great questions to consider.

#1. When are they available?

Depending on when you want your wedding, it's important to reach out as soon as you're ready to plan because they book up quick usually in busy wedding season. If you're flexible you could consider slow season which in Iowa is November - March. Also there are discounts for weddings during the weekday as well as Sundays.

#2. Your style & vision

When picking out a venue remember your style and vision for the day. Don't just settle for a style because it's available. If you can't picture yourself getting married there. Chances are you're better off without it. In Iowa we have venues that are centered around barns, outside in nature, old brick with string lights, vineyards & beautifully old mansions to name a few! Choose and look at what feels most like you!

#3. Budget

Always keep your budget in mind when looking at a venue. If you're in love with a certain venue that's way out of your budget, sit down and write out what you love about that venue the most so you can keep an eye out for others with similar aspects or style. Use this link for more tips to save for your wedding 

#4. Do you want the ceremony & reception at the same place?

Some venues have floor plans for having the ceremony & reception in the same building. Some even have outdoor space as well. If you would like to get married in a separate area such as your church or a family members back yard look for a place to hold just the reception. Another plus is when some venues that provide both space for ceremony & reception they include discounted prices for catering, and other vendors.

#5. Back up plan

Always make sure to have a plan B. For example if you have a ceremony outside make sure your venue has a back up plan incase of bad weather. If your venue doesn't have a separate area for a ceremony & reception you can do a room flip while the guests are having cocktail hour after the ceremony.

#6. Curfew

Make sure to ask a few questions regarding the venues curfew such as when you need to be out by, if you can set up the day before & if there is a extra cost for those. If you do have to be out by a certain time such as 10:00 pm make sure to start packing up an hour before. This helps you know when the party needs to start winding down.

#7. Number of guests

You can write out your guest list before you research your venue or after you tour it. If your venue has a cap and your list is over that amount. Maybe consider having a smaller ceremony and a larger reception. Find out what works best for you!

#8. Packages

Check to see if the venue provides catering, florist, referrals for hotels, other vendors and a bar etc. This can help lesser the cost

#9. Read reviews:

Read reviews for the venue, photographer, and vendors on Google, Facebook, Instagram, The Knot etc. This helps give you a perspective on others experience.