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perfect wedding venue

A Step By Step Guide To Finding Your Venue

Happy Wedding Wednesday! This week, I get to share of the most exciting news since he popped the question! After researching wedding venues, browsing over brochures, scanning Instagram and scrolling Pinterest, John and I are so joyed to share that…

Our venue search is over! Just last weekend, we traveled south to sunny Santa Barbara where we met and first starting dating to revisit the old stomping grounds and explore the new ones, eat our hearts out at our favorite restaurants and most importantly, to visit 7 properties that could potentially be the spot we say “I do!” As coincidence has it, our dream venue was the first one we visited within the first few hours that we arrived in Santa Barbara. Though each and every venue was picturesque and unique in it’s own way, we found ourselves comparing them all to the first place we laid eyes on.

perfect wedding venue

So, what does this mean for you? Well, it means that I’m happily going to share my step by step process of how to start the search for the dream venue! I used a few different processes to scout out what we knew we would like and though time consuming, we ended up with a beautifully unique space we get to call our own next summer!

Step 1: Get An Idea Of Your Guest Count

This doesn’t need to be the final number, but talking with both sets of parents to understand how many folks you believe will be able to attend is key. The second aspect of this is to be sure you get an idea of who will be allowed to bring plus ones. This is a tricky subject that can breed a lot of outside opinions, so be sure you and your partner are being realistic with the number of guests you will be having.

Step 2: Explore Different Regions And Lock On A Few Locations

For some, this might already be nailed down for outside reasons such as a family home or a place that holds wonderful memories. For me, I knew Santa Barbara would be the ideal location for a number of different reasons, but we still explored 3 venues in Northern California just incase. You’d hate to miss out on a wonderful venue by being close minded, so take into consideration location, convenience, and climate. Don’t underestimate the locations that hold the best memories for you and your partner!

perfect wedding venue

Step 3: Start the search

There are a few different ways to go about this, and trying more than one can guarantee you find an ideal location. The first thing I did was a simple search into Goggle, which is a natural first step. From there, create a spreadsheet in your personalized Google wedding account to hold all the venue details in one spot. Create columns organized by things like location, capacity, pricing and special notes.

Step 4: Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Hashtags And Social Channels

Using Instagram, search your location and add wedding at the end. For instance, #NapaWedding will bring in so many results that are from real weddings to draw you in. Many times, wineries and smaller venues don’t have the most enticing websites but that doesn’t mean the venue is not amazing. In fact, these are how you can find the true gems that won’t be blasted everywhere online. Similar to Instagram, searching for venues on Pinterest in awesome as well. Just try your best to stay on task if you are really looking for venues only because we all know Pinterest’s wedding section is never ending! Not sure on the exact city you’ll want to wed? Expand your search regionally instead!

Step 5: Start The Outreach

The simplest way to outreach is to provide the most information possible in the initial email. You likely won’t have a date yet, but supplying the venue a range of guests, the month and year of your wedding, both of your names, and any special requirements you will need is essential to cutting down the back and forth of emails. Have this message pre-written so you can simply customize it to the venue then copy and paste the message into the email or inquiry form. Once you start receiving responses back from the venues, add all the details on the spreadsheet so no information gets lost.

Step 6: Narrow Down The Options & Schedule Tours

And this is where the fun begins! Tours provide so much insight into what you and your partner want (and don’t want) at your dream venue. We learned so much by touring a few venues before we even set foot in Santa Barbara which allowed us to be more decisive. Most tours take around 45 minutes, so depending the proximity of the venues you’d like to tour, scheduling multiple in one day worked well for us. Be sure to carve out time for lunch and a coffee break so neither of you get too tired and the energy levels stay up!

Step 7: Decide On The Venue

Quite possibly the best feeling is walking into a venue and knowing thats the place! Similar to how you know you’ve met the one, you’ll just know! With that said, take into consideration hotel proximity, venue size (you don’t want your wedding to feel too crowded or too empty), photo opportunities, budget, food options and other spots that your guests can visit if your wedding ends up being destination. Once you’ve decided, make the calls, choose the date and send the deposit check! Once you have the venue, everything else can begin!

perfect wedding venue

Photography by Melanie Duerkopp


Now that we have the venue, we can’t wait to meet with a designer from Minted to help us choose the perfect Save The Dates for our wedding! The best part is that Minted offers a free wedding invite kit so you can view the different designs, paper and colors for all your wedding stationary!

Until next Wedding Wednesday…

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