The first thing most of us do when we plan our wedding is to choose a venue. One of the reasons for prioritizing the venue above all else is because it sets the tone for the entirety of the event. It literally surrounds every other element of the celebration.

No matter how much time you give yourself to plan, scoring the perfect venue isn’t easy.  Luckily, there are easy ways to sidestep common pitfalls that can needlessly complicate this already daunting task.

1. Plan Ahead to Plan Ahead.

We all know that procrastination is counterproductive, but it is nevertheless a near universal phenomenon. Why? Because when we push off tasks until later, it allows us to avoid feeling overwhelmed in the moment. This is especially true when it comes to big decisions.

The best thing you can do to avoid this misstep is to set aside a specific time for the task. Write it on your calendar, and treat the date like it’s an important commitment to a friend. In this mindset you are less likely to make excuses for yourself. Once you get the ball rolling it will be easier to jump in to the rest of the planning process.

2. Take Stock of your wants and needs before you begin your search.

Sit down with your partner to decide on your must-haves in a venue, and clearly distinguish them from your hope-to-haves. Not only will it get the two of you on the same page, but it will also narrow your search to one that is grounded in reality.

Outlining these factors prior to your venue hunt will save you time and frustration. Imagine falling in love with a venue that seems perfect, only to find out that it’s not wheelchair accessible and can’t accommodate grandpa. Avoid this by starting the process with a directed approach, and separate your wants from your needs at the outset.

Remember that episode of Friends where Monica books a wedding venue before her and Chandler even get engaged because it had a two year waiting list? Well, she was clearly on to something.

There is a reason why the best venues have the longest waiting lists. If you have your heart set on that one-of-a-kind ballroom or romantic hillside vineyard, either expect to wait, or look elsewhere. If it really does check all your boxes, it might just be worth the wait.

So there you have it. Scoring the venue of your dreams might be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Take these tips into consideration, and you’ll be signing deposit papers in no time.

to recap...

  1. The longer you wait to book a venue, the less likely it is that your first choice will be available. So, anticipate your own procrastination, and actively fight it. Make an appointment with yourself, and take it seriously. Set a date and time for a planning session early on.

  2. Write first, search later. Decide on your must-haves before you do anything else to weed out unrealistic choices.

  3. The best venues can be booked-up years in advance. Carefully consider the pros and cons of holding off until a date becomes available.