The Do's & Don'ts of Shopping For Your Wedding Venue

The first step in your wedding planning journey (besides saying YES to your fiancé) will most likely be choosing your venue. We always say that once you find your venue, the rest will fall into place.

Seems cheesy, but it’s true! Your venue will set the tone, and oftentimes budget, for the rest of your wedding. While this decision seems intimidating, it doesn’t have to be! Planning your wedding is a fun and joyful process, and we’ve got your back. Keep these do’s and don’ts in mind while shopping, and you’ll be sure to find the venue of your dreams! 

1. DO look at non-traditional wedding days

Who says weddings can only take place on Fridays & Saturdays? Have you ever considered how beautiful a winter wedding can be? When you’re looking at a venue’s availability consider not only off-peak months but also non-traditional days like weekdays. This will increase availability options for not only the venue but your dream vendors too. Did we mention that it can also save you tons of money? Imagine being able to wear the dress of your dreams, or go on that extended honeymoon!

2. DON’T shop without a guest count in mind

Have you always dreamed of a big wedding? Does great aunt Karen make the invite list? Defining your guest count is key when searching for your venue because all venues have different capacity limits. While you don’t need an official guest count, you should at least have a rough idea of how many people will be joining you to celebrate your special day. 

3. DO trust your instincts

You’ll know when you’ve found the right venue. The perfect venue will fit your vision and budget. If you find yourself debating a venue with your partner, that means it’s probably not the one. We tell our couples that the mansion is their home on their wedding day, and that is truly what your venue should feel like - home.

photos by Clewell Photography

4. DON’T bring a large entourage 

Although we want the whole family to love the venue as much as you do, the more people you bring along on your venue search, the more opinions you have to consider. While other people can point out things you may have missed, good or bad, ultimately the only opinion that matters is you and your fiancé’s. Trust us, at the end of the day your friends & family want you to be happy. If you love it, they’ll love it! 

5. DO explore

Even if you think you know exactly what you want, it is always a good idea to explore different options. You may have never considered a European style estate for your big day, but end up falling in love. Just like no two couples are the same, no two venues are the same. It is important to find the perfect blend of you and your partner! While you want to find that perfect venue, if you are considering a date during peak wedding time, don’t take too long to decide otherwise you risk losing the venue or sacrificing your dream date.

6. DON’T forget one important detail

Have fun! This is the first step towards one of the happiest days of your life, so please enjoy it! We know wedding planning can be stressful, so why not shop for a venue that can help relieve some of that stress? An all-inclusive venue like the Van Dusen Mansion blends practicality and style, making it the perfect venue for anyone looking to check several items off your wish list with one decision.

By keeping these little tips in mind, we hope your venue shopping experience will be all the more enjoyable. Our knowledgeable and experienced staff at the Van Dusen Mansion will work with you from start to finish to ease some of your stress so you can enjoy the planning process.

What To Consider When Choosing a Wedding Venue?

When embarking on the journey of wedding venue shopping, there are several key factors to consider and questions to ask your venue that can greatly impact your special day.

  • Firstly, it's essential to determine your budget and guest count, as these will help narrow down your options and ensure a comfortable fit for both your finances and the number of attendees.
  • Next, consider the location and accessibility of the venue, keeping in mind the convenience of your guests and any logistical arrangements.
  • Additionally, explore the ambiance and aesthetics of the venue, ensuring it aligns with your wedding vision and desired atmosphere. Remember to inquire about the available amenities, such as parking, catering options, and any restrictions or policies that may affect your plans.
  • Finally, trust your instincts and connect with the venue's staff to gauge their responsiveness, professionalism, and willingness to accommodate your unique requests. 

By carefully considering these factors, you can select a wedding venue that meets your needs and sets the stage for a truly memorable and magical celebration.

Wedding Venue Checklist

Planning for your wedding involves numerous details, and having a comprehensive wedding venue checklist can be immensely helpful in ensuring that you cover all the essential aspects. When considering potential wedding venues, it's important to ask the right questions and assess various factors to make an informed decision. Here is a quick wedding venue checklist to guide you through the process:

1. Location and Accessibility
2. Capacity and Layout
3. Amenities and Services
4. Flexibility and Customization
5. Cost and Contracts
6. Logistics and Restrictions
7. Insurance and Liability

By using this checklist as a guide, you can ensure that you cover all the necessary considerations and find the perfect venue that aligns with your vision for your special day.


Don’t know where to start with your planning? Check out our Wedding Budget and Vision Planner Quiz!