How To Choose A Wedding Venue

NH Wedding Photographer | Amanda Rai Photography

Chances are you’ve been dreaming about your big day for a long time. You have a certain vision in your head and you definitely have a Pinterest board dedicated to it (that you may or may not have started before you were engaged). Now it is time to nail down a date for your wedding, and that usually starts with nailing down a venue. Where do you even start? It seems daunting! There are HUNDREDS of venues to choose from within a 50 mile radius of your house!

Here are 5 steps laid out for you to help you choose a perfect venue for your perfect day!

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1. Pick a Season

First you need to decide what season you want your wedding to be in. I have another blog post that explores the pros and cons of each that you should take a gander at here. After nailing down whether you’ll be a December Bride (Hallmark Channel, anyone?) or a summer bride, or etc… move on to step number two!

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2. Non-Negotiables

Make a list of your non-negotiables for your wedding venue. Some things to think about:

– Outside Option? Inside Option? Both?

– Ceremony on Reception Location site?

– Dinner included or need caterer?

– Getting ready room available?

– Are the table linens provided?

– Bathrooms?

– Required vendors?

Next, browse Pinterest for ideas of what type of feel you want at your wedding. Ballroom? Tent? Patio? Barn? Woodsy? Oceanside? Mountains? Fields? There are so many choices. Choose the one that best fits you two!

Now you’re ready to make your list of non-negotiables. Things that the venue MUST have in order for you to book with them.

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3. Make a list of “nice to haves”

So I’m sure you thought of A LOT of things in the last section, but you realized not all of those were MUST haves. Now is the time to make your list of “nice to haves”. What are some things that you thought of that would be amazing but not really a necessity?

4. What’s your price?

Land on a price range. How much money are you willing to allocate towards the venue? Be sure you are taking into account some venues include food, tables, linens, etc. while others do not. There is a wide range of venue prices and there are sure ones out there that will fit your budget!

5. Search!

Time to search the internet and ask around for venue recommendations! Only do this AFTER you already have your non-negotiables list, your “nice to haves”, and your price range. As you search be sure that the venue is hitting all of your must haves and then narrow it down by your budget.

6. Site Visit

You think you found the perfect match? Do a site visit! Email the venue and set up a time to go take a look at the venue. Keep in mind how responsive they were to your inquiry, that says a lot about a company. It helps if you are looking at the venue in the generally season that your wedding will be in. If you want to get married in the summer time and you look at a venue in the dead of winter, it will look a lot different. At that point you have to rely on photos and have a real vision for the place!

Don’t be afraid to visit multiple sites!

As you are on site see if you can really envision your day there. If you can, the next step is to find out if they have a date in the season you want to be married in available. Bam. Booked. Done.

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The last thing I want to leave you with is, don’t stress about it. Nothing is perfect, and although you have been thinking about your wedding day your entire life…it won’t be perfect either. Keep your eye on the prize, which is…YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED! Be flexible and remember why you’re doing this in the first place :).

If this blog was helpful and you’d love more wedding guidance, snag my free Wedding Planning Checklist written specifically with future brides in mind!

meet amanda


My name is Amanda and I am a Light and Airy NH Wedding Photographer serving couples and families by creating authentic and classic images that they will cherish for a lifetime. Lots of people are anxious about getting their photos taken but I create a no stress fun experience that will leave you feeling confident. 

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