Choosing your wedding venue is probably the number one priority after you get engaged, and the place you choose to have your wedding at defines all the other elements. That is why carefully selecting your venue is so important.

To help you with your search, we’ve listed some of the key criteria that you should work with when visiting and securing your venue for the big day.

Stick to your budget

It can be quite exciting going to see a venue that’s way above your budget. Perhaps you think it would be a good idea to see what you get for your money there in comparison to somewhere cheaper? The truth is, though, that it can actually do more harm than good if it’s really out of your reach financially. You could be left with the feeling of “this is what you could have got” and wind up feeling like you’ve settled for “the more affordable option”.

Visit the venue more than once

If you’re balancing work and wedding planning (maybe even kids too), then it can be hard to find the time to do these extra things like re-visit the venue, but it’s a very important step in being truly happy with the place you’ve chosen. Like when going to see a house, you walk in with rose-tinted glasses and it’s only on the second viewing that you notice the finer details and can begin to plan how you would organise the space. It’s a good idea to bring a second pair of eyes with you too – a parent, sibling or friend – who can offer feedback.

Consider the space and lighting

If you’ve got your heart set on an outdoors wedding, then be sure to check what the back-up solution is in case of rain, and be as happy with the interior as you are with the exterior. Also, be mindful of the layout (such as where the sun will be during the ceremony or when photographs will be taken) and check that you can feasibly do the things you want to do (do you want the ceremony room and reception space to be in different locations, do you want a snug or cosy room for older guests to retire to during the loud DJ set, do you want your venue to have rooms so that people with kids can take them up to bed?).

Keep an open mind

You could well arrive at your favourite destination on paper and be a little disappointed, but then go and see your second choice and be completely blown away. Of course, it’s not all about what the place looks like either – be sure to ask questions when being shown around and take into account the package on offer. Bear in mind, also, that each wedding looks different so if you aren’t keen on the set-up you’ve seen that day, remember that you can choose to do things differently when your turn comes. Once you’ve got your own flower displays and décor in the room, it will be completely transformed!

Make sure you get ‘the feeling’

Falling in love with a venue is a bit like falling for your life partner – you need to be sure that it’s ‘the one’. The feeling shouldn’t be forced, but it can develop over time which is why multiple visits can make you solidify your love for the venue. When you find the right place to get married, everything else will fall into place!