The question has been popped and the date has been set. In some cases, the date may not even be set before you begin planning your wedding. You may want to save setting the date until after you have considered where the event will take place. Regardless of what you do first, it is important to take some time to really search for the right wedding venue. Sometimes the venue dictates the style of the reception, the dress you buy and who you invite. In other cases, if you know exactly what you want, you will need to choose your venue based on what can accommodate your dream wedding. The earlier you begin searching for venues, the better, because places often book up months or years in advance. Whether you are choosing one of the basic event facilities or you want something more rustic like one of the ranches, you are going to need time to tour each place, meet with the coordinators and planner and decide for sure this is what you want. While doing this and making the decision, there are some important things to consider.
Think briefly about your guest list before venturing out to potential sites. While your venue may determine if you have less than a hundred people or if you invite everyone you have ever met, you at least need to know who must be on the guest list. Count up your family and friends so you know the absolute minimum you will have. Consider options like inviting a smaller group to the church than you do to the reception or talk to the space coordinators about having a portion of your reception outdoors. If you can be flexible, you will have more options.
Decide what the theme of your event will be. While you may not want your wedding to have a hard and fast theme like a child's party would, you at least need to determine if it will be formal or casual and whether you will have it in a setting that dictates a theme. For instance, a ballroom wedding is going to have a much different feel than one at a museum or farmhouse. All of them can be elegant and nice, but they will each have a different feeling.
Speak with the venue about what is supplied. Some venues provide all of your food, beverages and services within their company and all you do is pay one flat fee. This will leave you with fewer options, but it can take a lot of the burden off of you and your family. Other options offer just the venue and you are responsible for everything from paper goods to wine. This means you have a blank slate as far as planning, something a lot of brides love the idea of.
Your last consideration when choosing a venue is where it is located. Make sure it is not too much of a struggle for the majority of your guests to reach. While a handful of people may have to make travel arrangements, at least try to offer most of your guests a local wedding. Should you opt for a destination wedding, cut the guest list down to the bare minimum?