1/20 How to Find a Wedding Venue Without Wanting to Kill Yourself

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How to Find a Wedding Venue Without Wanting to Kill Yourself | Photo: Katie Maier Photography

Three weeks into the New Year, and the new car smell is still wafting from the shiny, shiny ring on your finger. Wow, it’s really shiny.

The news has been spread far and wide. You’ve picked a date, you’re trolling through the wedding websites (Welcome!), hit a couple of bridal shows, and you’re finally ready to start looking at venues. You think you’ve found the perfect one. Yes! You spend a lot of time looking at pictures online before you go, and it’s fantastic. This was so easy! And then you get there. And the carpet is old and an odd color red. Or they won’t let you have candles and you have to have candles. Or it’s not big enough. Or small enough. Or it just isn’t…right. Sadly, you go back to the drawing board, and pick another place to look at. And the next one has your date available. If you want to get married at 10:30 in the morning.

Here’s the truth: I’m always a little relieved when a couple comes to me and they’ve already have their wedding site. It’s not that I can’t help them find one, because, you know, it’s my job. But in the meantime the cycle of expectation to disappointment to frustration at having to start all over? Sucks for you guys. All the wasted time, all the wasted hope, right?  I want you to find one just as quickly as you do. That doesn’t always happen, unfortunately.

With a little bit of prep, and a different mindset, you can get through this with a minimum of  frustration.

Rule #1: Do not set yourself up. Before you go and see any venue, call or email and get as much information as you can, about the stuff that’s important to you. You know how many guests you’re going to have. You know what your budget is. Just in case you end up wanting it, ask if you can have stuff like candles and live flower petals. How much is catering per person? How much is it with a full bar? If you’re afraid to ask a question, just because it might be a “no”? Ask it anyway.

Granted, there might be things that you didn’t know you didn’t want, and you only realized it once you were there. Which leads us to Rule #2: Always have back-up. I find at least three places to present to my couples, so even if site #1 doesn’t work, there are two more to look at. So, find three places, make appointments to see them all. Give yourself a little space in between visits so that you have to time to check and see that what bugged you about the first place isn’t going to be a problem in the second place. Try and get clear about what you didn’t like about it. And don’t be ashamed to ask questions like, “what color is the wallpaper?” Blue dotted wallpaper, or whatever it is you hated, is not going to go away. As a matter of fact, it’s going to show up in your pictures. Who cares about that? You do. It’s not petty, it’s your wedding, and a lifetime of memories.

Rule #3: You have to accept that it’s a process, and give into it. And most importantly, you have to believe that you’re going to find the perfect place for you. Because you will. The process is great because not only will it lead you to that perfect place, but it will define and refine what you really want your wedding to look like. And that’s never a bad thing. Give yourself a reward after each trip. After you see the Hilton, or wherever, you’re going to hit that Chinese restaurant nearby and kick off date night. Or, you know, who’s up for ice cream? I know I am. Add fun at the end of each trip.

The most venues I’ve sent my brides to before they found “IT” was five. How many did you see before you made your pick? And do you have any questions, or advice to add for those who haven’t found “IT” and are starting to feel the burn? Let me know in the comments below.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith is the owner of Silver Charm Events, a wedding planning service in Los Angeles. She's also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and the author of "DIY Your DOC: Do-it Yourself Wedding Day Coordination." Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.