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There are so many amazing venues out there to pick from. How do you start picking the right one for your special day?

Back when I got married 31 years ago, we didn’t have this many options—it was easier—you got married in a church, with a reception in the church basement or a hall of some sort, or you got married outside, or you eloped. So in today’s world where you have so many options — where do you start? After all, the venue is the first thing you should book! I hope this will help!

My top 5 must do’s when picking the venue perfect for you and your partner.

1. Talk to your partner and make sure you are on the same page. Budget, style of venue, time of year, demographics (city or country, out of state, or out of country), all-inclusive or DIY, and number of guests (yes, you need to have an idea on this when you go to look at venues because they will have a maximum capacity).

2. Start researching online. There are many tools out there to help you find venues—social media, Google, The Knot, Wedding Wire, and local wedding sites. See which ones meet your general parameters—size, style, price, and demographics. Keep a list. Check out each of those venues’ websites. Look at reviews, pictures, etc.

3. Call and talk to the owners/managers/representatives of the venue. When inquiring about their services, kindly request the pricing details for their package(s) if they are not readily available on their website. Also be sure to confirm the availability of your desired wedding date for you and your partner. It is essential to note that some venues, such as The Shamrock Ranch, may have limited availability, accommodating only one wedding per weekend or possibly not hosting weddings during certain months. Always verify these details to avoid any misunderstandings.

During the inquiry process, it is advisable to refrain from attempting to negotiate the price as this may not be well-received by the venue. Keep in mind that venue prices are thoughtfully set based on various factors, including the expenses incurred to curate an exceptional ambiance for your wedding, ensuring an attentive and professional staff to cater to your needs, and delivering the service level you expect for your special day.

If you find that the pricing exceeds your budget, graciously express your gratitude for their assistance and courteously explore other venue options that align more closely with your financial considerations.

**Side Note, when budgeting for your wedding, the 3 most expensive pieces aside from the rings are going to be: your venue, your gown, and your photographer. I wouldn’t want to cut quality in order to save a dime, would you?

4. Pick your Top 3 Venues and schedule a tour. If you go to more than 3 at a time, they will run together. If you don’t like the 3 that you visited or if they don’t have the date available when you toured, then go to the next 3. Keep it Simple.

5. Book it! Especially if you are getting married in prime wedding season. I have found at the Shamrock Ranch my Octobers and Mays fill up first, followed by my Septembers.

Good luck in your wedding planning. I hope these 5 steps help keep you and your partner from being overwhelmed!

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