When we got engaged we were thankfully given a ton of fabulous advice from friends and family who had planned weddings before. Among the advice we received, two things really stuck out to us.
1. Enjoy every minute of your engagement
2. Decide where you want to have the wedding and pick a date and a venue ASAP
We had already talked about where we might want to get married, so luckily that part of the decision was pretty much taken care of. As for finding a venue and choosing a date – those were the areas where we really didn’t know where to start. Every bride and groom is different and have different ideas and priorities. For us, we wanted to make sure we could find a place that we both loved and make sure all of our family and closest friends could be there. In turn, that meant we were willing to allow more time to find a venue and a date. It’s not for everyone, but it was how we decided to approach it!
Picking A Date
We actually went about this process in reverse – many couples choose a venue or already have something special in mind and then narrow down their date based on the venue’s availability. Our first discussion was around the time of year that we wanted to get married. While we both love fall weddings, we found the idea of kicking off wedding season in the Spring to be exciting and both love that time of year. There’s something so special and exciting about the arrival of Spring and the first warmer days. We loved the idea of getting married during that time to make it even sweeter. Once we decided that we were getting married in Dallas, weather was the next biggest factor. There are certain months that are known for having historically dicey weather and we wanted to do everything possible to steer clear of that time frame. Once we narrowed in on a vague time frame we discussed with our family and made sure that the weekends we were looking at were ideal for them as well. With that we had a few dates that we knew were feasible and started our venue search from there!
Choosing A Venue
We started where most newly engaged, completely unaware couples usually start – Google. After pulling up 3 sites consistently to look through every option under the sun for wedding venues in Dallas it became pretty clear to that there were some that were more user friendly than others. We actually sat down the weekend we got engaged with our parents to look at some venues and just “see what was out there”. If you’re starting from the very beginning and don’t have a set idea in mind for your venue, I’d encourage you to look at everything first just to see what jumps out at you and resonates with you both as a couple. We’ve been to so many weddings together that we’ve talked in passing many times about the things we loved the most about each. It was helpful to know that we were on the same page in terms of the type of wedding and style of venue that we were looking for. While we didn’t know exactly what we were looking for, we knew what we were not looking for. As with most things, process of elimination can be very helpful!
From our experience I definitely think that there are a few key things to consider once you start narrowing in on your venue “style”. While you don’t necessarily need to sit down and craft a guest list as soon as you get engaged, you can discuss a ballpark of attendees to help identify the size of venue you’re looking for. The other major thing to consider is whether or not you want to have the ceremony and/or reception indoors.
To be honest, when we first began looking I had all of these grand ideas of having our entire wedding and reception outdoors. After our first few venue visits I realized that was not only very challenging, but presented a lot of potential issues on the day of that would mean one thing–stress.
As we began to search and narrow down what we were looking for, we found that WeddingWire was by far the easiest site to navigate. It was easy to filter by capacity and type to weed out venues that wouldn’t make any sense and we were also able to expand our search using the distance from downtown Dallas as well. Each venue’s page had clear descriptions of the ceremony and reception space and was followed with real pricing info and a list of what was included. You’ll find that many of these venues have less than stellar websites, so having a central and trustworthy source for that information was huge. We also loved reading the reviews. The wedding venue is a very personal decision and the people that are a part of that day become exactly that–a part of your day. We found it incredibly helpful to hear from real couples about their experiences and the ownership of various places.
Ultimately, we found the one and it was truly all thanks to WeddingWire! We looked at a lot of venues and as we always say, everything happens for a reason. There’s a reason that they call it a process! We learned a lot along the way and realized that we still hadn’t found the right venue so went back to our search. I found our venue one Saturday when I was back on the WeddingWire site and it had everything that we were looking for and more. It initially caught our eye because of the stunning views and layout, but we also knew right away that it was within our budget, had rave 5 star reviews, was easy to get to, and just felt right. It was so relieving to know all of that information up front before we called so that we didn’t get our hopes up.
The staff was warm and friendly and so easy to work with, and we confirmed our venue just before Christmas. In the end we were so thankful to have found this place and to know that that’s where we’ll be saying our vows! For now, we’re going to keep the exact venue to ourselves until we’re able to share with all of our family and friends, but stay tuned as we continue to share more of our wedding planning process!
This post was in collaboration with WeddingWire. As always all of my opinions are exactly that–my own! :)