The question’s been popped, the answer was “yes!”, now you’re planning your future (which includes a wedding). Where to begin? I’d recommend the venue. Based off of my own experience, here are three things I’d wished I’d done differently when I tied the knot.

#1 Make Sure the Space Reflects Your Vision.

Before settling for and finalizing your venue, ask yourself this — “Does this space reflect my personality and/or vision for my wedding?”

There was a restored Colonial-style mansion about five minutes away from the house I’d lived in for a brief period of time. It catered to weddings and lavish celebrations alike. Because it was beautiful and I’d witnessed fun parties happening there every week, I felt like I needed to get married there one day. Even after I got engaged and took a tour, my feeling toward the venue was unshakable.

It wasn’t until the non-refundable deposit had been submitted that I felt something was wrong with my choice. Everything about it felt off — the location, the brightly colored rooms, the fact that parking was limited and we had a rather large guest list. In Orthodox Jewish culture, it’s customary for the parents to pay for their child’s wedding. This being said, I didn’t feel it was my place to tell my parents now that I just wasn’t feeling it at all, no matter how much I was craving a candle lit, exposed brick, modern affair.

#2 Remember the Venue is your Backdrop for Everything. 

This leads me to my next point — the venue is your backdrop for everything. For whatever reason, it never occurred to me that my color scheme might not fit well with the venue itself. (I chose black & white with hints of silver.) Because the walls of the main ballroom were a pale yellow with gold accents, my ivory dress, off-white table linens, and eggshell white wedding cake ended up muting the overall aesthetic. If I could have a do-over from this standpoint alone, I’d jump at the chance!

#3 Research the Owners of the Property.

If there’s one more thing I’d say to look out for, it’s this: Aside from checking out your venue in person, if you can, research the owner(s) behind the property. Whatever’s said about them online by real, paying clients, take to heart. I didn’t, and I ended up one very unhappy bride. Although I’d seen countless negative reviews online, I said to myself, “This can’t be true” or “They must be exaggerating.” When my wedding day finally arrived and half of the things they promised (and we paid for) never happened, I knew those reviewers had been right all along. (The people we worked with were not only owners of the venue, but were event planners and florists as well. Most of my wedding was in their hands, and they fell short. Big time.)

Bottom line — searching for a venue, no matter how long or short your engagement is, can be an enjoyable experience. If something feels off though — from the space itself to the people running it — really make sure this is the place you want to walk down the aisle and celebrate your relationship in. This is your day, after all. Soirée your way!