Booking your venue is a big wedding planning step. It’s one of the first major decisions you and your future spouse will make when planning. Many of the other important elements of your wedding, including the dress, décor and final guest list, depend on when and where your ceremony and reception will be held.

Ideally, you should book a wedding venue as soon as possible. On average, this means between 9 and 14 months in advance. You can start looking at wedding venues as soon as you decide on two important details: your budget and an estimated number of guests. The venue you choose depends heavily on these confines.

There’s a big difference between 14 months and 9 months. How much time you need to give yourself depends on your wedding preferences. If you’re not flexible on your wedding date or day of the week, book sooner rather than later. This is also true if you’re set on having your ceremony and reception during “wedding season.” Venues will book long in advance for Saturdays during the summer.

If you’re interested in a popular venue, think about looking as soon as possible. For couples leaning towards a small ceremony outdoors with a restaurant reception, 9 to 12 months before your ideal date is likely sufficient.

Having both your ceremony and reception in a single location gives you more flexibility when choosing a venue. Any date the venue is available is a possibility. A ceremony at a different location means coordinating a date with two venues. Give yourself more time to make sure your date works for both locations.

Give yourself plenty of time to find a venue. Discovering the perfect location to say “I do” and celebrate with friends and family may take time. Committing to a venue also helps you move forward with other wedding planning. Getting behind schedule when picking a venue could make planning the rest of your special day more difficult.

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