Congratulations, bride and groom! You’re officially engaged. Isn’t it a blissful feeling to know you’ve found the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with?

Las Vegas brides, now that you’re engaged, you’ll have to start your Las Vegas wedding planning. While you’ll have many decisions to make along the way, one of your most important decisions is the wedding venue. Not sure how to choose where you and your groom should get married? Overwhelmed by the options? Wondering where to start?

We know you need everything you can find to make this decision. But we also know you need some fast facts. That’s why we’ve combined a checklist of what to do, where to go, and what to ask. When choosing the perfect location for your Las Vegas wedding ceremony and reception sites, you’ll be prepared to take the first big step after engagement toward making your marriage happen.

1).  Choose a date. Is this flexible to accommodate wedding venues’ busy schedules, or do you need to find a location with your exact date available?

2).  Estimate your head count (expected number of guests attending). This is usually ¾ of the people to whom you sent wedding invitations.

3).  Begin to narrow down your venue options. Attend bridal shows to speak with representatives, and search wedding web sites to get a feel for what you like.

4). Visit a venue with your groom. What are you initial reactions?

5). Decide if you mesh well with the venue’s staff. You’ll be working with them for months to a year.

6). Bring a camera and do a walk-through. You’ll want to reference these photos later. Don’t forget to take notes on which venue coincides with each photo.

7). Consider the décor. Does it fit your style? Will you need to spend additional money to decorate it?

8). Are all the amenities available that you need? This may include parking, restrooms, lounges for the bride and groom to change into wedding attire, nearby lodging for out-of-town guests, reception tables and chairs, or a wedding coordinator.

9). What’s included in the venue’s package? What about catering, tables and chairs, linens, ceremony arch, disc jockey, dance floor, wedding cake, etc.? Many venues aim to be cost-effective for brides and grooms by offering more than an empty room.

10).  Sit down with a venue representative and review the details. What’s included? How flexible is the venue with their vendors, meals, head count, etc.?

11).  Discuss what the set-up will look like for your wedding day. From the ceremony arch and gathered guest chairs to the reception room with its head table, dance floor, and accessibility to food and bar, you need to know you’ll like it.

12). Consider the lighting, indoor and outdoor, for photography and ambience. Also, are open flames are allowed, be it a unity candle or tiki torches?

13). Consider your budget. Does the venue offer a payment schedule and initial deposit that work for you?

14). Get a sample contract from each place. At home, compare the prices, pros, and cons of each venue.

15). Make the decision together with your groom, and look forward to the day you’ll be wed in a place you both love!

Congratulations again, Las Vegas brides and grooms! Best wishes as your search for your ideal venue. Feel free to utilize our Bridal Spectacular wedding service resources, on the web and at our upcoming bridal shows. Feel free to also view our “Wedding Venues” page on our website for more detailed descriptions and a Q&A of how to choose the best wedding venue for you and your groom.

(Author: Allyson Siwajian © 2010)

(Photo credit: Anthony Siwajian © 2010)