Should You Select Your Wedding Planner or Venue First?

Wedding planning can be exciting, yet there's also the overwhelming and stressful feeling when you need to make decisions. Among the things you must tackle early on is whether you should select a wedding planner or venue first. This guide can help you decide on which one to book before anything else.

Should You Select Your Wedding Planner or Venue First?

Selecting a wedding planner first is ideal, especially if you need help scouting for locations, shortlisting options, managing the budget, and negotiating deals. The only time you could book a venue first is if there's a non-negotiable location you've been targeting for years.

There are a lot of things you'll need to book when planning a wedding. However, wedding planners and the venue can significantly influence your other choices. This is why you must consider whether a wedding planner or venue should come first.

Bride and groom wearing their wedding outfits while walking hand in hand in a field

Reasons to Select a Wedding Planner First

Hiring an experienced wedding planner first can save you valuable time when choosing a venue. Planners are necessary in helping you look for the perfect venue, while a venue will only keep you doing the work.

You Need Help Narrowing Down Venue Options

A quick Google search will give you tons of wedding venues in your vicinity alone. What more when you widen your area of search?

It's worth it to hire a wedding planner first to help you create a shortlist of wedding venues based on your budget, number of guests, desired theme, and the allowable travel time.

You Don't Have the Time to Look for Venues

A survey shows that finding the perfect venue is the most time-consuming part for couples planning a wedding. About 25% of those surveyed even ended up having disagreements when selecting a venue.

Suppose you need help figuring out where to start or know what kind of venue to look for. In that case, hiring a wedding planner first is best to save yourself from having a heated argument with your partner.

A planner's job is to help visualize what you want for the wedding that suits your budget and needs. Most planners have a network of trusted vendors. For instance, there are hidden gems and unforgettably unique venues in San Francisco that you may not see on some lists online.

You Have to Follow a Strict Budget Plan

Your wedding venue will take a huge chunk of your budget, with most couples spending 40% of their budget on venues alone. However, a survey shows that 45% of couples have spent more than their allotted budget on their weddings.

Woman writing on a notebook with a silver pen

Staying within a budget is among the benefits of hiring wedding planners. Venues vary in inclusions and requirements, which can ultimately affect their price.

Wedding planners can help you compare contracts and deals. They can save you from hidden costs while securing what you need in a venue.

You Need Someone to Spot Booking Issues and Solve Them

Some couples get excited about signing a contract, especially since this means ticking off one task from your to-do list. However, here are a few examples where problems start to show.

It can be hard to see the logistical aspect of booking a venue. This usually happens to couples who only choose a location based on appearance. Wedding planners can give you a holistic picture of how everything will come together, which is why planners are expensive.

Reasons to Select a Venue First

You should only consider booking a venue first if it's your ultimate dream wedding venue and you have the budget. The venue can be the most expensive purchase you'll make for the wedding. American couples even spend $10,700 on average for their dream venues.

Here are instances where you may consider choosing a location first.

Chairs covered in white cloth aligned in a uniform way for an outdoor wedding ceremony

While you can make the booking on your own, make sure that you will check the venue's terms and conditions. Couples fall into the trap of paying more or getting less than they hoped for due to hidden charges. Wedding planners can analyze contracts to ensure you get the best deals.

Related Questions

What Is the First Thing to Work on When Planning a Wedding?

Setting a budget is the first thing you should do when planning a wedding. This way, you'll also know how much you can spend hiring a wedding planner or securing a venue. Next, you need to determine how much you can afford before moving on with subsequent wedding planning decisions.

In What Order Should You Plan a Wedding?

After setting a budget, we recommend hiring wedding planners first. From here, your planner can help you determine the best location for the ceremony and reception. The planner can also start working on other essential matters like guest lists, catering menus, motifs, and invitations.

What Do I Need to Know Before Meeting Wedding Planners?

Before meeting and asking all your questions with planners, you must determine what kind of service you need. For instance, Thomas Bui Lifestyle is perfect for couples needing full-service production for luxurious yet memorable events. You should also create a vision board to discuss what you want for the wedding.


Choosing wedding planners first before booking a venue can make the wedding planning experience much more convenient and enjoyable. Thomas Bui Lifestyle planners can take the stress out of doing site visits and negotiating with vendors to give you the best wedding venue.