The first thing we officially booked for the wedding was the venue. We got engaged in February and I was back in England in April to look at venues and houses. We did lots of research before my trip and Luke booked viewings for the finalists.
I first started looking all over England before narrowing it down to the Birmingham area. I would send Luke venues and he would approve or disapprove based solely on location and how easy it would be for guests--particularly out of town guests who drive on the other side of the road--to get to. Beyond that, it's not always an easy undertaking to sift through so many available venues to find some that fit our criteria.
Ultimately, we narrowed it down to just two venues in the greater Birmingham area to see while I was there. We figured if both were a bust, we would just keep looking and view more after I moved. Luckily for us, the first venue we saw was the winner. It had everything we wanted and more and we both immediately fell in love.
The venue we chose didn't have our date available, but they had our second choice available for even cheaper than the first. They also had a fantastic quoting system available online that we could go through on our own time. We were able to make adjustments to our menu, the alcohol, the decorations, etc. and watch the prices change. Honestly, we didn't like the second venue as much, but this would have sealed the deal anyway. It was so easy to see what the costs were so we didn't feel like anything would sneak up on us or have to recalculate everything if our menu changed or our guest list changed.