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The place (or places) in which you'll hold your ceremony and reception are a key part of your wedding planning checklist. Without the venue, you have no celebration! Once you know when and where you want to have your wedding, follow these steps toward booking your location:

Take a few steps toward booking your venue.

Meet with a representative
Meet with the staff member who acts as a liaison between you and the venue. They have different titles depending on the location, such as a banquet manager or sales rep, but the website of your venue will give you the right contact information. You should have met with this person when getting more information on pricing and other details. Now that you're ready to book, set up a meeting to hold your place!

Bring a headcount and checkbook
Most venues will want a general headcount at the time of the booking, so don't attend this meeting until you know who you'll be inviting to the wedding. The venue may also determine the amount of people you can invite due to available space. Ask for the venue's limit while you're deciding on a location, then cater your guest list to that number. Once you've decided to book, you should have a general headcount.

You will also have to pay a deposit, which protects the company from lost revenue should you drop out of your agreement. The price changes depending on the location, so ask ahead of time and plan on writing a check. Some locations might also allow you to book with a credit card.

Try to bargain
Many venues have a set price for certain locations on their grounds. You can negotiate by telling your sales rep your desired price range, then asking for ways to reduce the cost. For example, select plain white tablecloths rather than colored ones or forgo seat covers during the ceremony.