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Announcing the APW Venue Directory


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Last week, I announced the APW Vendor Directory and told you that it was half of a big and secret project that I’d been working on behind the scenes. Today I get to announce the other half, which is project I’ve been dreaming of for years, and readers have been requesting for almost as long. I’m delighted to announce the APW Venue directory… with all user generated content.

Announcing the APW Venue Directory | A Practical Wedding

When I was getting married, I realized that the best way to find vendors was to find people who specifically wanted to work with people like me, so I scoured like-minded wedding blogs and found amazing people. Now you’ve got APW sponsors to help you with that project. But finding venues was decidedly more complicated. It seemed like all the best (and most affordable, and least soul destroying) venues were well-kept secrets. They were picnic sites, rooms you could rent in a restaurant, parks and rec venues, affordable campsites, hotels used in non-traditional ways, and the like. In short, they were places that didn’t advertise as WEDDING venues (which is why I wanted to use them). The trick was, you had know know a cool crowd of hip ladies to find them.

Know any crowd like that? Achem.

So, we decided to take this project online. This is how it works:

  • If you loved your wedding venue, and you want to share it with other Team Practical ladies, you can submit it to be featured in our Vendor Directory. Just fill out a form, include at least one picture of your venue (preferably one from your wedding day, let’s keep this personal), and hit submit. We’ll edit the entries to make them super lovely before they go live.
  • Only readers can submit Venues. At the moment Venues can’t submit themselves to the directory.
  • There is a 1 to 5 star venue system. Anything below 3 stars doesn’t get posted. Why? This isn’t a review site, this is a directory of venues Team Practical loves.
  • Starting on September 26th, the Venue Directory will go live, along with our Vendor Directory.
  • You’ll be able to comment on listings. So if you also got hitched at a particular listed venue, you can leave a review with your feedback.

Announcing the APW Venue Directory | A Practical Wedding

But it gets better. Thanks to Super Runaway, the whole Venue Directory is powered by Google Maps. So you can search by location and see what’s near you. You can also search by ceremony and reception sites, religious and non-religious sites, and price. Awesome.

Of course this directory only works if you enter venues. So if you loved your venue, you have your weekend project. Doing a really, really good job filling out the form will only take you fifteen minutes, tops, and will earn you good karma, and many happy future brides. And look, now you can find the Vendor and Venue Directory applications just by looking to your left. Like so:

Announcing the APW Venue Directory | A Practical Wedding

Also, as a side note for those of you interested in this sort of thing, the Venue half of the Directory Project is not revenue generating at the moment. We’re just doing it because it’s an idea whose time has come.

Submit your venue already! Yippee!

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • Hallie

    Hi, I’d love to submit my venue but I wonder if that’s cheating a little because I got married at the museum where I work. So I’d half be submitting as a bride and half as a person who does PR for a museum. What do you think?

    • meg

      I think if you got married there, loved it, and read APW, it’s fair game. Just submit it as a bride, not a PR person.

  • lolo7835

    Sigh…where was this when I was first planning?

    LOVE!

  • Meg

    Thank you! Thank you thank you thank you! This is going to make me such a happy woman. And thank you in advance to all the ladies sharing their venues. I don’t want to get married in my hometown and only know of a smidgen of venues in my current area. I am totally NOT in with the cool crowd (although my friends are super awesome) so this just makes my day.

  • http://dearwedding.wordpress.com/ Andee

    Yes!! I so wish we were getting married next year so I could use all the new awesomely cool tools here. But then again I’m super ready to be done with this task. You lucky ladies that will use it in the future!!

  • http://www.craigathenawedding.blogspot.com athena

    This is fantastic! I am forwarding it to all the engaged ladies I know!

  • SpaceElephant

    Quick logistical question (because this is how my brain works): what happens when two readers submit the same venue? Are there two listings? Do they somehow get linked? What if they give it two different star ratings?

    • meg

      We edit them into one listing. And the star ratings don’t actually show (sorry!). It’s just a way for us to make sure the person actually *liked* their venue.

  • Anne

    This is AMAZING. Of course, I wish it had been around when we were trying to find a venue, but better late than never! You’re right that this is the most difficult aspect of planning the big parts of a wedding — although we’re getting married where we both grew up, we don’t live there at the moment, and neither do most of our friends. Plus, being among the first in our social circles to get married, there wasn’t really anyone to turn to for advice on venues, whereas many people know a photographer or caterer.

    We haven’t actually seen our venue yet; our mothers went to look at it together. I hear it’s great, but not having seen it ourselves is slightly disconcerting…

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      I didn’t see our venue in person until the day before our wedding. (Thankfully, my then-fiancé had taken photos for me.) All went well though! Hope all goes well for you too! :)

  • http://suburbaliciousliving.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    This is SO AWESOME!

    • meg

      Submit. Do it.

      • http://suburbaliciousliving.blogspot.com/ Lauren

        Already searching for appropriate pictures!!

  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com/ Amanda

    Super good idea . Do you want to keep it in the US ? I am super happy with our venue, but of course this was in Holland… so I am not sure this could help anyone .

    • meg

      No, you guys, Google maps covers THE WHOLE WORLD. Why would we want to limit it to the US??

    • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

      don’t you know Meg’s ultimate goal is WORLD DOMINATION..?? ;)

      • meg

        Point. Hilarious and smart world domination.

    • Anonymous

      Please!! Please please submit a post about a great venue in Holland! I’ve spent ages trying to navigate websites in Dutch to find exactly that. :)

      • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com/ Amanda

        Dear Anon, It has been done ! If you like you can contact me through my blog (click on my name) depending on what you would like for your wedding I might have some things that could be useful for you (decor,etc) and would really love to pass it along.

  • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com/ ka

    This one been a long time coming—super big congrats! It looks like it’s going to be so awesome. :-D

  • Pingback: Announcing the APW Venue Directory « A Practical Wedding: Ideas … | Intimate Wedding Receptions()

  • Caroline

    I’m so excited about this! this will be amazing when we get ready to plan our wedding (pre-engaged now).

    Also wanted to mention, Meg, that on firefox 6.0 on windows vista, the side-bars for submissions and applications to the venue directory and vendor directory are not really showing up. They show up as a thin bar, but not like in your pic, and they don’t have words on them. Let me know if it would be helpful to email you a screenshot for your website wonder-workers.

    • meg

      It’s probably your cache.

      • Caroline

        It’s not the cache, it’s something to do with the moniter and screen resolution I think, so it’s a problem on my end, not yours. Sorry to bug you, and thanks for making such an incredibly awesome resource. You don’t know how excited I am for this!

  • Other Katelyn

    This is the bomb.com, and really perfect timing for me. Thanks!

  • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

    I thought I already commented here, maybe it got eaten. basically, this was my comment:

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS. and thank you.

  • Andrea

    Yayyy! I was just talking to my best friend last night; her parents were less than thrilled about her having a reception at her house (worried about clean up, the impact, etc), and it seemed like there were no other unique, *special* options for her. I have a feeling this will be just what she needs! ((wow am I lucky that my fiance’s parents own a tree farm)) Looking forward to checking it out!

  • http://annaandtheringlondon.blogspot.com/ anna and the ring

    Now if only I could recommend my venue!

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/sparrowgrey?ref=si_shop sparrowgrey

    Such a great idea; this resource is going to be invaluable to couples!

  • Stacey

    This is so super fantastic! You guys are amazing.

  • http://jessicaschillingphotography.com Jessica Schilling

    Awesome!

    Meg, at any point would you want submissions for wedding venues that APW vendors have worked at and think would be a good fit for APW couples?

    • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

      I’d like to know this as well! We are probably a fount of information :)

    • meg

      I think we’re going to (semi-secretly) open it up to you guys in a week or two.

  • http://www.katiejanephoto.com Katie Jane

    This is fantastic! I really wish this had been around when I was wedding planning. Finding a venue in NYC that we loved was so hard. Ultimately we did – our venue and their staff were incredible – but we spent a lot more money than we had originally intended. We just couldn’t find that mythical, affordable, hidden NYC gem. Hopefully this will help future brides avoid pulling their hair out.

  • Amy

    I loved our venue, but the owners changed hands about four months before we were married which totally changed their menu and pricing (they honored our old pricing). I still get the sense that the pricing is reasonable for a NYC venue, but I’d be guessing more than anything. Should I still submit it?

    • meg

      Sure, but I’d call to confirm pricing if you are going to. It’s important that bit is pretty accurate.

  • Amanda

    Well, my weekend project is GETTING MARRIED!

    But next weekend or so, I’ll review the venue, because so far we’re psyched about it and I have a lot to say about the good and bad (only one bad, and even then maybe most of you won’t care) aspects of our camp wedding venue.

    • FawMo

      Congratulations!

      • LanyTaz

        Congrats ahead of time!!! :)

    • ElfPuddle

      Congrats! and a camp venue….you MUST submit a grad post!

    • meg

      YAY! And finally!!!!!!!!

    • Amanda

      Grad post is already started, though there’s no telling whether I’ll end up scrapping what I’ve written once it’s all said and done.

  • Pingback: Announcing the APW Venue Directory « A Practical Wedding: Ideas … | Wedding Venues, Locations And Spots()

  • http://pinchofthis.wordpress.com Jen

    I think this is an amazing idea! I hope after the wedding that I feel comfortable recommending our venue..so far so good, but we’re a ways out!

    On a totally different note…will you someday do a hilarious post where you show us all the things people write to prove that they’re an APW reader in their submissions? I ask, because I know that there will be some funny shit in those comments….PLEEEASE?

    • http://www.thefamiliarwilderness.com Erin

      Seriously. I’m sitting here trying to figure out how I would prove I’m an APW reader, and I’ve been here for…. 3 years now!? I want to see the funny shit too!

    • meg

      Ohhh. Ok, maybe. Though lots of it is heartfelt. It’s kind of half and half.

  • FawMo

    SO PUMPED about this!! Meg, Super Runaway, all future submitters: THANK YOU! This is amazing and made my heart leap with delight.

    On a side note, it feels so awesome to be chipping away at the WIC edifice one practical project at a time.

  • marbella

    Done! This is a wonderful idea. Loved the comments after submission :)

  • Sarah

    Thank you so much! I just got engaged and I’m kind of dreading the whole wedding-planning process (although we have decided we do want a wedding). This and the vendor directory will make my life so much easier! All Maryland brides better post their vendors/venues for me! Or else.

  • Kristin H

    That’s so exciting! I was literally doing another venue search last night and thinking I needed something like this! Of course, my fiance and I are hoping to visit some potential venues in a couple of weeks when we’re in his hometown, which is before this launches – anyone have some awesome suggestions for the upstate new york area they want to share now :-)?

  • kara

    Omg i LOVE this! Finding a venue that’s not too corporate/cookie-cutter wedding has been the absolute hardest part about wedding planning. Finally settled on an art gallery after 7 other horrible venues that my fiance & I hated & my parents loved.

  • http://ashinwi.wordpress.com Ashley

    What a great, fabulous, amazing resource….thank you! I know it will help so many future brides be less frazzled (and will save them from seeing endless fruitless Google search pages in their dreams, true story). Yay!

  • Dori

    Just one small suggestion — in the future, would it be possible to add a field to the form for maximum seating capacity? One of the most annoying aspects of our venue search was trying to discern from photos how many guests could fit in the space. It would be helpful to see that “at a glance.”

    • meg

      I’m not sure we’re going to add this, because since it’s *user* submitted and not *venue* submitted, it’s hard to say that it would be accurate at all. Keeping pricing mostly accurate is going to be hard enough. But most people are commenting about size anyway. Think of our directory as a list of leads, not all the research done for you.

      • Lizzie

        Yeah – that makes sense. But given the awesome search capabilities you were getting us excited about on the vender directory, I now have a fantasy vision about being able to filter for venues that fit XXX or more guests. Due to the absurdly large size of both my and my fiance’s families, we had to eliminate a few places right off the bat. At minimum, we could give you a firm number on how many people were at our weddings.

        By the way, it’s really funny to me how excited this post and last week’s post on the vendor directory made me feel, because we’re now a little over four weeks out from our wedding, and with the exception of silly little things like the ceremony, we have it all planned. I think it’s because I really wished there was something like this that made wedding planning fun the whole time. So congratulations, Meg and team – this is really so cool.

        • meg

          This may be something we do in the future, if we start letting venues advertise directly. For now, though, we’re just seeing if it takes off :)

      • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com/ Amanda

        Dear Meg, I just submitted. And yes I confirm the pricing part was hard to fill. Mainly because we paid a price per person . So when I wrote min 26 max 65 (EUR) the website did not want to take the submission as such. (It said please insert a real number… I thought 26 was a number). The only way it accepted it is when I assumed that same price for 100 guests (because it was easy to multiply) so I went 2600 to 6500. This venue accepts groups from 30 people according to the website,so in that case obviously price would be lower. (They are very open to discussing options I am sure even smaller groups could be possible).
        I clarified all of this in a note, but -I am sure that if there is a doubt you will ask…..

  • Jen M

    OMFG THIS IS SO EXCITING!

  • http://njhootenanny.blogspot.com KWu

    Can we also submit venues that we inquired into and were really impressed by, even if we didn’t ultimately go with them? I feel like one thing that wedding review sites (which I know this isn’t, but still) are missing is that people don’t generally write reviews for people they tried to get quotes from but were unresponsive or dismissive or whatnot. There a bunch of vendors in general that I was really impressed by their professionalism upfront, even if we didn’t end up hiring them, and I’d like to help give them a bit of a boost too.

    • meg

      Nope! You won’t have pictures from your wedding to use (and I can’t use photos you haven’t given me permission to use), and you wouldn’t know for sure how it rolled out. But hopefully someone else will submit those!

      • http://moodeous.com Kristy

        Have to agree this is the way to go Meg. I’ve worked at some seemingly perfect venues that just didn’t live up to their promises and my clients were SAD. Serving meals 2 hours late, understaffed and terrible at communication comes to mind in one incidence.

      • Irene

        I definitely understand the reasoning here, but is there maybe a way to have a separate list with no information really, just the location and the name and a disclaimer that they aren’t APW vetted? I’m submitting our venue now but there were two runners-up… of course I don’t know how our wedding would have turned out there, but they’re somewhat off the beaten path, don’t really advertise they do weddings (especially one of the two), and from the surface at least they seemed pretty sweet.

        [If not, I’ll plug them here!! In the Monterey area, look into Hidden Valley Music (in Carmel Valley) and Wave Street Studios (near the Aquarium)!]

  • http://dylanandsarah.com Sarah T

    Man. I guess I’m looking forward to seeing the venues in my area after I get married. I’m pretty happy with my choice and felt I did a pretty exhaustive search of venues with my location and price constraints. Will try to “resolve to be content” however it turns out in a few weeks — it’s a process!

    • meg

      RESOLVE TO BE CONTENT. (That could be your answer to the last question…)

  • http://www.greenandcarefree.com huebscher

    Hallelujah, yo. Our venue was ridiculously wonderful (downtown! gorgeous! waaaay reasonably priced!), and despite the fact that I tell every baby bride I meet, *no one* knows about it yet!

  • http://moodeous.com Kristy

    I can not say how freaking excited I am about this. BEST. IDEA. EVER. Go forth and recommend ladies & gents!!!

  • http://apileofgoodthings.blogspot.com Erin R

    This is seriously the best thing that has happened to me today. I love you Meg!

  • Sarah

    I tried to submit one but I’m not sure it worked…is there any sort of successful submission window that pops up or anything?

    • meg

      Yes, and you get a confirmation email. The problem is probably trying to upload huge pictures and it timing out. Shrink your picture size and try again, is my best advice. Sorry, these things are tricky and it’s a new tool.

      • Sarah

        Thanks, I will! And thanks to your warning I have the whole thing saved in word.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    Do religious ceremony venues have to LGBT-friendly?

    • meg

      Short answer: no. We know people are getting married in Catholic Churches/ Mormon Temples, and we wanted you to be able to submit those. That’s why you don’t have to say that they agree with the APW Sanity Pledge, and just that they agree with APW’s general ethos. CIVIL venues should be LGBTQ friendly however. IE, you can’t change Catholic Church policy, but we don’t want people working with individuals who are just bigots.

      It’s an imperfect solution for an imperfect world, what can I say? Also, use your judgement.

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Since that was my first post, I’m gonna take a newby privilege and ask an unrelated question: When your book is published, you’re having a reading and signing at Books, Inc. right? right? right? It doesn’t matter which one (though, of course, you should do it at every single one), I’ll be there.

        • meg

          Well, I’ll do readings at bookstores. Probably independent ones!

  • Jeannine

    oooooh! love it!

  • http://www.roguebride.com Rogue Bride

    GENIUS!!! I can’t wait to post my wedding on there – just have to wait until June 2012, but the venue rocks, and is totally affordable!!! This is such a great idea. I’m pleased as punch.

  • Amber

    Is there going to be a vendor section as well as venues?

    I arranged flowers for my cousin’s wedding (“We have 5 attendants each, plus MOB/G, FOB/G and officiant. Here’s $400. The wedding’s in a week”) and the florist I found was FANTASTIC. They made everything in 4 days, matched the somewhat vague color scheme and suggested flower substitutions to come in under budget.

    I’m not sure if I will use them for my wedding (the Mr. is highly allergic to everything under the sun) but I’d love to pass the word.

    • meg

      I already announced the vendor section. The link is in the post, and on the tabs on the side of the blog. It’s paid advertisement, and right now rates start at $275 for the year.

      • Amber

        I was aware of the paid vendor section, I was just wondering if there was going to be a user-generated component, like is being set up for venues.
        :)

        Thanks for setting this up. Having a place to start for location shopping will be a big help.

  • Ris

    Oh my goodness!!! Thank you so much! I just started looking for venues YESTERDAY and I am already so overwhelmed. I spend this evening looking online with my fiance and I don’t even know what to think – I feel like the venue I’m imagining has to be out there, but it’s sure not showing itself on the internet.

    I really can’t get over it, this is just such a brilliant idea. Unfortunately it will probably not do me much good, unless there are any Tallahassee-area brides on APW. (If so, HI! Where have you been all my life?)

    Side note – I just got engaged this previous weekend (although I’m an avid reader). I’ve always imagined I’d be a chill bride, but I’m already getting the feeling that reality will be a bit different. I just want to say, I’ve already formed a personal mantra – “What Would APW Do?”

  • Sara

    Such a good thing! I really wish you would have had this two years when I was getting married, it’s so hard to find places that don’t shoot price up by like x1000000 when you mention the word wedding, especially when you all you have is $3000 or so to plan with.

    I’ve already submitted! It was the first thing I did when I saw this post!

  • http://Www.suncentered.com Jenny

    I love that APW is going in this direction! I can’t wait to use the directory to find a practical venue! I was looking at a venue the other day and it didn’t have a price, which I’m sure means it’s too expensive.

    • Kate

      I have just been in the midst of venue searching as well and also can’t wait for this. But I will say I have found emailing places without prices that some of them are surprising in that they are a lot less than I would have expected. So it is worth emailing and asking if you think you really like it.

      Photographers without prices however, always seem to be super pricey.

  • Melodious

    This is an amazing idea! I did an exhaustive search looking for venues in our area and finally found a site I never knew existed right down the street from our favorite hangout! Since it was a county property, the website was horrible and definitely not user-friendly. But the site, oh what a wonderful place! I’m so glad to have the opportunity to spread the word to prospective brides in my area.

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