To begin looking for the perfect venue, you have to first envision your wedding day. What do you see? Is it outdoors or indoors? Is it a chapel or a banquet hall? Is it a garden or a park? Once you have a vision of what you are really looking for, then you can begin to form your ideal location.
The most important question of course, begins with how many people? This will really change the limitations to your decisions. Only certain venues can host very large parties and only some will allow the very intimate small gatherings. Be sure to ask what the minimum limit is, if you have a small group. Discuss what is important for you and your significant other. If one of you really want to be married in a chapel for the ceremony, perhaps you can compromise on an outdoor venue for the reception after. Your wedding party will also depict the number of guests. If you have a large wedding party of sixteen people (eight on each side), you wouldn't want to have a guest count of sixteen people to match. Consider your bridal party size to be a rule of thumb for your guest count. The larger the party, the more guests, the smaller the bridal party, the smaller the guest count.
Once you have made the logistical decisions, you can start to think about what you want out of a venue. How will you be using the space? Will you be having a full buffet and open bar? Fireworks? You'll want to ensure that the space can accommodate what you are planning for your special day. You wouldn't want to book a venue and then realize you have limits interfering with your ideas. Some venues are very helpful when assisting with special requests you if you just ask.
Lastly, take the tours! If you have a wedding planner, and/or a decor designer, it's a great opportunity to take them with you and hear some of their advice and suggestions on what you can do with the space. Once you have consulted with the planner or designer and discussed a vision, they will be able to better assist with your venue choices. Don't be afraid to take a pen and notepad and write down a list of questions for the venue and your planner. The wedding planner will suggest venues based on your previous consultations so that it will make it easier for you to just weigh the pros and cons to make an informed decision.