Simcha Lourie and Alix-Ann O'Brien of Simcha's Events have these tips on what to consider early in your venue selection process.
Have a good understanding of your number of guests so you know how big or little of a space you will need so everyone is comfortable.
Narrow your selection to five or six venues based on how many they accommodate and then go and see the space in person.
Is the venue versatile? In other words, if you want to have both the ceremony and reception there, can it easily be "flipped" from one setting to the next without being a big inconvenience for your guests.
Take into consideration what you like as a couple....what venue fits both of your personalities.
Is there catering on-site OR do you have to bring in outside catering company?
Pay close attention to every detail of the wedding package. For example, are standard chairs, house linens, house napkins, chargers, standard silverware and/or China included? What else is included? What are upgrade options (i.e. chivari chairs for banquet chairs).
Since the venue and catering contracts will likely be one of your biggest wedding investments, make sure everything is spelled out clearly in the contract. Don't sign it if it's not!