Once a lady gets engaged they do one of two things - buy the dress and then hunt for the venue. That is backwards, just an FYI. It is much easier to find a dress once you know what kind of wedding you are having and where. Start like this:
1. Know what kind of style of wedding you want, and an estimated head count. Then you can start hunting for venues first.
2. Don't ask the venue how many the location holds. They are going to tell you how many they can squeeze in. After all it is their job to sell food and space. Better yet, ask for a floor plan with measurements and then have your wedding planner (HUGE HINT) or go online and create a to scale floor plan and see how many tables and guests you can fit comfortably with a dance floor, cake table, etc.
3. Find out their meal prices first if they have catering onsite.
4. Ask them about preferred professionals - do you have to use them or can you hire your own.
5. Ask what is the average cost for the weddings held there, and then ask for photos.
6. Ask for a list of written restrictions and regulations. Also ask for an inventory list of items that would be available to you.
Then head home and compare the information that you received from each venue and the floor plans and see which suits you best. Don't worry so much about the decor (carpet color, wall color, etc) depending on your budget you can always change these - or get clever and hide them in plain site.
I see a lot of brides getting in trouble because they want a pretty venue, but then don't consider the entire cost. An example:
A venue here in Greensboro charges $4,000 for a 6 hour time period. The only thing included are tables and chairs. That means you'll need linens, caterer and all of the usual professionals. If your budget is $10,000 you are going to have to get very creative.
Take your time - don't rush and think out of the box!