Wedding Venues…Picking out a wedding venue is undoubtedly one of the most exciting and important parts of planning your wedding. It can be magical to walk into a space and visualize your wedding day unfolding there. Usually a wedding space is one of the highest expenses on a wedding budget, therefore, you should be sure you’re doing your due diligence by knowing exactly what you’re paying for. Here are just a few of the most important questions you should ask every venue you visit on your quest to find the perfect space.
WHAT DATES ARE AVAILABLE?
Many venues book a year or two in advance, so one of the first things you should find out (possibly before even visiting the venue) is what dates the venue is available. If you have your heart set on a certain date or season, this will quickly rule out venues that are already booked. If you’re more flexible with your date make sure you write down the availability for each venue after speaking with them in person or over the phone. This makes it easier to compare the locations that sparked your interest. If you’re truly set on a particular date, try and act fast. Saturdays in particular are in high demand and another couple may end up booking your preferred date if you wait too long!
HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN THE VENUE ACCOMMODATE?
You might not have your guest list set in stone when booking your venue, but have a rough idea in mind so you can determine if the venue can fit the number of people you plan to invite. Ask the venue to explain how potential table configurations and food serving arrangements can affect the space. Sometimes if you’re serving a buffet style dinner it can reduce the number of tables that can fit in the venue, which can affect your overall headcount.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
Being that the venue is one of your largest wedding expenses, you’ll want to be certain you know exactly what you’re paying for. For example, the use of their tables, chairs or linens may be included in the price at some venues. If not, it may be an extra charge that you’re not interested in paying. If the facility doesn’t provide everything that you need for the ceremony or reception, you might need to bring in rentals for some essentials Being aware of these potential costs added on top of the venue rental fee can help you accurately plan out how to utilize a wedding loan or budget.
FOR OUTDOOR LOCATIONS, WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR BAD WEATHER?
An outdoor ceremony can make for a beautiful scene, but you want to make sure there’s an equally beautiful alternative if the weather turns sour on your big day. Talk to the venue’s coordinator about backup plans and if there will be extra costs for moving the wedding inside. You may also want to ask about tent availability or the use of portable heaters to make sure your guests will be comfortable no matter the climate.
DO YOU HAVE PREFERRED VENDORS I MUST USE?
Some venues may require that you use their catering service or select from a list of pre-approved vendors. It’s important to know this ahead of time and determine if those vendors will fit in with your budget. Additionally, if you hire a vendor that is not approved to work at a particular venue you could be in for a lot of problems! Picking great wedding vendors isn’t hard, just as long as you’re aware of any parameters ahead of time.
DO YOU HAVE AN ON-SITE COORDINATOR TO WORK WITH?
Most venues that host a lot of weddings will have someone on staff who’s responsible for coordinating events. That doesn’t always mean they’ll bustle your dress or light your unity candle though. Usually a venue coordinator’s job is to ensure that the venue is organized and everything you’ve paid them for is being fulfilled. If your venue only provides a coordinator and not a full wedding planner, you will probably want to hire a wedding planner to handle the rest of the details. Make sure you meet the venue coordinator, talk about their duties and to make sure you vibe well together. You’ll likely be having a lot of interaction with this person so you want to make sure they’re someone you trust to pull off your wedding details.
ARE THERE HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS NEARBY?
It’s important to take your guests’ experience into consideration, especially for those who will be traveling to your wedding. Reserving a block at a nearby hotel can make things easy and will ensure your guests can get home safely. If your venue is far from any hotels it would be considerate to hire a shuttle service for guests so they can celebrate without worrying about drinking and driving. Make sure you talk to your venue about all of the accommodation options they offer and about any relationships they have with nearby hotels. They might be able to secure you a special deal if you just ask!