You’re engaged! Now what? Most couples will make choosing the perfect wedding venue their first big wedding planning decision, and rightfully so! The venue choice will inform everything else in the process including your wedding style, the vendors you work with, your allocated budget and even your date. That being said, finding the perfect venue for you is not a task to take lightly! But it can also be easy as pie. All you have to do is go into each site visit you set up with the right questions in your pocket. So we’re here to help you out in that department today.
Let’s start with the basics, shall we?
Here are some facts to confirm with each venue you look at. Many venues will list this information on sites like Venue Report or Wedding Wire, so you can find access to them pretty quickly. This can be helpful at the start of your search, so you can narrow down your list of venues to tour in person. Because if one of the answers here is a deal breaker for you (I.e. capacities or accessibility), it’s best to move on!
- Price Range:
- Insurance Requirements:
- Hours included in rental:
- Venue Spaces:
- Catering Restrictions: :
- Alcohol Licenses + Restrictions:
- Music + Noise Restrictions:
- Smoking Policy:
- Pet Friendly:
- Kid Friendly:
- Handicap Accessible:
- # of Restrooms:
- Wifi Access:
- Parking Info (and fees if applicable):
- Rental Inventory Available:
- Number of Outlets/Voltage Capacities:
- Distance from Loading Dock to Space:
- Door measurements:
- Walking/Driving distance from the ceremony:
Now that you’ve done your fact checking, you can set up in-person tours at some of your favorites! Be prepared to ask the following questions if the sales coordinator giving your tour doesn’t address on his/her own.
Ask the Venue…
1. What is the availability surrounding our preferred dates?
2. What are the rates for different days of the week, and how does that differ by season?
3. As we plan our day-of timeline for ourselves and our vendors, how many hours are included in the rental?
4. How many events do you typically host in one day/weekend?
5. How do you structure the payment schedule?
6. Are there any fees we should be aware of that are not included in the main venue fee (service charges, cleaning, corkage, additional hours etc)?
7. Is catering required through the venue? If so, do you have a food and beverage minimum? What happens if we don’t meet it?
8. Can we bring outside liquor in or are we required to purchase through you?
9. What equipment does your venue provide for entertainment + dining?
10. Is there a designated room for nursing mothers?
11. What does parking look like for my guests? Will they be charged?
12. What’s your policy on sparklers, candles, hanging lights/decor, etc?
13. Will your staff help set up + break down the décor? In what capacity?
14. Can you please provide me with diagrams of the space with dimensions, as well as floorplans from past events?
15. What are the rain backup options?
16. Do you require us to use specific vendors?
Before you leave each space, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions too. Try to tour on a day that you won’t be rushed, as you’ll want to take some time by yourself to get a feel of the space as well, so leave some buffer room for those quiet moments of reflection while it’s fresh on your mind.
1. How did I feel when I entered the space for the first time?
2. Is the space harmonious with my wedding design style + mood (light fixtures, carpet pattern, wall colors, drapery, trim, etc)?
3. What are the standout perks? And what features do I love the most?
I know how overwhelming this task of finding the perfect wedding venue can feel, but rest assured that this guide is going to lead you towards a well-rounded answer that takes in the big picture (I.e. style, availability, budget) AND the intricate details (I.e. voltage capacities, accessibility, carpet pattern). And in evaluating each venue comprehensively, you can move towards a clear winner that matches your exact needs, priorities and price point. You’re gonna ace this!
Hiring a wedding planner is one of the best decisions you can make from the get-go, as they can help direct you with additional questions to ask, considerations to have based on the vision you’ve shared with them and also negotiating power. But if you’re planning on booking one further into the process or you’re just sticking with the on-site venue coordinator, you can pat yourself on the back for laying a strong foundation by addressing these questions from the beginning. The perfect wedding venue is out there, my friend. And you’re gonna find it!