When I talk with those recently engaged, I always suggest tackling choosing a venue first. I believe it’s the first wedding item that should be handled because everything else will be based on it.
Selecting a venue for your wedding can be a tedious process but once you have a place secured, you’ve completed one of the big tasks. Whether you’re looking for a hotel, a restaurant or a warehouse, here are a few tips to help you choose a venue. (Note: The list below simply details a few important things you should focus on, this list does not include everything that should be asked.)
If you take anything away from today’s post, take this: You Must See The Venue In Person! Looking at a venue online is NOT what you should base your selection on. Online photos are to sell and are dressed up. When seeing a venue in person, you can actually get a feel and imagine how your wedding day will be at that particular location.
Before you go see a venue, have an ideal date in mind. That way if the venue isn’t available on or around your date and you won’t have to waste time on a site.
Space & Size
It’s important to have an estimated number for how many wedding guests you will have. You want to make sure you choose a venue that will comfortably fit you and your guests. Some questions to ask:
- Is there a location for the ceremony and reception? If not, is there adequate space for a cocktail reception while the room is being flipped? (Food for thought: If you are choosing two locations, how will transportation work? Shuttle? People drive themselves?)
- Is the dance floor big enough?
- Will people be able to move smoothly around the venue? Will there be any bottlenecks?
- Are there enough bathrooms?
If you are thinking about using a wedding planner, select a venue first as some include a wedding coordinator. Ask what the rental fee includes.
- Does it include chairs, tables, house linens?
- Do they allow use of outside vendors or only preferred vendors?
- If you’re looking at a hotel or banquet hall, does the glassware, plates and house linens work with what you envision (color, theme, decor)?
Some locations, such as a hotel, golf club or banquet hall offer food and beverage. It’s important to know this because if F&B services aren’t offered, you will have to look into an outside caterer.
Think about how the flow and operation of your wedding will go. Discuss with the venue rep any of your concerns and see if they offer a solution that works. Some questions to ask include:
- Will there be other weddings taking place on the same day?
- How many hours is the site available or will the site be yours?
- Will there be a place for the bridal party to get dressed?
- Guest parking? Coat check?
- If outdoors, is there a back up plan in the event of inclement weather? If so, what is it?
- Are there any restrictions? (Music level, time party must stop, photography, etc.)
Before you sign the agreement, make sure you understand everything about the contract. If something doesn’t make sense, don’t be afraid to ask. Some things to think about:
- What type of deposit is required? Is the deposit refundable?
- What is the cancellation policy?
- Are the additional taxes and service charges included in the number listed on the agreement?
Hopefully this helps you a bit in the selection of your wedding venue. Have questions, feel free to drop me a note.