Venue shopping is one of the first things on a couple’s to-do list.
Pretty much all other vendor decisions will start with your wedding date and location. There are a lot of things to consider when shopping around for a venue from location to amenities. Perfect Wedding Day is here is break it down for you and help you focus on the most important questions you need to ask your venue.
If you have a specific date in mind this has to be your number one question. If you are flexible in your dates find out what the venue has open during your months of choice.
- Ask about your specific date. The venues that are unavailable are easy to strike off your list which helps you narrow down the field.
You can also narrow down the field by season. A lot of venues are seasonal, so if you are looking at a winter wedding this will automatically scratch a number of venues off the list.
If you have your heart set on an outdoor ceremony you automatically eliminate venues that don’t have this option. Alternatively, if they do have an outdoor option, do they have a suitable indoor backup plan in case of rain?
- Ask about capacity numbers is each space. The maximum seated may not be where you want to be if you want to have a big dance floor, so consider a venue slightly bigger than what you need if this is important to you.
- Ask about accessibility if this is important to you. Accessibility in terms of stairs and elevators in all the spaces you are interested in, including the bathrooms.
- Ask about parking. A traditional banquet hall has great parking lots typically, however off-beat cool lofts and museums may not. Does the venue offer valet service for off-site parking if required?
- Ask about sharing the space. If your venue has multiple rooms, will they be running other events during yours? If this is something you are concerned about be sure to ask how the venue manages the flow of guests in each hall, including parking and security.
Some venues are full service and others are just a beautiful space. If you know which option is the best for you then you can whittle your list even further.
- Ask about catering. Does the venue have an in-house caterer, a preferred caterer or allows you to bring your own?.
- Ask about the bar. Is the venue licensed? Do they have bartenders and a stocked bar or are you bringing the bar, or hiring a bar service?
- Ask about rentals. Are tables and chairs included in the rental price? If not, how much extra are they and do you work with a vendor or so I have to source my own.
The pricing between these options and the ease of each option may influence your decision.
The Payment Plan
Payment schedules will vary from venue to venue so be sure to ask about deposits, milestones and when guest count numbers are due.
- Ask about how they take payment. Many venues will accept credit card with a fee, but most rely on checks and etransfers.
- Ask about penalties for cancelation. Unfortunate emergencies do come up. What are the policies and penalties in the contract.
What extras may pop-up?
- Ask about things like insurance, Special Occasion Permits and Gratuities. These are the most common ‘extras’ besides taxes.
- Ask about pre-wedding time. Is there a fee to come in early for setup? Is there a bridal dressing room that you can use before the wedding and is there a charge for that?
If the service during the tours and the response to emails and questions meets your expectations, then you are off to a good start. If not, you may want to think about your expectations and if the venue will meet them.
- Ask about who your main point of contact will be. Is the venue coordinator your go to person or is it someone else? Will that venue coordinator be there on the actual wedding day and if so what is their role?
The Day Of
There will be a lot of moving pieces the day of so you’ll want to make sure you have covered all the bases.
- Ask about outside vendors. What is their policy? Can you bring in any one you want or is there a list you need to work from?
- Ask for a staff list. How many serving staff will they have? Will there be security? How many bartenders will there be?