Top 5 Questions to Ask a Potential Wedding Venue
If you’re like many couples this summer and fall, you are probably starting the process of planning your 2020 wedding. You’ve got the ring, you’ve got the your person, now you need a venue. There are so many pieces and aspect of your big day that are determined by the venue you choose, so it’s important to ask all of the right questions up front to make sure it fits your wedding dreams. Today, we are going to give you the top 5 questions to ask a potential wedding venue.
1. What dates do you have available?
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to establish availability before you fall in love again, but this time with a venue. Many venue websites now have calendars that show what dates they’re already booked, so it’s easy to determine if they have a date that works for you. For venues that don’t have a calendar, a quick inquiry call or email can serve as a check.
If you have your heart set on a particular date, especially during peak months like June & September, be prepared to have a few venues that are already booked. However, here’s a little pro tip: if you are flexible on the exact date in a particular month, you are much more likely to find success at the venue of your dreams. Be sure to ask about your primary date, but let the venue know that you are open to similar dates as well.
2. How much does it cost?
Of course, this is very important because you need to know if you can afford the venue itself. However, be aware of the many other, sometime hidden, fees and costs associated with your venue. One example of an additional cost, and one of the most important, is if you’ll need additional rentals on top of the venue. This includes things like tables & chairs, linens, tents, lighting, heat, and many other things. If your venue is already at the top of your budget, and you have to bring in lots of other pieces such as these, it might be best to keep looking at other venues. Another potentially budget-busting cost is an in-house catering & bar minimum. Some venues provide all bar and catering services, and require that you spend at least a certain amount, regardless of your guest count or dinner choices. Be sure to get those details up front, so you have a better idea of the entire venue cost.
Another aspect to consider with overall cost, is if your venue is for a set amount of hours, a full day, or for an entire weekend. A venue that allows you access at noon, then requires that everyone is out at 10 pm, is much different than a venue where you can arrive onsite Friday afternoon and head out on Sunday.
3. What is included and excluded?
This goes hand in hand with the budget discussion from above, but you should ask the possible venue for a list of amenities and requirements before you sign a contract. Does your potential venue provide any lodging for your or for your guests? Does it have a getting ready space to use before the ceremony? Does it have a ceremony AND reception space? Does it include a rain back-up plan or do you need to provide that yourself with additional rentals? Does it have adequate on-site parking for your guests? Is it handicap accessible? Are there enough bathrooms provided for your guests? Is it pet friendly for your furry to be in your ceremony? Can you bring in the vendors of your choice, or do you have to choose from their list of vendors? Does it provide, or do they require a day-of coordinator?
That was a lot of questions all in one, but these little details add up and each answer could be a potential deal-breaker. It’s important that you find these things out before your big day!
4. How many people can fit?
Before you start your venue search, it’s important that you and your partner sit down and create a general invitation list. This will give you both an idea of how many guests to expect at your wedding. Try to create a realistic list, and even though you know not everyone will attend, go into your venue search with the top end of your guest count in mind. You don’t want to choose a venue that can only fit 100 guests, only to have 130 RSVP to your wedding.
Make sure your possible dream venue can fit as many guests, comfortably, as you predict. That is essential for both the ceremony and reception spaces. If your venue can only fit 100 guests inside, it’s not a good idea to put overflow guests outside and apart from your wedding.
5. Extra Details
As if all of that wasn’t enough, here’s where we add all of those other considerations. First, where will your guests stay the night of, and possibly the night before your wedding? If you have guests traveling from far away, is there an easy airport for them to fly into? If there isn’t adequate parking, can you shuttle your guests to and from? Does your venue require AWD or 4WD? What time does your venue close? If you want to party all night, a venue that closes at 10 pm might not be a good fit for you. When do you have access to the venue for a rehearsal? If it’s the morning before your wedding, it might be harder to get all of your bridal party there. How far is your venue from where you live?
A big, and oftentimes overlooked question to ask yourself when choosing a venue, is do you like person or team that you are working with while choosing? If you feel a personality clash early on, recognize that it might cause some stress later in the planning process if it’s a struggle to communicate. Also, if the venue staff or owners are unresponsive, or delayed in response times, it’s like a pattern that will continue through your time with them. If your dream venue checks every other box except this one, prepare yourself for a little extra stress leading to your wedding day.
Choosing your venue set the tone for your wedding day in so many ways. It is large chunk of your budget and can play into many other aspects of your budget as well. Also, your venue sets the mood of your wedding day more than any other element. Make sure you pick the venue that fits best with your personality and wedding day vision.