Congratulations! You’re engaged! But now what? While there are so many things to think about when starting to plan your wedding such as colors and themes, the first big decision will be to find your wedding venue. And since we know choosing a wedding venue shouldn’t be a decision you take lightly, we wanted to share the questions you should be sure to ask when searching for the wedding venue for your big day.
5 Questions Brides Forget to Ask When Evaluating a Wedding Venue
1. How many people can the venue accommodate?
While this is usually a question most brides don’t forget to ask up front, they often forget to ask if there are different areas or rooms within the venue that are best to accommodate different sized weddings from intimate (usually around 50-65) to large (250+). If the venue says they can accommodate your guest count, be sure to ask how its usually done and the layout of the venue, as you might not be 100% on board with how they’ll make it work. Also, sometimes with larger guest counts, some venues require a tent or only allow a standing reception vs. seated dinner.
2. What’s included in the venue fees?
Unfortunately, when searching for a venue, no two proposals or fees are created equal. Some venues provide you with a blank slate for your wedding in which only the basics are included, which most times is just an empty space and restroom facilities, while other venues can include much more including a tent, tables, chairs, linens, floral arrangements, etc. When comparing venues, be sure to add up all possible hidden costs when making the final decision, as sometimes the option that can appear to be low cost might include hidden fees you were not expecting.
3. What are the venue’s rental policies?
Some venues have specific policies that could end up costing you more in the long run as well. Some venues require that every wedding have a wedding coordinator or planner to be the point of contact for all vendors, while others have strict policies regarding the use of sparklers, confetti or flower petals. Its best to check the fine print of your contract prior to signing to ensure there are no surprises later, as you wouldn’t want to have your heart set on a sparkler exit and learn your venue doesn’t allow it. Pro tip: try to ask as many questions as possible prior to signing and negotiate any special requests up-front.
4. Does the venue allow outside caterers?
Many venues have a preferred caterer list, which is a list of caterers the venue approves to provide services at their venue. These caterers are selected and provided for brides to choose from because the venue knows they will do a great job for the bride while working within the guidelines and policies of the venue, which often times includes set-up, break-down and clean up. Always ask for the list of preferred caterers and their contact information when touring the venue to start the catering proposal process to ensure the venue and catering fees will fit within your planned budget.
5. When can we have access to the venue?
When evaluating a potential wedding venue, you may not think about the actual logistics of the day – as it may seem so very far away, especially if you have a year-long engagement. However, you’ll want to understand if your wedding is the only wedding that day or the night before and how early you’ll be able to set-up decorations, etc. Also, you won’t just want to think about access to the venue the day of the wedding, but also how flexible and responsive your contact is at the venue to be able to set-up appointments with vendors to make plans for layout, décor, etc.