11 questions to ask before you book your wedding venue
You just got engaged around the holiday season, congratulations! You will be sure to see your family and friends in the next few months with all the holiday festivities. They will no doubt say Congratulations then…when/where are you getting married? Try to take a deep breath, enjoy your new relationship status and title of fiancé but do start to think about answering this question. When and where you get married is a rather important and big decision to make. Where do you start? What do you ask? What should you be looking for? Let us, a beautiful wedding venue, help you get started.
What style or feel do I want my wedding to have?
Before you begin looking around at venues you need to determine what type of wedding you want to have. Start by describing what you have always visualized your wedding to be like. Come to a conclusion with your fiancé about the style and feel for wedding day. Think about things like a particular theme, color scheme, casual or formal feel, outdoor or indoor settings, etc. Figure out that wow factor you must have at your wedding that will make your wedding stand apart from the rest. You will want to make sure the venues you look at can accommodate that activity. Once you determine your style you can narrow down venues by eliminating those that don’t fit well and continue your search with a few that might work well with your vision.
Who is paying for the wedding?
Before you start searching for venues you need to know who is paying. Maybe you and your fiancé are covering the bill. Sometimes parents would like to contribute financially and with their planning advice. Have the tough money question with these individuals in person and determine how much they want to contribute and towards what. Create a realistic budget and keep that in mind when you search for venues. You do not want to fall in love with a venue that you cannot afford.
What time of year do I want to get married?
Next, think about the time of year you want to get married. Have you always wanted a beachside wedding or a winter soiree? Hotel room rates as well as reception prices will change if the venue is seasonal. You might want to consider off season or shoulder seasons for lower rates. Also, consider major holidays and events that family might otherwise have commitments to. Is your family and fiancé’s family big football fans? Having your wedding on a fall day might interfere with the big game, deterring guests from staying focused on you or from coming all together. If you have your heart set on getting married in the current year versus the following year, you may need to be more flexible with the dates that are available then if you have a longer engagement.
Where do I find these places?
So you now have an idea of what you want your wedding day and venue to look like but you still need to find it. A Google search is always a good place to start. Search based on your location like, “weddings in York, Maine” or by style, “beach weddings in Maine.” There are also wedding specific websites like theknot.com or weddingwire.com which are great to read reviews and browse venues profiles and photo galleries. I would recommend going right to the source, the venue’s website, once you find a couple places you like. There you should be able to find contact information, more photos, as well as pricing. Also, check out their social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest; you may be able to see real weddings happening at that venue.
Setup a tour. During a tour, ask…
How many guests can you accommodate comfortably?
You should definitely have, at the very least, a rough estimate of the number of guests you plan on inviting. If a venue cannot hold the number you want to invite it should get crossed off your list immediately. Maybe the venue has indoor and outdoor space, but the indoor space cannot hold as many people as the outdoor space. This is an important question to ask because you want to accommodate all the guests you want but you also don’t want the space to be overcrowded and uncomfortable for them. Keep in mind the menu or activities that you may want at your wedding that require more space which might limit the amount of guests the venue can hold.
Photo credit: Bharat Photography & Artifact Images
Someone will be showing you around the venue. Are they the main contact person, or do you have to work with multiple people? What is the coordinator’s primary responsibilities on the day of and what you will be responsible for? You want to make sure you connect with the on-site coordinator, that they spoke confidently about the details of the venue and that he/she was professional and timely in person and over the phone or email. This is the person who will be coordinating the details of your wedding from here on out so you need to be able to trust them.
Photo credit: Artifact Images
Outdoor ceremony or reception? Bad weather backup plan?
You might be interested in a venue that can hold your ceremony or reception outside. This can be a beautiful option but it does come with risks. Ask about the backup plan if bad weather like rain, snow, wind, etc. come through on your wedding day. Tents are sometimes an option or there may be an indoor backup space as well, just ask. What do you need to rent or what does venue provide and setup for you?
Photo credit: Artifact Images
Timing? How many weddings a day? How late can you party for?
Think about what time of day you wanted to have your ceremony and reception. Your reception could range from a morning brunch to a late afternoon cocktail party to a late night dance party. Are there any restrictions for what time you can have your reception? Does the venue allow more than one wedding a day? Will you be running into another bride or wedding guests there on the same day? Some venues have restrictions regarding how late you can party due to noise, so just double check before you have to cut your party short at 9pm. If you guests can keep the party going later, do you have the option to extend the reception, can it be decided that night, and how much will that cost?
Make sure your venue can make your “wow factor” happen
There should be one thing you splurge on or have to have at your wedding reception. Is your “wow factor” a food truck, a beer boy, signature cocktails, sparkler sendoff, s’mores bar, or a performance of some sort? Some venues will have restrictions on what can be brought in or done on their property so make sure they pull off your dream or else it might be a deal breaker.
Are there any unexpected costs that will come up later?
No matter how organized and strict you are at keeping within your budget, sometimes last minute items come up that you did not expect. Ask if there are any costs that you are not accounting for. Make sure you have a realistic idea of all the costs associated with the venue to include vendor meals, rented linens, sales tax and gratuity. Ask if you can get a general price range or estimate itemizing all the specifics so you aren’t surprised later. Make sure the venue realistically fits within your budget.
What dates are available?
Whether you are set on a specific date or are more flexible, check with the venue on their availability. They may be able to put your name on the date to hold it for you, with or without a deposit. Some venues book up really fast, so make sure you keep that in mind when checking out venue availability. If they have the date you want, then say yes to the venue. Congratulations on choosing your future anniversary date!
Photo credit: Artifact Images
Go with your gut when choosing a wedding venue. Make sure you trust and feel comfortable working with the coordinators or whomever plans and runs the wedding day. They are your go-to person to make all your wedding plans run smoothly. Your venue should fit your style and personality. This a big decision about a day you will never forget, so take the time to really think about the place that will forever hold the memories of your wedding. This is your chance to make all of your dreams come true. Best of luck~