When it comes to looking at wedding venues, there are a few things to think about besides just the cost!
For example, you might find an amazing venue and it’s in your budget (YEEHAW!). You book your dream venue, sign the contract… and then read the fine print. You find out that you have to supply all the rentals, ie chairs, tables, linens, flatware, etc. And on top of that extra cost, you have to use their preferred caterer who has a minimum of $15,000!!
Here are the questions you should be asking:
Do they have your date available?
This is an obvious question. If you are having your ceremony + reception at the same location, your venue might actually dictate the date you get married! Choose a year and a month, and see what the venue has available.
How many guests does it accommodate?
When you’re choosing a venue, you may not have your guest list all figured out. Have a rough estimate before you start looking at venues. You have to make sure your Great Aunt Edna has a seat
What all is included in the venue?
Be sure to ask what is included with the price of the venue. This will change from place to place. Some venues may only include the rental space and nothing else. Others may include all tables, chairs, linens, etc.
Is there a preferred vendor list?
A preferred vendor list is a great perk! These are vendors that the venue has worked with before and trust to work with again. One of the many great perks about this is that they have already been to the venue, so they know what they need to bring to do their best work. Whether that be 10 uplights to create that perfect ambiance, or tape to hang floral pieces to the wall instead of hammering nails in. These vendors usually know what is up and can help you create something beautiful.
If it is an outdoor venue, is there an alternative location if there is bad weather?
PLEASE do me a favor. If you are having an outdoor ceremony and/or reception, MAKE SURE there is an alternative location. Weather is a tricky beast, (especially if you are an Ohio bride) and it cannot be tamed.
When does the rehearsal take place?
Generally speaking, you will want to have a rehearsal so your wedding party can practice before the big day. Venues usually have multiple events happening all weekend, meaning your rehearsal could be early in the morning.
What time can we set up? How long do we have to tear down?
It will take a while to set up a venue, IT WILL. I know you think it will only take a couple hours because you know exactly where everything is going to go. Unfortunately, you probably will not be setting it up yourself -- it’s your wedding!! You will be busy getting ready. So, your friends or wedding planner will be setting it up. They will need several hours to make sure all of your DIY projects and signs make it to their proper places. Additionally, when the wedding is over, who will be cleaning up? If you have hired your family and friends to help you tear down all the flowers, lanterns, and magical parts of your wedding, how long will they have? Do they have to pick up everything that night or are they allowed to pick it up in the morning?
Are there any decor restrictions?
If your Pinterest wedding includes a sparkler exit, make sure your venue allows this! A lot of venues restrict open flames, which includes sparklers and candles. If this is the case, you may have to nix your sparkler exit, and maybe trade it for a bubble exit. This also means a high price for candles since they will now have to be electric.
Is there a minimum?
Yup. There may be a minimum cost that you need to spend in order to have your special day at their venue. Some places (i.e. places that have an in-house caterer) require a minimum amount of money to be spent through food and alcohol. If you’re on a tighter budget, this may sway the place you book for your venue.
What other events may take place during my wedding?
PLEASE LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES. I didn’t think this was an issue until about a week before my wedding -- when I found out there was a renaissance festival happening at the venue. Yes, this is true. No, my wedding theme was not renaissance. Make sure to ask this question, the last thing you want (probably) is for a knight to be walking around aimlessly during your ceremony.