Monthly Archives: January 2018

7 Things to Know BEFORE You Contact a Wedding Venue

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wedding venue with dramatic backlighting and candlesTime is of the essence when you’re searching for the right wedding venue for a lot of reasons. Obviously, you want to book the right wedding venue (before it’s reserved!). Choosing your wedding venue is also the first of a series of wedding planning decisions—and one that you don’t want to spend a lot of time on (after all, you have a lot more to do on your wedding planning checklist!).

To get started (and finished) with this important first step of wedding planning(without touring a million different venues), sit down with your fiancé and make these major decisions BEFORE you start browsing websites and sending social media messages.

Location

To be clear, you don’t have to nail down exact location and numbers (i.e. date, guest count, etc.), but you should have an idea of where you want to hold your big day (a general idea of a city or town). If you have already reserved a ceremony site, find a wedding reception venue nearby; your guests don’t want to have to make a several hour (or even hour) drive to get from your ceremony to reception.

Your style

Every part of your wedding should reflect who you are as a couple, including your wedding venue. Once you’ve decided on the area you want to have your wedding in, think about what style wedding venue screams you. If you want to have a vintage wedding, a wedding venue with historic details can be the perfect backdrop for your wedding décor. For a couple who loves the country, look for a rustic barn. Want an elegant wedding? Search for venues with the architectural details that’ll make an impression on your guests.

Date (or month)

Again, you don’t have to nail down an exact date, but it would be helpful to have an idea of the time of year or month of your wedding. If you have your heart set on a particular wedding venue, ask for a list of dates available during the time of year or month of your wedding. But if you’re completely clueless about a wedding date, use these tips to choose the date of your wedding day.

Approximate guest count

There’ll be time later to make an exact guest list later, but almost every wedding vendor is going to ask for an estimated guest count. Don’t tackle crafting your wedding guest list alone, instead use these guest list tips to avoid hurt feelings from your fiancé and family.

Budget

A wedding budget is like a marathon. You don’t want to run out of energy at the end. When it comes to your wedding, you don’t want to have to skimp on important details because you ran out of funds. Use this template to create a wedding budget that you can stick to—and that gives you the amount you can spend on a wedding venue.

Once you have that amount, make sure you don’t go over the amount you have specified for the wedding venue. Don’t just ask for the rental fee; some venues charge overtime fees if the reception runs over a certain length of time and have additional costs that can push you over budget. Ask for the amount of the rental fee, how much time it covers, and what is included (i.e. tables, coat check staff, linens, etc.)

Wedding needs

If you have any special requests, ask them on your first phone call or message. You don’t want to cancel your reservation on a wedding venue and have to pay a cancellation fee. Add your special request to this list of wedding venue questions when you call or message them. Be wary of wedding venues that don’t respond promptly to your inquiries; if they don’t now, they may not get back to you later when you need information.

Any favorite vendors

An awesome caterer. A fantastic photographer. An over-the-top fabulous videographer. It’s normal to have a favorite wedding vendor that you want to include in your wedding day. Not every wedding venue allows any vendor into their facility; some venues only allow vendors from an approved list. If you have a favorite vendor that you absolutely want to include in your special day, don’t delay. Ask the wedding venue when you contact them, so you don’t spend your time touring a venue that you won’t consider later. When you do tour, ask questions from this list so you can make sure that wedding venue is the right one—and so you can move on to the next wedding planning step.

Red Flags to Watch for When Booking Your Wedding Venue

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elegant historic wedding venue

The road to confirming your wedding venue is a process. From asking the right wedding venue questions to touring the site, there are a lot of moments along the way that signify that this is the perfect site for your wedding day. On the flip side, there can also be a few red flags that should set off warning bells before you sign on the dotted line.

Overtime Fees

To be clear, there are usually many costs associated with renting a wedding venue, such as table and chair rental fees. This is fairly standard. What’s not common is additional costs, such as over time fees if your wedding reception runs over a certain length of time. When you first contact the venue, and in subsequent visits, ask for a full list of expenses and how long the rental fee covers.

Unreliable staff contacts

Booking a wedding venue is about more than just using the facility. It’s an experience with the wedding venue and venue staff. Most likely, you are going to have to contact the venue multiple times during the wedding planning process. If they don’t return your calls, respond to your messages, or promptly meet with you, listen to your inner voice. Don’t let your wedding planning process (or your wedding day!) be soured because the staff isn’t conscientious of your time.

Overwhelming Fine Print

Most wedding venues provide couples with a multi-page contract. Don’t shy away from the contract; reading the fine print can save you from unpleasant surprises later. However, if the contract is overly complicated and hard to understand, heed the warning bells. Never sign on the dotted line of a contract if you don’t understand what you’re signing or are worried about any language in the contract.

Lack of wedding experience

Proceed with caution if you rent a venue that doesn’t typically host weddings; the staff may not have the experience to assist you with planning and facility may not have all the spaces you need for your wedding day. There is some value in working with a venue with a knowledgeable staff that’s “been there”—especially if you need wedding planning assistance (many venues offer wedding planning-just ask!). Don’t check off a venue from your wedding venue checklist just because the site hosts weddings; instead embrace their knowledge and use it to make your day uniquely you.