Looking for the right wedding venue is an important (crazy important!) part of wedding planning. It’s the backdrop for every decision and every photo opp. Because it’s such a big decision, it’s also a choice you want to get right—and probably have a million questions about. We’ve tried to answer as many of those questions here (and would be more than happy to answer others via email or Facebook).
What questions should I ask my wedding venue?
As you screen potential wedding venues, make sure you ask questions that can help you make sure all the boxes are checked on your venue checklist. Always tour your venue (in person or ask someone you trust) because online pictures can be misleading. Ask your wedding venue staff these questions before the tour (and take their answers to heart).
- Is the date of my wedding available? Or are there any dates available around this date/month?
- What is cost of your venue? What does that amount cover? Are there are any additional fees (i.e. overtime fees, surcharges, etc.)?
- How many can your venue accommodate?
- Do you offer wedding planning if we need it?
- Is there parking available? What is the cost of parking?
- Are multiple events held at the same time at your venue?
- What is your venue policy? Can I bring in a vendor of my choice?
- Do you have space for the ceremony and reception? (If you need space for both.)
- What is your alcoholic beverage policy? Do you provide servers?
- Is your venue wheelchair accessible?
- Does your venue provide staff? Is there a staff member I can touch base with on my wedding day (in case of issues)?
- Do you have liability insurance? (Covers you in case of an on-site injury.)
- What is your policy in case of cancellation?
- Are there hotels nearby for my guests?
- Is there space for dinner, secure storage of my personal belongings, photo opportunity, changing rooms, etc.?
- When can I schedule a tour?
What is an open vendor policy?
It’s inevitable that you’ll hear the term “open vendor policy” as you plan your wedding. An open vendor policy allows you to bring in any vendor you want for catering, décor, etc. There are some requirements, such as that the caterer has a license, but other than that the choice is up to you. If you need guidance choosing vendors, look for a venue that offers event planning or a friendly staff member that’s easy to contact (and knowledgeable and friendly!).
Venues that do not have an open vendor policy have a list of select vendors that you can use during your wedding planning. For example, they have a list of caterers that you have to choose from or an in-house caterer you have to use.
How can I make sure that my wedding venue expenses fall within my budget?
Costs can add up as you plan your wedding; some wedding venues offer a final planning meeting with a final list of expenses. This meeting allows you to make final changes that allow you to stay within budget. As you plan, use this guide to save money at your wedding venue.
What size wedding venue do I need?
Like the old fairy tale, the right wedding venue is not too big and not too small. Once you have used compiled a tentative guest list, use that number to choose the right-sized wedding venue. When you interview your venue, ask the wedding venue staff about their maximum capacity—and make sure you don’t exceed that number. A maximum capacity is set in place for the safety of your guests.
If you choose a large wedding venue and only invite a few guests, your venue is going to look empty. The opposite decision can backfire as well; a wedding venue crammed full can send your wedding guests to the door because they are uncomfortable and feel crammed in.