A wedding venue checklist is the first step to choosing the perfect backdrop for your big day. It’s also the start of finding wonderful staff to help you plan, providing a wonderful guest experience, and checking off other key boxes on your wedding planning checklist.
Choosing the right wedding venue is important. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, especially with our wedding venue checklist, which details the process step-by-step and gives you professional tips to help as you plan your special day.
___ Set key details
The first step of choosing the right wedding venue is to talk with your fiancé and set key wedding details. These details don’t have to be incredibly specific; for example, you can choose a month or season in lieu of an exact wedding date. You and your fiancé should discuss:
- Budget (Discuss how much is available for the wedding and how you intend to pay for it. If any friends or family have expressed an interest in helping financially, contact them and ask if they would still be willing to help and the gift amount. Use these wedding budget tips and tricks as you plan, and this wedding budget spreadsheet. Or use one of these wedding planning apps, many of which have wedding budget tools that can help you set a budget and track expenses.)
- Date, Month or Season (Use this guide for choosing the right wedding date. You can set a date based on a special relationship or family date, favorite season, good time for you professionally, or one of these other criteria.)
- Estimated Guest List (You don’t have to set an exact guest list, but should have an estimate of the number of guests. Discuss whether you want a small, intimate wedding or a large celebration, then set at an estimated count. Use these tips for setting a wedding guest list. You will need this when contacting venues so you choose a wedding venue with an appropriate guest capacity.)
- Style (Decide on your wedding style. Do you want an elegant affair? A formal, vintage event? A rustic, country wedding? Or a themed wedding with coordinated details? Your style dictates the type of wedding venue you are looking for, as well as guides every detail of your special day.)
___ Make a list of stylish venues in your preferred location.
___ Research venues online
As you make a list of venues that fit your needs and style, read through online reviews on social media and on wedding websites like Wedding Wire or The Knot. While the pictures online may be beautiful, never book a venue without seeing it first.
___ Contact venues with a list of questions.
Ask each venue the following questions to determine if they are available and fit all your criteria. If the venue is a good fit, ask to schedule a tour.
- Is the wedding date available? (If you don’t have a set date, it can be easier to find a wedding venue with available dates during your desired season or month.)
- How many weddings are hosted at the venue?
- What is the venue capacity? Is there space for a ceremony and reception? If so, will my guests have space to mingle while the reception is being set up?
- What is the venue rate? What does it include? Are tables and chairs included in the venue rate? Are there any overtime fees or curfews?
- What staff and services are covered by the venue rate (i.e. coat check, bar staff, etc.)?
- Does your venue have experienced wedding planners on staff?
- Does your venue carry liability insurance? (This can be important in case a guest is injured.)
- What is the wedding venue cancellation policy?
- Are there any vendors that the venue requires us to use?
- Does the venue offer parking? Or is there parking nearby?
- Is the wedding venue handicap accessible?
- What local accommodations are nearby for my guests to stay in? Are they easy to get to?
___ Tour the venue.
Seeing is believing, especially when it comes to wedding venues. Use the wedding venue tour checklist to ensure you are choosing the venue that doesn’t just wow you, but is also the perfect fit for your special day.
___ Review the venue contract.
It’s time to go over your contract with a fine-tooth comb. Use these tips for reviewing the wedding venue contract from the Knot to ensure that you have those proverbial I’s and t’s crossed.)
___ Confirm the venue.