You’re getting married, congratulations! You have so much to do to prepare for your big day, but the first decision you need to make is when and where you’ll get married. No matter what you choose, you want to be sure it’s the right fit for you and your partner. Here are eight things to ask before booking the wedding venue of your dreams.
1.How much does the venue cost?
You should have a budget in mind before you book a venue. There will be so many details down the road–flowers, music, food, decorations, gifts for your family and bridal party–that you’ll want to be sure you don’t blow your entire budget on the venue alone. Some places, like restaurants, may not charge for a private room but require you to reach a minimum in food and beverages purchased. Confête Events said, “Find out exactly what the venue will cost you without the frills that will come into play as your planning continues.”
2. How many people can it accommodate?
You may not have the guest list finalized just yet, but you should have an idea of how many people to plan to invite. It’s important you choose the right venue for your wedding size. There will likely be a limit to how many guests a venue can accommodate and you don’t want to have to scale back the guest list just because of this. You also don’t want a room that’s too big and looks empty once it’s filled with all of your guests.
3. What hours is the venue available?
You’ll want to ask when you’re allowed to arrive and how late the party can go. If the venue only allows for an hour of set-up before the wedding, that won’t be enough time to get everything done. If the venue shuts down promptly at 10:00 PM and you know you want to dance until the sun comes up, this is something you’ll want to know before booking.
4. Does the venue have a list of preferred vendors?
A reputable venue has done this before and has established relationships with local vendors, everything from caterers to bands to wedding planners to photographers. Ask about preferred vendors and discounts they might offer. Some vendors collaborate to offer even greater discounts when booked together, but you won’t know if you don’t ask.
5. Can you bring in food and alcohol?
Most venues that provide in-house catering and bar services have very strict policies about allowing outside food and drink. If you have your heart set on a certain restaurant catering your wedding or want to purchase your own wine to save money, be sure the venue allows it and doesn’t charge you a big fee for using alternate vendors. Sometimes it’s a question of a liquor license, so you’ll want to ask about their policies on alcohol.
6. What do wedding packages include?
Venues usually have a number of packages to suit different tastes and budgets. Once you know your budget, ask to see a list of everything the package in your price range includes. You might be surprised to find you photography is included, meaning you’ll have a little extra to spend elsewhere. On the other hand, you might learn you have to rent tables and chairs separately, meaning you’ll have less in your budget for other details.
7. How involved is the staff at the venue?
Some venues are an all-inclusive experience, meaning the staff will be there to greet, serve and cater to your guests. The venue director might also act as your day-of wedding coordinator. Other venues offer the venue but no staff assistance at all, so you’ll want to ask how hands-on each venue is.
8. Are there testimonials from other couples available?
Word of mouth is a valuable resource. If online reviews of the venue are tough to track down, as the venue director about testimonials from other wedding couples. These reviews will be the most honest accounts of what it’s like to have a wedding there and might provide unexpected tips and insight for planning your own big day.