After you get engaged the first step is usually selecting your wedding venue. Early in your search you realize just how many venues you have to choose from, but don’t be overwhelmed. Today we are going to help you breakdown the selection process.
Wedding Venue Criteria
First, you and your fiance will want to determine your wedding venue list of criteria.
- Geographic Location – Where do you want to get married?
- Wedding Date – Is there a specific date or time of year you want to get married?
- Wedding Style – What is the look and feel of your wedding?
- Guest Count – How many people will you have at your wedding?
- Budget – How much money do I have for this event?
Once you have the answers to these questions, this will be the first round of narrowing down potential wedding venues.
Need help narrowing down venue options by geographic location? The Knot, is a great tool to see which venues are in a specific area.
Contacting Venues for Information and Availability
The second step is to contact venues for information and to check availability. You can either call the location directly or complete a Request Information form on their websites. As much information that you can provide to the venue will help them give you a more customized response.
In this initial inquiry of an venue it is important to ask the following questions:
- Is my wedding date available?
If you have a specific date you want to get married, you want to confirm it’s available before you spend time touring a venue. If you narrowed it down to a couple dates or within a months time frame, you will still want to ask. This will be another factor in narrowing down your perfect venue.
- Do you have space to accommodate the number of guests I would like to have at the wedding?
- When can we arrange at tour of the venue?
Questions to Ask when Touring Wedding Venues
When touring venues, don’t forget to bring something to write down notes, especially if you are visiting more than one venue in a day. There is a lot to see and take in. Also, don’t be afraid to take pictures, this is a great tool to help you remember the look and feel of a space versus another.
Here are some of the top questions you should ask when touring venues:
- Are there other weddings at your venue on the same day?
Sometimes when there are several brides around one venue, you can lose that feeling of being special on your most important day.
- How much are your wedding ceremony and/or reception packages? What do they include? (Tables, chairs, linens, plates, silverware, glassware, menu tasting, champagne toast, cake, etc.)
Every package is different, make sure to get a clear picture of what is included and what will be extra.
- Must I use specific vendors? Do you have a list of recommended vendors?
Some venues require you to work with specific vendors, be sure to know this upfront. Especially if you have vendors in mind that you want to work with. Most venues also provide a list of recommended vendors. You are not required to work with these vendors but these vendors have a strong partnership with the venue. The relationship can help with communication and timing on the big day.
- How long do I have the venue?
You want to make sure you have more than enough time for set-up, wrapping up but also to take in every moment – these memories will last forever!
- If the venue is outdoors, do you guarantee a weather backup?
In the event of unfortunate Florida weather, it is crucial to have alternative space.
- Is there a specific time the music and reception must end?
Be aware of required end times from the venue, especially of outdoor receptions. (Outdoor events may be required by County Ordinances to end loud noise/music at a specific time) This will be important information for when booking your Band or DJ.
- What overnight accommodations are available to my guests? Do you offer a discount?
If you have guests traveling for your wedding, it is nice to offer “home away from home” fully-equipped suite accommodations for them to enjoy while they are in town.
- How much is the deposit? When is it due? Is it refundable? Is there a payment plan for the rest of the balance?
Be prepared for when payments are due. The last thing you want is a unexpected surprise that a payment is due and you are not prepared. It is also important to ask about what portions are refundable if you need to postpone or cancel for any unforeseen circumstances. It’s not pleasant to think about but important to know.
- Don’t forget to add any other questions customized to your wedding! Can I rent a horse and carriage?
If you love the venue, ask the Catering Sales Manager to put together a custom proposal for you with their policies, pricing (with service charge and tax so you can get the best idea of the total cost), and the wedding package of your choice.
This is not a complete list of important questions to ask, but they are definitely questions that come up with many of our brides!