8 Things To Consider When Shopping For A Wedding Venue
According to an article in Martha Stewart Weddings, in 2021 there were an average of 1,825,743 engagements. (https://www.marthastewart.com/8188494/december-holiday-engagement-season). Every one of those couples will have to go through a very similar process, regardless of how big or small their wedding is. And the first thing after hiring a wedding planner, is when and where.
To avoid the frenzy of competing with other couples over venues and dates and things getting hazy for you, the first thing we suggest after you get engaged is to have a quiet meeting with your significant other to discuss three things: 1. When do you want to get married? If you both have a specific date, great, just keep in mind that you might need to be flexible in case your dream venue doesn’t have that date available. 2. What type of wedding do you BOTH want? Big wedding, small wedding, outdoor, indoor, formal, laid back, etc. It doesn’t have to be specific, just as long as you both have a general idea and find common ground. And finally, 3. How are we paying for this wedding? What’s that budget going to look like?
Once that conversation is had, you are ready to venue shop. First things first is to make a list of venues that you want to look at so that you can have the following 8 things ready to ask:
1. Date available. Is the date you are wanting available? Are you flexible in case the date is not? Is there a price difference between a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday wedding at this venue? Are you the ONLY wedding taking place that day?
2. Vendor policies. Are you allowed to bring your own vendors? Do you have to select only from a list of preferred vendors provided by the venue? Do the vendors have to provide proof of insurance and/or include the venue in their insurance policy?
3. Guest count. How many guests does the space hold? By when do you have to give final numbers? If you signed the contract today for 150 guests but need to add more, what is the fee? If you have less than 150 guests, will you be reimbursed?
4. Cancellation and Postponement. If for some reason you must cancel the wedding or postpone it, what is the policy of the venue? (MAKE SURE YOU GET THIS IN WRITTEN FORM).
5. Outdoor portion. If the venue has an outdoor area for the ceremony and it rains, what is their rain plan? Will they allow you to have the ceremony indoors in the reception area?
6. Parking. How many parking spaces are available? Will they be enough for your guest count? Is there valet service? What is the pricing for that?
7. Hotel and accommodations nearby. What are the nearest hotels and airbnbs? Do they provide transportation from the hotel to the venue? Is there a relationship established between the venue and the hotels (some offer discounts)?
8. Set-up and breakdown. How many hours are available for the vendors to set-up for the wedding? When can items be dropped off? Are you allowed to purchase extra hours for setup if it's an elaborate décor? How many hours are set for breakdown? By what time do your vendors have to be out of the venue?
Being able to know these things upfront from the venues that you are considering will make the process of selecting a venue and working with a set venue a more pleasant experience. Many of these considerations are also things your vendors will need to know in order to be part of your wedding. And lastly, when in doubt, have your wedding planner come with you to help when visiting the venues. Happy venue hunting!