One of the first things you should do after getting engaged is lock down your venue. Popular spots can book up to two years out, so you want to make sure you get your name on the list right away. Picking the right venue for your wedding is no easy task. There are so many things to consider, like space capacity, weather, limitations on vendors, decor – truly so many details to think through. It’s easy to get swept away by a beautiful building and find out later that there is a hurdle or issue that will now cause you big problems. So, we put together a list of 10 questions you want to be sure to ask when deciding on a venue.
We’d recommend you wear comfortable shoes to the meeting so you don’t get tired of exploring every inch, and be sure to request a floor plan so you can review spacing with your planner, rental companies, DJ and more. I would also ask if they ever have multiple events going on at once, something that was a dealbreaker for me. The last thing you want is some tipsy guest at another event crashing your carefully curated aesthetic. Ready your pencils – here’s the questions you want to be sure to ask your venue:
1.) How long will we have access to the space for? This will impact your entire timeline! What time can you get into the space to set up? What time do we need to be out of the venue entirely? Can you set up the day before? Ask these questions on your first walkthrough so you have answers for all of your vendors down the line.
2.) How will parking be handled? Nothing will upset your guests like not being able to find a convenient place to park for the wedding. Make sure it is clear where people can park and what kind of special arrangements might need to be made. If multiple events are happening at the venue, this can make parking an extra-special nightmare. – Steve Robertson, CEO, Eventective
3.) What rentals do you provide in house? Some venues have tables, chairs, and even tabletop items if they offer in-house catering. See what they have to offer on your walkthrough and then you can make decisions about bringing in a rental company for specialty items!
4.) What can I do to make sure my guests are comfortable? Heating and lighting are two things that most guests will never notice unless there is something wrong. When you add hundreds of people to a room, climate needs change dramatically, and you want to make sure the venue you select can adjust. Additionally, lighting has a great ability to improve or worsen your guests’ experience. – Steve Robertson, CEO, Eventective
5.) Do I need insurance? It is very important to know who is responsible when something goes wrong. We all hope that nothing goes wrong, but there is a myriad of things that can happen when a large group of people come together. Understanding what might be covered by the insurance of the venue and what you might need to cover with separate insurance is a vital discussion to have during your venue walk-through. – Steve Robertson, CEO, Eventective
6.) Do you have a weather back up plan? This question is especially important for outdoor venues. Some venues have built-in weather backup plans which can be a lifesaver down the line. If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding, this is time to discuss tent rentals, umbrellas, the works. You do not want to be stressing about this the week of your wedding.
7.) Do you partner with specific vendors? Make sure you know whether or not the venue has exclusive partnerships with vendors. Especially when it comes to catering and bar. If it is the case that one catering company or chef is exclusive, the costs associated with feeding the guests and creating a wonderful reception should already be laid out. It is important to ask for package information with catering and bar options and ask for a generated proposal, that includes all fees, so you are able to really see what your per person cost average would be. – Sarah Kuhlberg, Creative Director, Colette’s Catering
8.) What can your space hold? The right venue can be the centerpiece of any big event! Big views and exquisite dining rooms can reduce the need for excessive decor. Lean on the venue management team to get tips on what has worked for previous clients and how you can build on that to make your day extra special. – Joel Lippman, Director of Sales and Marketing, Hutton Brickyards
9.) Where will the sun set? You know you’re going to want those golden hour photos, so find out where the sun will set at your particular venue! This can also be helpful when determining how to orient the ceremony and where you might need extra shade.
10.) Will I have access the day before for a rehearsal? Some venues guarantee access to the venue the day before, but some don’t! Make sure you know in advance so you can plan an alternate rehearsal location if necessary.