QUESTIONS FOR LOOKING AT WEDDING VENUES.
Chances are, you started dreaming about your perfect wedding venue the minute you got engaged, if not before. If there’s only one place you can imagine getting married, a lot of the work in this stage will be about making your wedding fit into that space. Whether you’re still shopping around or think you’ve found your perfect venue, there are some important questions to consider:
QUESTION #1: HOW FAR AHEAD DO I NEED TO BOOK?
This is why we recommend picking a wedding season rather than a wedding date to start with: your perfect venue might be booked out for the next twelve months, while the date you had in mind is only nine months away!
If you’ve done your planning around a particular season instead of a date, and you find that you’re already past the booking window for your dream venue, you’ll have more flexibility to adjust your plans. You can decide whether to extend your engagement, or shift your plans to the earliest date for which your venue is available—whichever you choose.
QUESTION #2: WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE VENUE FEE?
Will you have to rent items like tables, chairs, linens or tents at additional cost? Are there other charges not listed online? This is a big one. Some couples will get drawn in by a venue fee that they think is within their budget, only to find out later that the add-on costs are more than they expected.
Make sure that you nail down exactly what’s included in the venue fee, so that you can get a full accounting of your costs. Consider putting all this information into a spreadsheet so that you can easily compare costs: create a column for each venue, and then list out the costs in the rows below.
QUESTION #3: HOW MANY (OR HOW FEW) PEOPLE CAN THE VENUE HOST?
This seems obvious, but the way you think about this question probably depends on how you’ve approached your planning so far.
Some couples think first about where they want to get married, and then match their guest list to the venue. Others start thinking immediately about their guest list—all the people they’d want to invite—and then find a venue to accommodate them. Neither way is right or wrong: it just depends on what your priorities are.
If you’re a venue-first person, the maximum capacity will be important, because it determines the maximum size of your guest list. If you’re a list-first planner, the maximum capacity might be a deal breaker if it can’t accommodate all your guests. (Although, keep in mind that only about 80% of invited guests will actually attend a typical wedding. Estimate accordingly.)