When booking a wedding venue you want to make sure you get all of the information about the space so that your wedding is as magical as you have always imagined it would be. Selecting a wedding venue is one of the most important parts of the wedding planning process so you want to get it right. Nothing is more disappointing than not having your wedding venue come through on your wedding day so we thought to help we would give you a list of 10 Things To Consider When Selecting A Wedding Venue to help get the ball rolling. Check out our entire list of Rustic Wedding Venues and Country Wedding Venues on our Wedding Venue list, The Rustic Wedding Guide.
1. Will It Fit My Guest List?
It is not easy to have a guest count two weeks into the wedding planning process but if you don’t have an idea of what size wedding you are going to have you will not be able to pick a venue confidently. No firm count is needed to look at venues, but one of the first questions the venue will ask a couple is how many guests you’ll be hosting. Having a rough idea of your wedding size — whether it be 60, 125 or 300 guests — will allow you to cross venues off your list without having to go look at them in person since almost every venue lists their facility size online. Searching an online venue database like the Rustic Wedding Guide will allow you to save time and not have to call, email or track down basic information about a venue.
photo: Todd Events
2. Does The Venue Offer The Look & Style You Desire?
A romantic vineyard, an urban industrial loft, an elegant barn, all of these spaces sound appealing when planning a wedding. But just like it’s not easy to fit a square peg into a round hole, it is not easy to plan a style-specific wedding at all venues. Taking into account what style wedding you want will help you choose the venues you need to visit. Many couples think that they don’t need to decide on a wedding style early on, but I think it is one of the most important decisions because you might be able to save on decorations and decor if you select a venue that suits your wedding day style.
photo: Wedding Chicks
3. Is It A Full Service Venue?
A full service wedding venue usually offers everything you’ll need for the big day. If you have little extra time to spend planning your wedding, a full service venue may be the right way to go. On the other hand if you have the time and the desire, some venues simply offer you the space and its your job to create the wedding of your dreams. Both have their advantages, so before picking either one, do a little soul searching. Either way, some venues have preferred vendors that they want you to work with, so that is something to ask about before you book the space. Working with venue-required vendors can be great because they know the space and have worked there before, but it does not give you the option of “shopping” around and finding a quote that meets your budget.
4. Will It Be Too Hot or Too Cold?
Couples probably have a good idea of what season they want to tie the knot, which will help to shape the wedding venue search. But don’t forget: many venues might showcase images from a beautiful season like summer on their websites, so make sure you ask to see pictures from the season you intend to get married. If the venue holds weddings in all seasons, make sure you ask questions such as, “Is there heat and air conditioning? Is there a ‘backup’ space if all of a sudden it starts to rain? If there is good lighting so that our guests will be able to see as the evening goes on?” While getting married might be one of the most exciting times in a person’s life, you also need to take into account any special accommodations your guests might need when selecting a venue. While any established wedding venue will have proper accessibility for people with disabilities, a venue that is not typically rented out as a business might not have full wheelchair access or adequate rest room facilities.
photo: Rustic Wedding Chic
5. What Are The Hours Of Operate?
This is a very important consideration. If you envision dancing under the moonlight followed by late night snacks and more dancing, be sure the venue allows that. Some venues have noise restrictions that limit how late you can party. Others have set hours with no option for over-time while others charge a fee past a certain number of hours. Be sure you get their “Hours of Operation” policy in writing.
6. How Much Of A Deposit Is Required?
Here a few important questions to ask about the financial requirements of a venue. Number one, what is the rental fee, what is included in that price and what is the refund policy. You can also inquire about a discount for a day or season that is not as popular. Second, how much is the deposit, when is it due and is any part of it refundable. And third, do they offer a payment plan. You should get ALL of this in writing so there are no misunderstandings! Also, be warned, many venues do not lock in your date until they have a signed contract and your deposit.
7. Do I have To Use The Venues List Of Vendors?
Some venues have a list of preferred vendors that they want you to work with. Working with these vendors can be great because they know the space and have worked there before, but if the list does not offer many options, your may not be about to find someone who can work with your budget. If your venue does not have a list of preferred vendors, they are still a good resource for referrals since they have probably worked with many of the local vendors and should know the good (and the bad.)
8. How Close Are Overnight Accommodations?
If your wedding is a destination wedding or you have guests traveling far enough that they will want to stay overnight, it’s a good idea to find out if there are enough hotels and motels in the area to accommodate everyone. It can be major problem if once you’ve booked the venue you find out that there are no adequate housing option nearby. It’s a good idea to call the local innkeepers and find out if they will provide a room block and a special rate for your guests. Most are happy to do it. Then communicate with your guests so they know their options and the date they have to book by to get the special rate and to be assured of a room at the end of the night.
photo: Rustic Wedding Chic
9. Is There Ample Parking?
In some alternative wedding venues, parking can be a huge headache and an added expense. Find out if the venue provides free parking and how many cars it can accommodate. If the answers is no, then you have to decide what the alternatives are, like hiring buses to ferry your guests to the site or if you have to provide valet parking. The venue owner will have dealt with all this before so they should be able to give you a good estimate not only of the costs but also the logistics. If it ends up being valet park, think about tipping the valet parkers in advance so your guests won’t have to.
10. Do They Have The Correct Lighting & Sound Equipment?
Good lighting is an incredibly important element in achieving the look and feel you have been dreaming about and a good sound system is essential, not only for the DJ or band, but also for the wedding party introductions and the toasts. You want to look beautiful and be heard, right? So check the fixed lighting, find out if you can add more lighting, like café lights, candles and chandeliers, and how many electrical outlets they have and where they are. You’ll want to be sure the band or DJ has access to the outlets and the caterer may need some too. If your music plans are to play your own play list, be sure they have a great sounding amp, or rent one. For an outdoor wedding or reception you may be forced to use a generator so find out if they have one available or if you have to rent one…and one note about generators, they can be loud. Try to find out ahead of time so you can do something to mitigate the noise if you end up with a noisy one. Don’t want it to drown out your wedding vows!
photo: Rustic Wedding Chic
These are 10 important considerations when deciding on a venue, but there are many more to think about as well. So make a list of all your important questions. Write down the answers when talking to the venue owners, and don’t be afraid to ask a million questions, that is the only way you will know if the venue is right for you. Take pictures and try to visit at least one more time before making a final decision, ideally while they are setting up or hosting another wedding and/or at the time of day your wedding will be held. And one more time…GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING, read the fine print of the contract and when you make changes or updates, be sure you get an updated copy signed by the venue. Good luck and Happy Venue Hunting!