Updated: Jan 28
Shopping for a wedding venue is one of the most EXPENSIVE and IMPORTANT aspects of wedding planning for couples; continue reading to see what you should know before going.
Having worked for a luxury wedding venue in Atlanta and personally married at one of the most beautiful and sought-after venues in Houston, Texas I want to share my 5 most important questions to consider before you sign your name on the dotted line!
Let's use the mistakes and opportunities from myself and past brides (prior to them booking me as their coordinator) to help you make the best decision!
Question #1 - Two words...Preferred Vendors!
Many people have a love/hate relationship with preferred vendors. On one hand, as a couple, you know or should expect that these are reputable vendors who are familiar with the layout and possibilities of the venue. On the other hand, you may have had your heart set on completely different vendors that did not make the list. Make sure to get the specifics on what happens if you don't pick a preferred vendor. For example are there additional fees involved for going outside of their list, do they require a certain level of insurance, and is this outside vendor familiar with this venue?
Personally, we chose to pick a florist outside of their list and had to pay a fee. Our choice was a financial one (we could find cheaper vendors that still had a great portfolio). Make sure to factor that in; does the additional fee mentioned plus the florist's total cost make sense to go outside of the list?
Question #2 - Is a taste test included?
As a venue coordinator getting assigned to brides; this was always a question that they asked after they had already booked. Unfortunately in some venues that require the use of their on-site caterer, this is not an included option. You may need to come out of an additional $500+ to book a tasting session just to see what your guests will be served.
"Even if you've fallen in love with space, it's important to do your due diligence." – Kim Forrest WeddingWire
Question #3 - How many weddings do you allow within a day?
This was a big one for me when I was venue shopping! For most couples, you’ll want to be the only event on-site on your wedding day. If your venue allows multiples, make sure you find out how much it costs to buy out the venue. Get specifics on the booking times that each venue would be allowed. The goal is to avoid issues that can result from less setup time, limited venue access, and confusion for your guests and vendors when there are multiple events on the same day.
Question #4 - Are you able to have the ceremony rehearsal the day prior?
Many couples failed to ask this question until they were booked and getting close to the big day. If you are looking at a truly sought-after location you may need to be prepared to not have that ideal "day before" ceremony rehearsal. So before you invite your bridal party and secure your rehearsal dinner site; please ask this question!
I ended up having to have mine the morning of the wedding; talk about having faith in your bridal party! I also did not attend; instead, I scheduled my makeup/hair during that time. We had everyone else get ready prior and get to the venue for rehearsal. This ensured 1. All of our college friends would be on time for the wedding to start since they are already at the venue, 2. makeup/hair would be finished for everyone with enough time to spare, and 3. I could skip out and not increase my already high anxiety for the day while getting pampered and having a mimosa!
Question#5 - What venue restrictions do you have?
Did you always dream of having your first dance amid a floor of fog/dry ice, did you want the picturesque exit with sparklers, fireworks, real rose petals, rice, lavender, or confetti? Please ask these questions before because for many venues these items are restricted!
Share, copy or save these questions when going venue shopping. We hope you find the venue of your dreams! Schedule a free consultation to hear how we can help take the stress off of your big day with our day and month of coordination services.