When planning a wedding, selecting the ideal wedding venue is one of the most important decisions couples must make. Not only does the right venue set the tone for the entire event, but it also plays a major role in the overall success of the wedding. With so much riding on this decision, it’s important to be thoughtful and mindful when selecting the venue.
This article discusses the Ultimate Guide to the Wedding Venue Hunt.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help make sure you select the perfect venue:
First off, make sure you have decided most of these details between yourselves as a couple and any family and friends involved in the decision making process.
- Location (if there is a must or a radius)
- Approximate guest count
- Overall wedding budget (including venue, food and beverage)
- The layout and if you’d like to host the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception in one
location or separate
- The time of year you desire for your date to consider all indoor and outdoor options.
Once you’ve found a list of venues that you’d like to explore further and potentially visit, this isthe first moment that you may want to consider hiring a wedding planner if you haven’t already
so that they can take over this next step for you. Otherwise, draft an email similar to this one to
all of your favourite venues.
Dear (Venue), We are considering getting married at your venue in (Date) with approximately (Guest Count) and would love to look at a high level pricing menu and packages that you have for the space as well as understand availability for a site visit. Thank you! (Prospective Couple)
Once you start visiting prospective venues, here are some of the general questions to ask and to consider during your research or when you’re on site with a venue manager.
● Parking rules- enough for guests and leaving cars overnight?
● Is there a bridal suite or spot on site for you to leave things in if you want or get ready at the venue before hand to avoid traveling
● Is the venue in a location accessible for guests (uber, near hotels, etc)
● Are there transport companies in the area if you wanted to arrange buses from a nearby hotel with a room block to get to the venue and back at the end of the night?
● Is it accessible for anyone you might have who is older or has a wheelchair?
● Is the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception all in one place?
● Are there options for a backup indoor ceremony that you actually LIKE (if outdoor is your first choice)
● Are you able to bring anything there the night before or even morning day-of or how much time do you have for load in/set up on day of?
● Does everything have to be out that night or can you pick things up the next day?
● Do they have a generator?
● Do they have any in house vendors that you HAVE to use (in house DJ, florist, photographer etc)
● What do they do or set up on the day of and what will you or a coordinator be responsible for doing?
● Any decor that they have that you can use- table numbers, easels for signs, card box, etc. (some of this is very standard so if you like it and it’s not ugly it can cut money here and there haha, often times couples will leave these things behind at venues)
● Do you have access to the venue for any site visits before the wedding and for your rehearsal or should it be done elsewhere?
● Do they have preferred rates with any vendors in the area (photographers, bus services, hotels, etc.)
● Are you able to bring any extra decor you might want that they don’t have (string lighting, installments, chandeliers, etc.)
Some venues offer full service food and beverage options in house. If this is an option, I certainly recommend exploring it as the most items you can keep in house, the better.
First of all ask them if using their food and beverage services are mandatory, and then ask the following
● Are there packages for food and beverage in one with a per person cost? Does
this include the venue rental fee?
● Can you bring in outside alcohol that they might not carry and have served at the bar?
● Are there options for all inclusive or paying the consumption bill after the wedding?
● Do they offer menu tastings?
● If they don’t include in house food and beverage, do they have kitchen or power
accessibility for catering vendors to come in?
● Do they have tables and chairs? Are there options to select what they have in house
(is it a rental through them for each event or same stuff every event)
● Do you have to bring in and select all of your own tables, chairs, cutlery, plates, glassware, chargers, linens, etc.
● If all of this or some is provided in house, do you select or always the same?
● Extra tables for use for DJ, dessert table, receiving table, etc.
● Do they tailor to all dietary restrictions?
● Can you have an outside vendor bring in a dessert table, or do you have to use their dessert?
● Is late night food included in menu options and can this be brought in from outside vendors (lots of previous couples have brought in things like Mcdonalds, Ice Cream Trucks, etc.)
● If you’re having a cake, do they cut that and serve it or will we need to? (sometimes this ends up falling on the coordinator, we don’t mind but want to make sure they give us a knife and plates, and nice to know ahead of time)
● Wine: Is your white and red wine, still and sparkling water all included on the tables in the per head cost of food and drinks (if it’s one price)
● Do they have a minimum or maximum number of guests?
Make sure to tour the venue before you make a decision. You want to make sure the venue is properly maintained and that it will be able to accommodate all of your guests and your non-negotiables.
Take the time to speak with the venue staff and ask any other questions you have. By following
these tips, you can find the perfect wedding venue for your special day.
Your wedding venue should reflect your style and budget, so make sure to take the time to find the perfect fit. Also remember that wedding coordinators are always an option and available to you during the venue hunt to be in your corner and carry the unbiased opinions that we have based on our experience of working in hundreds of venues!
Michelle Owens found her passion and love for events over years of working in customer service, retail, hospitality and event coordination assistant positions. It wasn’t until she entered the corporate world that she realized she wanted something more; the creative freedom to plan and execute unique events all over the world, while meeting and working with great people in the meantime.
“My favourite part about weddings, parties, and celebrations is the people. I’m a total people person, and to be surrounded by such happy, wonderful and passionate individuals who are all in one place to celebrate wonderful moments- that is why I do what I do”