Choosing your venue can be one of the biggest wedding planning to-dos you’ve got to check off your list! No pressure or anything…
Before You Reach Out To Venues, Lock In This Information
Wedding Date: You can’t book a venue if you don’t have a date! If you have a specific date or type of year in mind, make sure you mention it to venues right off the bat. If you don’t, feel free to ask venues about their availability and see if their dates work well for you. Being flexible with your wedding date may also lead to money saving opportunities. For example, weekdays and mornings are usually less popular than weekends and evenings so you may be able to get yourself a deal!
Guest Count: When you’re reaching out to venues one of the first things they’ll ask for is a guest count. Don’t worry about being exact, just give them a ballpark estimate based on the RSVPs you’ve gotten back. You can use Loverly’s “Headcount and Guest List” PDF below to stay organized!
General Location: Are you thinking of staying local or going global for your wedding? A remote location may be romantic in theory, but going so far afield comes with a ton of added difficulties that may prove to be more trouble than it’s worth. Especially if you have any guests with mobility challenges!
Wedding Budget: You need to have your budget locked in and access to the funds. Because of the overflow from 2020-22, wedding venues are overwhelmed. If the venue you love is available on your date, be prepared to move quickly and make a deposit.
Things to Consider When Evaluating Venues
If circumstances allow, always visit your venue of choice in person before you sign anything. If for whatever reason you can’t, try to find a family member or friend to send in your place to take photos and videos. Make sure you trust them, though!
Worried about the price? Great venues are expensive. That’s just the way it goes! Try to get used to the idea that the venue will likely take up the largest portion of your budget. With that being said, if you find yourself tempted to go over budget, just remember that the money will have to come from somewhere.
Is the venue right for your headcount? Choose one that’s too big and your wedding will feel sparse. Choose one that’s too small and everyone’s going to be claustrophobic. Most venues will be able to give you a range of recommended headcounts, so don’t be afraid to ask!
How far is the venue from the nearest (acceptable) accommodations? Are you going to need to organize transportation for your guests from the ceremony to the reception and possibly to their hotel afterwards? Ask your venue if they offer a shuttle service or is this something you’ll have to plan for and budget accordingly.
What are their food and beverage processes? Some venues have specific policies in place regarding who can and cannot provide food and drink for your wedding and may charge fees for outside food, drinks, and desserts. Another question to ask is if they have in-house caterers that you’ll be required to use.
Some venues come with event coordinators! If that’s of interest to you, make sure you bring it up when you’re going for a look-see and make sure to understand the difference between a coordinator who works for the venue and a coordinator who works for YOU. At the end of the day, you want to be the coordinator's main priority, and that’s not always the case with in-house coordinators
.Does the venue close at a certain time? If you’re the type of person who wants to party all night long, make sure the venue isn’t going to cut the night short!! Most venues have to abide by city noise ordinances so it’s always important to find out the amplified sound time limits in the area.
What’s the WiFi situation? Most venues in this digital age will have WiFi but some may only provide for vendors or the wedding party. So if WiFi is important to you and your guests, make sure to ask for this information up front.
Does the venue require event insurance? Event insurance is one of those things you can live without… until you can’t. Then it’s a lifesaver. Still, some people like to save some money and skip it. If that’s your plan, make sure it’s alright with the venue before signing anything! If you - or the venue - decide that insurance is a good idea, Wedsafe and Wedsure are reliable and affordable event insurance options.
Do any of your guests have disabilities that will require accommodations at the venue? We have a few recommendations to keep in mind below, but don’t be afraid to ask directly. No one can speak to a disabled person’s needs better than that person themselves! Maybe you have your heart set on a dramatic staircase entrance. Maybe you just want to know there will be bathrooms on every floor. Everyone has ‘must haves’, and it’s important to get them on paper early so you can use them to filter potential venues.