The most frustrating part of finding a venue is the initial research. To get started, you need to know what questions to ask, and a place to keep the answers. We’ve prepped you with a FREE venue search checklist that will do both.
Your wedding venue is the biggest ticket item you should book first, as it will set the feel & tone for your overall day, and most importantly, hold your wedding date!
Much like choosing a college, venues and their websites are all completely different. Different venue websites will offer a variety of information in various places, and sometimes none at all. While the Venue Search Checklist Download has all the questions you should ask a venue when you finally meet, there are some initial questions you should ask before you even add that venue to your list of possible places to host your big day.
1. Is this venue in the budget?
Do not frustrate yourself by keeping a $20,000 venue on your list when that’s the entirety of your wedding budget.
When a venue’s prices say “starting at,” that usually means that is the base price of the venue, and may not include things such as more hours, cleaning fees, or possible gratuity that you will be required to pay.
Get a clear number! Ask the potential venue for a specific breakdown of their prices so you have a set price to easily compare.
Still in love with that too-expensive venue? Read on for some tips on how flexible dates may help lower that price!
2. Have more than 1 date
If you have a very specific date in mind, feel free to call the venue and see if that day is available. Otherwise, you should have a couple weekends you would be open to if the venue says they don’t have your 1st choice.
Don’t rule out Fridays or Sundays! A lot of times venues will have your weekend available the day before or after, AND with discounted rates. Having a wedding on a Friday also gives your out of town guests extra days for travel.
3. Does this venue’s capacity fit our guest list?
If you’re planning on inviting 200 guests, don’t waste your time putting that small bungalow venue that only seats 50 on your list. While venues may be willing to work with you to stretch their seating, just because they can make 150 seats work, doesn’t mean they should.
Search the venue’s photos on social media sites to see how their overflow seating may work, or if you should just look for a larger venue.
4. Consider location
Are you loving that rustic barn nestled in the great outdoors? Don’t forget what it will take to get there! Not only will you need transportation to get from your ceremony to the reception (if they are 2 separate venues,) but your guests will too. Transportation will then be another line item in your budget.
5. Look at the venue restrictions
Do you have your heart set on using a caterer from your favorite restaurant? Maybe you already booked a mobile bar for drinks, or are planning to release lanterns at your exit. Look at your venue’s restrictions before you book! Some may not allow outside food or drink vendors, ban lanterns or require that you cannot have music outside and must be out of the venue by 10pm! These requirements could restrict everything else you have planned, so look carefully!