By Jody DeSimone
1. Why Is This the Right Wedding Venue for Us?
What type of venue do you have in mind? Chat with your Significant Other about what you both envision for your big event. Do you want something classic / religious / carefree / BoHo? Does a beach or a restaurant sound right for you or would you love a backyard ceremony and party?
Most couples tour a few professionally-run event spaces so they can compare buildings, the teams, and the wedding packages. Pick three venues and set aside a day to really tour each one. Then ask the venue team why they’re a better choice than nearby competitors. Their feedback and attitude will tell you a lot.
2. What Do Others Say About This Wedding Venue?
When you’re busy researching ‘wedding venues near me’ online, stop and look at the reviews. People typically give honest feedback after they’ve experienced an event at a local venue. If a site you’re truly interested in has mixed reviews, ask the tour guide for clarification. Find out about specific situations that raised red flags when you were reading about them. Sometimes a problem or two can be easily explained by a staff member and that may put your mind at ease.
It also makes sense to ask questions if all the reviews are five star and glowing. You want to know what makes a venue stand out and why the couples want to give such excellent reviews. Be cautious of a business that rewards clients for great reviews...
3. What Does The Wedding Package Include?
Some banquet halls charge extra for chairs, tables, linens and clean-up. Others even charge a cake-cutting fee or additional costs for items you’d naturally think are included. Asking in advance will prevent any surprise expenses and will help you know what items or services you need to arrange on your own.
4. What’s the Back Up Plan if it Pours?
If you’re interested in having an outdoor wedding, it makes sense to understand the rain policy. An established venue will have a backup plan in case of inclement weather. Some sites will offer a tent that can be put up to shield your space from water. Other venues have a pretty indoor space that will be just as nice as their outdoor area. Just be sure there is a solid plan in place before booking a venue for an outdoor wedding.
5. Does the Venue Have Alcohol Restrictions?
If a full bar is important to you, then ask about your bar options. You might even be able to make special requests for your favorite liquors, wine, or craft beer!
Some venues are only permitted to serve beer or wine - not hard liquor. So, if you're wanting to offer your guests cocktails, double check the venue’s policy before reserving it. Also, ask what kind of bar services are available: a 'cash bar' means your guests pay for the drinks themselves, a 'California bar' means you cover the cost but only beer and wine are offered, and a 'full bar' means you cover the cost of the drinks with all liquor options included. You might also care to ask whether the bar service includes premium liquors or standard, well liquors.
At Wedgewood Weddings, we offer an incredible amount of flexibility with our bar options. Choose from various bar packages, select whether you'd like top-shelf or well liquors, and even request a signature cocktail!
6. Is There an On-site Kitchen / Where is Food Prepared?
If you’re utilizing an outside caterer for your reception, you’ll need to know what’s available for them to use on your venue's premises. Is there a full kitchen to prepare the meal? An oven to keep food warm? A sink to wash hands and dishes? These tools are all imperative for catering companies, so it’s a good idea to ask during your tour.
Most venues, like Wedgewood Weddings, organize all the catering for you and have a dedicated kitchen area and on-site team – decide if you want food to be provided by the venue ahead of time and ask to see their menus.
7. Are There Any Wedding Decoration Restrictions?
There are some common restrictions that most wedding venues have, such as no open-flame candles, no damaging the permanent fixtures, and removing all décor after your event.
Before you get your heart set on any dramatic decor ideas or final send-off items (like confetti or sparklers), run these ideas by your venue team first to make sure you're in the clear. And, speaking of decor, it's important to know how many hours before your event you're allowed to be at the venue to set everything up. At Wedgewood Weddings we take care of all the setup and tear-down for you. So, you can spend more time on your wedding day focusing on the important stuff and soaking in every moment!
8. What’s the Parking Situation at the Venue?
Is there ample parking for your entire wedding party and guests? How far of a walk is it from the parking lot to your ceremony and reception areas? Is there a valet? Be sure to consider convenience for your friends and family. This is critical for ADA access, but many guests will be wearing heels or nice shoes. Try to save your guests from walking a long distance or having to find a parking spot off-site.
9. Do You Have to Book The House Band or DJ?
Find out about the house entertainment style, how much it will cost, and how many hours it includes. If you want to bring in outside entertainment, what are the stipulations to bringing in your own quartet, live band, or DJ? Ask about the sound system, custom lighting options, and dance floor too. Not all venues were created equally, so if you plan on throwing an epic celebration with lots of dancing, ask the right questions first.
There's no right or wrong way to tour wedding venues; but there are questions that should always be asked. The answers to these questions will help you choose the right space! Start with the questions above and jot down the answers in your phone (along with taking pictures to jog your memory). The better informed you are, the easier it'll be to narrow down your selection and choose the perfect venue.
For additional tips on planning an unforgettable wedding, or to set up a tour of your own, call us today at (855) 465-4705.
Want more help? Download our 14 ideas to help you find the perfect wedding venue. This venue tour cheat sheet will help you keep all the major questions and ideas in one place.