Most wedding reception sites welcome the opportunity for their wedding coordinator to give the bride and groom a tour of their venue. While some sites may allow walk-in visitors, it is always best to call ahead and make an appointment. Not only does this ensure that the venue is available for a tour, it allows the bride and groom to have the uninterrupted attention of the wedding coordinator.
When brides and grooms start looking for wedding venues, too often they fall in love with the beauty of the place and sign a contract before they’ve considered the more practical things. It makes sense — who wants to look back and say only, “Well, it was practical”?
But unless the place is so magical that you’re willing to plan your whole event around it, your shouldn’t choose between wedding venues until you’ve decided approximately how many guests you’re inviting and the size of your budget. You’ll also need to decide if you want to have your ceremony and reception in the same place, or if you want an all-in-one wedding venue.
What do you want?
- What’s the decor like? Does it fit your style and wedding colors? Will you have to spend a lot of money on flowers and decorations to make it beautiful?
- Do they have an in-house caterer, and do you like that food? (While an in-house caterer can be easier and cheaper, sometimes the food is not as beautiful as the room. So make sure you taste it!) Do they have a limitation on which outside caterers you can use?
- Do they have adequate coat check and bathroom facilities?
- Is the wedding venue wheelchair accessible? If not, are there many stairs to climb? How close is the parking to the ceremony and reception rooms?
- What’s the cancellation policy?
- Is there a payment schedule? What kind of deposits are required?
- Are there any hidden costs? (Before you sign the contract, read it carefully.)
- What are the overtime charges?
- Do they have a liquor license?
- Is there room in the wedding venue for a band and/or dancing?
- Does the wedding venue already own a sound system with adequate speakers or will that need to be rented?
- Is there a space for the bride and groom to change and/or relax?
- Where will you take photographs? Is there a park nearby, or do the coordinators have recommended spots on the grounds?
- Who will be supervising and troubleshooting before the day of your wedding? Who will be supervising and troubleshooting on the day of your wedding? Can you meet them now?
- Where can your guests park? Are there extra fees for parking? Do they have valet parking?
- Is the wedding venue convenient to public transportation, especially in big cities? How long will it take your guests to get there?
Hopefully, these questions will help you cover the basics while you’re looking at wedding venues. In your search for a wedding venue, there will probably be even more questions that arise for you personally. For example, you may want the menu to reflect your heritage, or with a large wedding party, you may need ample parking for limousines.
Make sure to be thorough and think through how you would like your wedding to be before you sign anything. Make sure you have your bases covered so there are no surprises. Venues know what they can and cannot accommodate so don’t be afraid to ask and make sure you get everything in writing that you want so there is no confusion.