Questions To Ask When Venue Shopping

By Virtually Perfect Events - 9:29 PM

Venue shopping? You'll Want To Read This First!

Set Realistic Expectations

You're engaged! While you may or may not have set a date, you're ready to find the perfect place to say and celebrate "I DO." But the first thing you should do is determine who's paying for what. Be respectful of yours, or your families, budget(s). FYI: Our full planning package includes budget breakdown and tracking! It's devastating to fall in love with a venue only to realize it's out of your budget. That's why it's crucial to set realistic expectations from the start. Of course there are ways to pull and tweak within your budget to make things possible, and a good wedding planner knows how. He/She is well versed on all your areas venues and will be able to find something that fits within your wallet, as well as your likes and dislikes. However, if you're not working with a pro tread carefully. Don't tease yourself by entertaining places that are out of your realm of possibility.

How many venues should I see?

It's not uncommon to request information from many venues. We recommend narrowing it down and touring 3-5 in person.

Venue shopping can be overwhelming. If you're looking for assistance in finding your dream venue for your event size and budget, reach out! In the meantime, here are some of our favorite questions to assist with your search.

Our Favorite Venue Questions

- Do you carry your own liability insurance? Some venues require that couples purchase this themselves, however it's better if the venues carries their own.
- What are your guest count min's/max's? SUGGESTION: Never disclose the ACTUAL amount of guests you are expecting! ALWAYS UNDERestimate, and then underestimate again. We've seen this used as an important bargaining tool before you sign the contract! FYI: Kids and vendors are usually not included in the minimum guest count, and should be given a discounted price.
- How many waiters/waitresses per table?
- How many bartenders per 100 guests?
- Do you allow tip jars to be placed on the bars? Some venues do, and you need to decide if this is acceptable for your event, or if you'd rather take care of the tipping yourself and nixing the jars.
- How many physical bars per 100 guests?
- Is/Are the bar(s) located inside the reception room? Think about guests having to leave the reception to get a drink, and how it may or may not affect your event.
- Do you offer table-side wine service during dinner, or does the waitstaff run any drink orders? This can sometimes clear up a crowded bar/long waits.
- Packages/price differences for Friday, Sat, Sun?
- What is the payment plan and cancellation policy?
- What's included? (china, flatware, linen?) Can I bring my own linens? What upgrades do you offer as far as china, linens, chairs, etc?
- Decoration guidelines (ie. are flames allowed)?
- How many events do you hold at one time/in a day?
- How do your food tastings work? Most venues don't operate like you see on tv! While some offer that exclusive private tasting, others host group tastings, and some none at all.
- Is cake included. Can I use an outside baker? Most venues include cake, but there are limitations.
- Is there a music restriction/time event must conclude?
- TIP! Check the restrooms! There should be about 4 restrooms for every 100 guests!
- Can I hire my own vendors, or is there a list I have to choose from? NEVER go with a place that makes you hire from a list. While venues are certainly welcome to suggest, if it's required it usually (but not all the time) means they are getting some sort of kickback. A safe example would be a required caterer. That's probably just in place because those caterers are familiar with the venue's kitchen and policies.
- Is there a bridal room?
- How early can we be onsite day of? This is particularly helpful to know if you plan on doing a first look.
- Are there are any service/administrative charges in addition to the quoted prices, and what do they cover? Are there any other "hidden" charges? A pre-determined maitre'd fee is another common charge you should know about in advance.
- If you're having an outdoor ceremony, be aware of the backup plan incase of inclement weather. Find out what that backup plan is. Also, ask if there is a ceremony fee and what that covers.

Wrapping It Up

There are so many important questions to ask your potential wedding venue. We hope you were able to jot down some of our favorites. Happy planning!

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