In the wedding planning process, the venue is a huge factor of the day and the budget. Venues are much more than cute places to have gatherings. They actually make or break your day. Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic (or not). But basically, venues are important and venue tours and searches can be overwhelming.
So I am going to share some general things to consider when on your venue tour to make it a little less overwhelming.
So let’s jump right into it!
Does The Venue Fit Your Wedding Theme & Budget?
I’m sure you’ve seen different themes and wedding aesthetics on Pinterest and every other social media platform. If not, then do a quick search and you’ll see so many populate. Themes are basically the wedding aesthetic and “vibe” you want your wedding to have. For my wedding, we had boho/industrial-themed decor. So we knew we needed a venue that would fit and contribute to that aesthetic.
If you don’t know your theme or are having trouble picking one, start with thinking of your wedding colors. What color scheme would you like? Then think about the types of florals and other types of decor pieces you want to add to the look. You don’t necessarily need to choose a theme but you should have some idea of what you want your wedding day decor to look like.
Most venues will have photos of actual weddings or staged photo shoots so that can help your imagination. When viewing the venue pay attention to the details of the building. Is there exposed brick? Hardwood flooring or carpet? Is there a lot of natural lighting? Are there exposed beams or chandeliers? These different features contribute to the venue’s overall look and feel. Look for things that fit your vision.
Don’t be afraid to ask about costs on the tour. You need to know how or if this venue fits your budget sooner rather than later. You don’t want to wait until you’ve fallen in love with it to find out that it’s over budget. Ask about the deposit requirements. Most venues will require a deposit that can range from a small percentage of the total or it could be up to half of the total. Ask what is needed to book the venue so you have an understanding of how much money you will need upfront.
What’s The Venue Size & Level of Accessibility?
Your venue should be able to accommodate not only your guest size but also all of your guests’ needs. Your guest size should be able to fit comfortably inside the venue. So ask how many guests can fit or be seated comfortably in their space. Some venues may be able to provide specifics for standing capacity and seated capacity. Altogether, you want a place that can fit your guests, tables, chairs, and decor comfortably.
You also want a venue that is easily accessible. That’s for the location and for every person. You want to pay attention to where the venue is located. Is it in the middle of downtown and the nearest parking deck is two blocks down? Or is it in a small town and the nearest hotel is an hour away (I’m exaggerating but you get it). These are things to note because you want your guest to be able to get to your venue on your big day and you want them to experience little to no stress doing so. So consider these when touring and also inquire about accommodations that can be made.
Your venue needs to be accessible for every human. Our venue, unfortunately, did not have an elevator and our cocktail hour was set to be hosted in the lofted space upstairs. During our tour, I asked how guests who can’t use stairs be accommodated, and they said they would provide those guests with a seating area downstairs and bring their cocktail food to them. So, there was a plan, even though the building wasn’t accessible for every individual in that aspect. Ask questions and see how they will be prepared on the wedding day. Treat the venue tour like you’re interviewing a candidate for a job.
The million-dollar question is: what’s included? What is included with the booking or rental of the venue? It is very important to ask this because it will help you understand how this potential venue hits your budget.
Does the venue provide catering and alcoholic beverages? Or will you have to outsource this?
How many hours are you getting with this rental? You NEED time before the ceremony start time even if you don’t get ready at the venue, you still need some time there beforehand.
Are there any decor items that they provide already? Are chairs, linen, and silverware included in the rental fee?
Just these questions alone, let you know how much more or less money you will have to spend if you choose to book that venue. If you have to find a caterer and a bartender, that’s possibly more money. If you have to find a separate space to get ready before the ceremony, that’s more money. If they have decor pieces available to use that you already like, that’s less money you have to spend.
Is this a venue where you can have both your ceremony and reception in one place or do you have to worry about finding a secondary location to hold one or the other?
Are there Bride and Groom Suites?
Another question to ask would be about the areas that you can use to get ready in or to wait in before the ceremony starts. Bride and groom suites are great inclusions to have in your venue. If your allotted time for the day permits enough time, your entire wedding party can be at the venue from early morning until the wedding is over. They alleviate worries about travel accommodations or worries about where to get ready before the wedding.
Most venues have a designated space for the bride and her ladies. Some venues may not have a dedicated space for the grooms and groomsmen. This may or may not be a deal-breaker for you but make sure you ask so that you’re aware.
Having these suites helps your peace of mind and also your photographers. They don’t have to worry about being in two physical locations at one time and can instead walk up and down hallways to take photos of the different groups with ease.
When inquiring about suites, make sure to ask how early you can come to the venue. If the time they say isn’t early enough for you all to get ready, then factor that into your decision-making process. For our wedding venue, the earliest we could come to the venue was 9 AM with a 3 PM ceremony start time. This would be great if our ceremony started at 5 or 6 PM but since it was an afternoon wedding, we needed an earlier start to be able to complete makeup and hair. So I booked an Airbnb for us to begin getting our makeup done at 7 AM and everything worked out perfectly.
There are so many things to consider on your venue tour. These are just some of the more common and broader scoped concerns. Luckily, most venues will have someone available to answer any and all of your questions, and more than likely they will have all of the information prepared for you so that you won’t have to ask too many questions.
Or, if you’re like me, most of your questions are asked via email or found on their website and you don’t even have to take the physical venue tour (the pandemic was good for something). But if you do want to make sure you’ve covered everything, comment below and I will share a list of questions to ask on your next venue tour.
What’s your biggest concern when searching for your venue?