5 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE You Pick Your Venue
Updated: Sep 3, 2019
Choosing a venue isn't always as simple as, "I like it, let's sign a contract." There are a number of factors that you need to consider when picking a venue, and even when your "musts" are all met, there is a chance that the venue won't be available for the date(s) you + your honey are interested in.
To avoid going into the process of picking your venue "blind," ask yourself the following questions to help you narrow down your search.
1. What can we afford?
Figure out what your venue budget is BEFORE you start searching. There's no reason to visit and possibly fall in love with a $10,000 venue if your budget is $5,000 (unless you enjoy the heartbreak, which I don't think you do).
2. How many guests will we have?
If you invite 250 people to your wedding, more than likely, about 175 will attend. You should plan on at least 70% of them attending.
250 x .70 = 175
This means that you will want to look at venues that can accommodate 175+ guests. It is better to err on the side of caution and look at venues that are 200+, just in case you have a higher turnout rate! How awkward would it be if you had 178 guests show... nobody wants to bounce invited guests out of a wedding before they are able to walk in the door due to capacity issues!
HELPFUL HINT: A venue may have a max guest capacity of 200; however, this doesn't necessarily mean that 200 people will fit most comfortably. A good question to ask is, "I know that your guest capacity is 200; however, does the venue fit 200 people comfortably?"
3. When do we want to get married?
You need to have 1+ ideal dates in mind so that you can weed out venues that are already booked on your chosen dates. Some venues publish their availability on their website. Check their calendars to see if their availability works with your ideal dates. If they don't publish a calendar, call and ask before booking a tour!
4. What are our "musts" for the venue?
Do they have to include tables and chairs in their pricing? Will a strict preferred vendors list be an issue for you? Do you want both an indoor and outdoor setting? Do you prefer a modern feel over a rustic vibe? If you plan to include your fur babies in the ceremony, will they allow pets on the property? Sit down with your honey and think about the must-haves that you both agree on. Figure out which of these "musts" are flexible, should a venue be perfect in every other way (in other words, don't cross every venue off the list before visiting any by creating a lengthy must-haves list).
5. Are we wanting to have our ceremony and reception in the same space?
If you do, you have a couple of options. The first would be to have the ceremony in one room and the reception in another room, IF the venue has multiple spaces with adequate capacity limits. Or, if you want to get married outdoors and have the reception inside, you can do that too. There is also an event term called a "flip," which is where the space is set for the ceremony, the ceremony happens, guests are temporarily cleared out of the space, and then the tables/chairs/etc. are rearranged for the reception. IF THIS SOUNDS LIKE YOU, talk to your prospective venues about your needs before visiting. Some accommodate in this way, and some cannot.
There are more questions that will organically come about as you have this discussion with your partner. Create a list of answers. Write it down. This will be helpful in organizing your thoughts.
After figuring out what your starting needs are, start researching venues in the area where you want to be married! There are A LOT of venues out there, and it is easy to get bogged down under all of the information you find. Creating a simple spreadsheet can really help you decide on which venues to actually visit!
Use this as a guide for building your own venue research spreadsheet. If you're really into Excel, you can even create a ranking system. It's up to you!
Have any questions, comments, ideas, or maybe you need some help through your wedding planning process? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would absolutely love to help you make all your wedding day dreams come true!