Aside from an officiant to make sure everything is legal, the venue is probably the most important thing to book for your wedding day. It will likely take up the largest portion of your budget (perhaps aside from food, which is often paired with the venue anyway), sets the backdrop for the look of your big day, and has to provide a comfortable space for you and your guests to celebrate. Naturally, this is a decision you should spend a lot of time on and think through carefully. Even if there is a location you’ve been dreaming about for years, it’s still important to ask the questions below. You may find it unfortunately no longer fits with the vision of bringing your special day into reality.
Photo by Lauren Fair Photography; Venue: Oheka Castle
1. What is your seated capacity? What number is most comfortable?
Tables obviously take up more room than guests standing, so assuming you have a sit-down dinner for your reception, you’ll want to make sure there is enough space for your guests. The follow-up question is helpful because sometimes the maximum capacity is a very tight fit, or may even have guests in a different area – something you may want to avoid.
2 . What is your vendor policy?
Some venues will only allow you to choose vendors, such as caterers and rentals, from a specific list – or even only allow their in-house options. Others will have a recommended list, which can be a handy guide, but allow you to deviate from those options should you choose to do so. If you have specific dietary requirements, such as keeping kosher, be sure to mention that because they may be able to make an exception.
3. What do you provide?
A venue may seem over budget at first glance, but if it they provide tables, chairs, linens, china, glassware, and more, that will save you from needing separate rentals. Some locations will also have lighting available, and their staff can set everything up within the cost provided. Less-traditional sites might seem like a great deal until you look at everything you'll have to bring in.
4. What is the weather backup plan? (For Outdoor Venues)
You might fall in love with the natural beauty of an event space, but it’s important to have another option in case of rain or any extreme weather. No matter the time of year, there’s always a chance that you’ll have to use it. If you hate the indoor area, it may be worth finding a new option just in case. You don't want to be even more upset to have to use your backup venue.