Your wedding venue is one of the most important decisions you’ll make during your engagement – after all, it sets the stage for your entire big day! While there are a lot of elements to consider when choosing a venue, we’re here to help make the process a little easier. Here’s what every engaged couple should know about booking a wedding venue.
It’s important to have an honest conversation with your spouse before you start looking for a venue. Communicate your requirements and what would make the perfect venue for you. Being confident from the beginning can help you when it comes time to be open-minded about compromises and unexpected detours during the planning journey.
You will have to compromise at certain points. If you want a micro wedding and your spouse has been envisioning a 200-person celebration, compromising is necessary. Clear communication ensures that both of you are on the same page while searching for your dream location. And keeping communication open will make the process a bit smoother.
Before you start randomly reaching out to your list of potential venues, do your research. A great tool we recommend is Wedding Venue Map. Start your search with the guest size, type of venue, and filter down from there until you know exactly what you want. You can even find links to websites and social media accounts from here.
While doing your research, you can start to answer some of your general questions like:
Is the venue near any hotels for guests?
Are the flowers pictured real or fake? Do the flower requirements change for inside vs. outside?
What kind of grand exit do they offer?
What are the candle policies/restrictions?
Next, read their reviews. This will help you get a better sense of the venue’s team and their ability to deliver. This isn’t a bad sign if you come across a negative review. Instead, read the review and the venue’s reply. How did they handle the reviewer’s concerns? Did it sound like they offered a solution to make it right? You can even make a note to ask about the review if this venue makes the final cut. Once all your research is complete, narrow down your list to 3- 5 venues you want to visit.
As you’re going through the tour with the venue manager, remember that it’s important to ask your questions! Actively engage in the conversation. Ask questions before you start looking at the specific rental spaces. Then, while you are looking around, you can see some of the other answers to your questions.
How many restrooms are available? How close are they to the ceremony & reception?
What is the distance between the ceremony and the reception? Walking distance? Driving?
How many weddings do they do each day? (Are you ok with seeing another couple celebrate at the same venue on the same day?)
What is the seating capacity? What is the maximum capacity? (*FYI…these are not the same)
These questions may seem small, but they are huge in your planning process. Imagine being at a 200-person event and there is only one bathroom for everyone to use. That would be stressful!
When it comes to rental fees, deposits, and other charges, knowledge is power! Asking the right questions can help ensure that you are aware of all the costs upfront. Don’t be shy; it’s important to know what you need to budget for. Does the venue include catering? What are the service charges? If catering is not included, is there a list of preferred or required vendors you must use?
Go into your venue tour with your eyes wide open. And then to confirm everything, get it in writing. A signed agreement protects both you and your investment. It is tangible proof of understanding between you and the venue, outlining all essential details such as parties involved, timeframe, payment methods, and rights & responsibilities. This isn’t just for booking the venue; you should have a signed agreement with every vendor working on your wedding day. And this gives you all the details on the fees you may incur.
Asking the right questions is key to uncovering information, so no matter what kind of details you’re looking for – be it general or specific – be as thorough as possible. Work through your questions methodically, from the broadest topics to the finer points. Here are some other questions to consider:
What is included in the venue rental? Tables, chairs, catering, decor…
What are the restrictions of the venue?
What’s your deposit/cancellation/refund policy?
Does the venue require the couple to purchase insurance?
Does the venue have a preferred vendor list? Are you required to use those vendors?
Can you bring in your own wine, beer, and spirits?
Don’t forget to talk to people in the know. Friends and family members have good intentions, but unless they are involved in the wedding & event industry, they may disregard the expectations you set in the beginning. Talk to a wedding planner. We are
in the know,
neutral third parties, and
ready to help you create your vision your way.
By simply asking a planner who has “been there and done that,” you can gain valuable insight and maybe pinpoint any subtleties or nuances which weren’t clear from your own research. Don’t underestimate what a conversation with a professional in the industry can bring!
With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to choosing 3 – 5 venues to tour for your event. If you’re feeling stressed or want another set of eyes on the situation, we’re here to help. Our team has years of experience booking venues and can give you peace of mind that you’re making the right decision. We’ll make sure everything is taken care of so you can sit back and enjoy yourself. Give us a call today and let’s start planning your dream wedding.
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L3 Events is your next Orlando wedding planner and event planner. A wedding planner creating stunning weddings and events steeped in passion, fun, and exquisite taste. Based in Orlando, Florida, the L3 team serves organizations, couples, and individuals. Planning events all over the United States.