Finding the perfect venue for your big day is one of the first decisions you will make, and also one of the most challenging. Since so much depends on it and you don’t want any unpleasant surprises, it’s important to arm yourself with the right set of questions. We asked Sandy Hammer, the co-founder of the free wedding planning marketplace AllSeated, for her top 5 essential keys to finding your ideal venue. Read on below for her tips! xoxo, Jessica
Finding the perfect venue
Before you begin your venue hunt, it’s important to figure out your budget and a rough guest list, as price and capacity will significantly narrow down your search and save you loads of time. Once you’ve done that and determined your geographical location, you’re ready to interview the venues and find the best one for you!
1. Know what you want.
It's crucial that you have your wedding wish list established when you visit potential venues so that you can effectively communicate your desires. Do you want a sit-down dinner or buffet? Maybe a cocktail hour with your favorite small plates and a Viennese table for dessert? Will your reception be outdoors? Are you looking for specific seating styles and linens? To get the most accurate proposal (and pricing), you have to outline and communicate all these details to the venue.
2. Have a Plan B
Even though no bride likes to think about it, bad weather happens to us all. That’s why if you’re dreaming of walking down the aisle outdoors, be sure to ask the venues about their indoor options. Even though the chance of you using having to use the Plan B is small, knowing that there is a just-in-case plan in place will help you be much calmer on the day of your affair
3. Preferred vendors
Most venues have preferred vendor lists, which suggest specific vendors that have experience with that venue. While they can be helpful, at some venues, choosing from these vendors is obligatory. Find out if the venue requires that you work only with their preferred vendor list or if you allowed to hire any florist or entertainment company that you choose. This is important to know from the start, especially if you already have your dream décor team in mind.
4. Payment schedules
All venues have different payment requirements, so it's critical that you know this from the start. Do they require monthly payments? A deposit? Payment in full before the wedding? Are there any extra costs not listed in the contract that you may be responsible for? How does the venue handle tipping for their staff? All of this should be addressed before signing a contract.
5. Who is in charge?
The person you work with throughout the planning process may not necessarily be the same person in charge the day of your wedding. When you meet with the venue, it’s important to ask that. You should also find out about the venue’s staffing ratio, coat check service and valet parking and whether any of those are included in the price.
With this list of questions, you will be able to easily pick an ideal venue that fits your budget, guest list, and vision.