Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Venue Shopping

One thing I know is going to be difficult during this wedding planning process is our schedules. Basically, if I'm not at work J is and vice-versa. Thankfully, my little mama lives in town and is willing to help. My mom and I are going to check out a bunch of venues and then the ones we like I will try to find a time to take J to so we can make a final decision together. My mom and I have 5 appointments today and plans to pop in to two others and I am so excited! I've read you're supposed to research and contact venues but then only visit three, but that seems so silly to me. I am a very visual person and I NEED to see these places in person. Plus, I think it's really helpful to meet the people you'll be working with face-to-face. You want to make sure these people are organized, know what they're doing and are going to make your big day as stress-free as possible.  Here are some questions to ask and some tips to consider when looking for a wedding venue:
  • What's the decor like? Does it fit your style and wedding colors? Will you have to spend a lot of money on flowers and decorations to make it beautiful?
  • Do they have an in-house caterer, and do you like that food? Do they have a limitation on which outside caterers you can use?
  • Do they have adequate coat check and bathroom facilities? Make sure you ask to see the bathrooms!
  • Is there a charge for the room rental? Is there a food and beverage minimum?
  • What's the cancellation policy?
  • Is there a payment schedule? What kind of deposits are required?
  • Are there any hidden costs? (Before you sign the contract, read it carefully.)
  • How long do you have the space? What are the overtime charges?
  • Do they have a liquor license?
  • Will they allow you to bring your own liquor? If so, what is the corkage fee?
  • Is there room in the wedding venue for a band and/or dancing?
  • Does the wedding venue already own a sound system with adequate speakers or will that need to be rented?
  • Is there a space for the bride and groom to change and/or relax?
  • Where will you take photographs? Is there a park nearby, or do the coordinators have recommended spots on the grounds?
  • Who will be supervising and troubleshooting before the day of your wedding? Who will be supervising and troubleshooting on the day of your wedding? Can you meet them now?
  • Where can your guests park? Are there extra fees for parking? Do they have valet parking?
  • Especially in museums or private clubs, are there limitations on decorations? Do they limit food and drinks to only certain areas of the wedding venue?
  • Are candles or other open flames allowed?
  • If its an outdoor location, do they have any backup plans for rain or other inclement weather? If not, is there a place that you can put up a tent? 
  • How far is it from the ceremony location?
  • Do the two places have the same level of formality and a coordinating style?
  • Can both locations accommodate the same number of guests?
  • Does the reception venue have any experience with weddings from your ceremony location?
What do you think? Is there anything I'm missing? What did/do you love or dislike about your venue? What do you wish you would have known? What did you look for in your venue? Help me out! I love hearing your ideas and advice!


Caroline said...

Make sure you find out if you can take any leftover alcohol or food with you after the event. You paid for it. It's your's!

Good luck!

Marian said...

Wow, you basically have it covered. We actually visited about 10 venues, I didn't want to miss anything just because I didn't think it was good enough via the web. It was actually a pretty easy decision when i started narrowing down. Some places couldn't fit us all, so they were thrown out. A few others just didn't make sense logistically (even though I loved one of them) and another just wasn't in the budget. We could have made it work, but I'd rather have some money left over for souvenirs for the honeymoon:)

In regards to what to look for/what to ask you have a lot of it covered. Nice work

ajs {of MN} said...

you are so prepared going in!! the only thing additional that i dont think i read would be, how close are overnight accommodations? will it be easy to arrange for local transportation at the end of the night if need be etc... exciting... good luck today! xo A

Carolyn @ life, love & puppy prints said...

EEK! Good luck BB! Text me with updates!! :)

Mel said...

Oh wedding planning! Depending on the venue, don't forget to ask about all of the other items you need...tables, linens, silverware, chairs, etc. You'd be surprised how expenses add up when you have to rent all of those items as well. Good luck and enjoy!

Brittany said...

Wow! This is such great advice, and the others had great advice too! I would never have thought about half of this stuff! ! sheesh!

Laura said...

Looks like you have a GREAT list going here.... I definitely am a "visual" person too... but too bad being in Sweden makes it REALLLLLY difficult. ugh. oh well! good luck with yours though :)

Leanne said...

You sound very prepared!

I went to more than 3 venues as well. The decision process was difficult for me as I would instantly fall in love with all of them, and then slowly begin to pick them apart. Even the one I eventually decided on, I originally didn't love.

I hope you have an easier process than I did!

Ms. BWIT said...

Nope I think you have it covered! ;-)

JoJo said...

So exciting! Good luck picking a place!

Domestically Deficient said...

I say visit as many as you want and just do a tasting at your top choices. There's no harm in looking.