• Lesson 3 - Venue Selection

  • Now comes the fun part of scouting out venues and seeing all the beautiful options in person for your wedding day! Venues will most likely have photos of past weddings and a good idea of what layouts have worked well so don't be shy to ask.

    *It is okay to think out of the box and if you see somewhere/something that looks appealing to you, ask! Just because it hasn’t been done previously, doesn’t mean it can’t be done for you (unless they have a list of reasons why not…). For example: Take their advice and don’t try to cram a ceremony of 150 guests in an area that they recommend for smaller weddings of 60 or less.

    This brings us to what do you look for in a venue? This also depends on what your Top 3 priorities are (remember, I asked you on Day One in your Wedding Questionnaire?) and if one of your answers is venue related, then definitely keep that in mind!

    Be sure to download our Venue Selection Cheat Sheet in the Planning Tool box on the right.

    Top Questions to Ask Your Reception Venue


    1. What services does the venue provide as part of your package? Many reception sites provide complete packages: catering, cake, staff, tableware and linens, which can be helpful if you love what they offer. Other sites charge a simple rental fee for their space, and leave the rest of the details up to you. To find the option that works best for your wedding, ask yourself how much you would like to personalize your celebration and what that will entail, or decide on a more all-inclusive approach. You will also want to ask about what is not included, but may be available for an additional cost.

    2. Does the venue have a preferred wedding pro list? Many venues have a list of fabulous caterers and professionals that they choose to work with, and they may charge an additional fee for a wedding professional who is not on that list. Some venues require that you work with their exclusive list, and still others will allow you to choose any professionals you desire. If you’re set on hiring a particular caterer or florist be sure that your venue will welcome your choice. *Ask if the wedding pros must pay to be on the venue's recommended list. This is common and if so, doesn't always mean the wedding pro is on the list by merit.

    3. How does the venue work as your day unfolds? To answer this, ask for a tour of the site as if it was your wedding day. In addition to your ceremony and reception site (if having both in the same location) ask to see getting ready rooms, parking areas, restrooms and all areas your guests will access. If you are using any areas for more than one purpose, have your event contact explain how those transitions will unfold and how much time it will take for break down and set-up.

    4. How many hours will the space be available? It’s typical for venues to rent out the space for a designated block of time. You’ll want to have ample time for your ceremony and/or reception, so be sure you secure all the time you desire and enough time for your wedding pros to set-up and breakdown.

    5. What is your food and beverage minimum? If the venue itself is providing your food and drinks, they will likely have a minimum amount you are required to spend. Keep in mind this is a minimum and you should think about your guest count for a better idea of overall cost. You can ask what size guest count this minimum typically covers but understand your personal selections will influence your per person price. *Important - tax and tip is usually added to the pricing and ask if this is considered part of the minimum.

    6. Will there be a day-of coordinator on site? Many locations will have staff on hand to help turn rooms as needed and assist you or your planner with the last-minute arrangements. They are there to ensure that everything that the venue has been contracted to provide is delivered smoothly and that you have all your questions answered as they arise. *Keep in mind that they work for the venue, so it is usually helpful, if you desire and have room in your budget, to have your own day-of planner on board to take care of your personal priorities.

    We will tackle the different day-of planner options later - they will execute your wedding plans on your wedding day so you can focus on being the bride!

  • Downloadable Key Questions to Ask

    Venue Selection Cheat Sheet

    Planning Tool

    Planning Tool

    Downloadable Key Questions to Ask

    Venue Selection Cheat Sheet