One of the first items you will mark off on your wedding planning checklist is the selection of a venue. This can be a daunting task. Every venue is different and it is easy to get overwhelmed. Here are some questions to consider when choosing a venue.
1. Do they have an open vendor policy? Some venues require that you only use vendors off of their approved vendor list. This means that if a certain vendor (perhaps a catering company you just love) is not on their list you will not be able to use them for your wedding. When touring the venue be sure to ask what their vendor policy is. Do they offer exceptions? Can a vendor be added to their list? If the venue is strict on their policy and you want to be able to choose any vendor you like (licensed and insured of course) then that venue may not be the best fit for you.
2. What if it rains? Does the venue offer indoor or covered options in the event of rain? Outdoor weddings are beautiful (especially here in Middle Tennessee), but as we all know rain happens. If you are planning an outdoor wedding be sure to have a rain back up plan in place.
3. What is included? Does your rental come with tables and chairs? Set up and breakdown? Décor options? Some venues offer these items with your rental or for an additional price, and some offer just the space alone. Considering a venue that is more remote? You may want to consider the logistics of needing everything to be brought on site and the costs associated with that.
4. Is it in your budget? Staying on budget when planning a wedding is crucial. When looking at venues keep your budget in mind. It is easy to get dazzled by a beautiful venue with all the trimmings. My advice is, if it is not in your budget pass it by.
5. Do they require you to hire a planner? Some venues require you to hire a planner to take you through the whole planning process. If you are wanting to forego a planner and only hire a coordinator to oversee your wedding day than that venue might not be for you.
6. Does it fit with your wedding style/theme? Most venues have a style associated with them. Is it rustic, modern, industrial, vintage? Whatever it may be, consider how it will fit into the overall look you are wanting for your wedding day.
7. What are your rental times? Planning a late-night party but the venue requires everyone to be offsite by 10:00PM? Hoping to get completely ready on site but your rental time starts at 2:00PM and the ceremony is at 4:00PM? Want to set up the day before? While some venues give you all day access others may have different time slots that are available, including a two-day rental.
8. Do they book multiple weddings on the same day? Some venues offer multiple spaces and therefore will book multiple couples for the same day. If you do not want another couple getting married at the same venue as you on the same day then make sure this is not their policy.
9. Is there a space for you to get ready in? Some venues offer a bridal suite for getting ready in and relaxing before walking down the aisle. Some will also offer a groom’s quarters as well. If this is something you are interested in ask what options the venue offers.
10. Logistics. Parking? Location? Accessibility? Capacity? WIFI? Electricity? Restrooms? Heating/AC? No matter the venue make sure you are aware of any logistical concerns regarding the space and its location. Can the venue hold your guest count? If you are looking at a more rural location other vendors may require travel fees, WIFI may be spotty (or nonexistent), and parking may be a dirt lot (remember rain). If you are looking at a chic downtown location parking may be offsite or you may be required to hire valet services. Think about all the factors before booking a venue to ensure you and your guests get the experience you want.