Picking a Wedding Venue- Everything You Need to Ask + Tips

I’m happy and relieved to announce that we officially have a wedding date and venue!  Trying to find a wedding venue was daunting and overwhelming.  The main challenge I had was scheduling.  Coordinating the venue’s schedule, my schedule, and my fiancé’s schedule was a logistic nightmare.  This was particularly challenging given we were looking during wedding season, which means the venues had limited times to tour and we had travel plans.  We originally had plans to view 4 venues but ended up only viewing one.  Everyone says that when you find the dress you will know.  I find this to be applicable to the venue too.  To be honest, I was not that excited about wedding planning.  Once we viewed the venue we both fell in love with it, and for the first time I felt like a bride and I could envision us getting married.  Below are some tips and things you should ask your venue before booking it.

The Location

We had our hearts set on a location but we also knew it could be out of budget so we were going to look at venues in two different areas. If you have your heart set on a certain wedding style it is important to think about what location would suit that style.

It is important to consider the location in regards to your guest.  Are your guest local to that area?  Or will they have to travel?  In our case, we are having our wedding in Colorado which means all but 4 people (including ourselves) will have to travel.  This changes so much.  Since all of our guest are traveling we are treating the wedding as a destination wedding, which means we have to be a few months ahead on save the dates and invites.

You also need to consider things like altitude and weather.  One of my concerns is the altitude.  My family is from sea level and the ceremony will be at 14,000 feet.  Altitude sickness is common at 14,000 feet so we will be planning accordingly.  We get thunder and lightning storms a few nights a week during the summer.  This could cause a delay in the ceremony that will be outdoors.  Luckily, in Colorado, the storms roll through quickly.  Also, I happen to LOVE a thunder and lightning storm so I wouldn’t mind having a stormy wedding day.


What is Included

We had originally planned to view venues that were all inclusive and some that were not.  The venue we toured and booked is almost all inclusive and that is a HUGE relief.  When I was considering the other venues I had to look into booking things like chairs, tables, linens, cutlery, plates, lighting, etc.  Booking 10 different vendors meant something was bound to go wrong.  Since the wedding is in the mountains this also meant we had limited local vendors.  If we wanted to book a vendor closer to a major city we would have to pay extra for travel time.  Because of this, it made sense to book with an all inclusive vendor to save money and eliminate stress.  Our vendor will be providing a dance floor, votive candles, linens, chairs, tables, plates, cutlery, cups, the bar, food, and they will be making the cake.  They also set up the dance floor and arrange the tables and chairs.  Since we will be working with only 4 vendors (the venue, DJ, florist, and photographer) I don’t feel the need to hire a day of wedding planner because it feels manageable.  If we booked at a non-all inclusive place I would likely have to hire a wedding planner for the day of to coordinate with the 10+ vendors. Below are some questions you should ask your venue (it is a good sign if your venue answers these questions before you even ask them).

1. If you are hosting the wedding at a hotel you should ask if they offer a discount to your guest and allow you to block rooms.  One of the places we almost toured required a certain amount of our guest to stay at their hotel and would have held us financially responsible for any rooms that were not booked but blocked.

2. What is the noise policy?  For us, this played a major roll in the wedding day timeline.

3. When will our vendors and us have access to the venue on the day of the wedding?

4. What is the guest limit?

5. What is their bad weather backup plan?

6. What are the payment terms?

7. Do they offer discounts on certain days/seasons?  We are saving a few thousand dollars by hosting our wedding on a Friday instead of a Saturday. If your guest are local you may want to have the wedding on a Saturday or Sunday so your guest don’t have to take time of work.  In our case, our guest are traveling and most will make a vacation out of it and take time off anyways.  For this reason we did not feel it was rude to host the wedding on a Friday.  Not that it should be considered rude, because its your day and they don’t have to attend.

8. What does the cost include?  Does this include service charge and tax?

9. Will it accommodate all guest?  We have some older people attending our ceremony.  There is a path that guest will have to take to get to the ceremony site and given my concerns about altitude, our venue offered to provide a gold cart free of charge to guests that they may need it.

10. What time can we hold the rehearsal?

11. Who cleans up?

12. Does the venue provide sound equipment?  Most DJs will provide this but you should still ask your venue in the event that you don’t hire a DJ.

13. Is there a corkage fee?

14. What kind of alcohol packages do they include?  Can they be customized? For instance, we can do a fully open bar for part of the reception then switch to beer and wine only for the rest.

15. Are the ceremony and reception site in different locations?  If they are, this will challenging for your wedding day timeline and you may have to look into providing transportation. If you hold your ceremony and reception site at the same place you could save money.


The Decor

I have to admit, I originally wanted to elope or just have immediate family attend.  For this reason I never really envisioned a wedding.  I had absolutely no idea what I wanted.  This benefited me in someways but also made me feel overwhelmed.  Our venue has a VERY fairy tale vibe to it.  So naturally, we are going with a European fairy tale theme.  If I had a clear vision of what I wanted for decor I would have only viewed venues that would suit that decor.  For example, if I wanted a modern looking wedding the venue I picked would have been impossible. If you know exactly how you want to decorate you should imagine that when your touring a venue.


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