Wedding Venue Checklist: Costs to Consider, Questions to Ask & More

One of our most popular posts! Re-run for your reading pleasure! 
 
Safari Tip: Finding a wedding venue does not have to be overwhelming. Pull up our handy venue safari checklist on your phone or print out our PDF printable version to keep on-hand as an easy resource while you are visiting potential venues.

Venue-Safari-Checklist our printable checklist

Cost:

  • Does the price per person include tax and gratuity? If not, what is the total price per person?
  • Is there a food & beverage minimum (and does it include tax & gratuity)?
  • Is there a room rental fee?
  • Ask about additional fees: power charges for large bands and additional lighting, delivery fees for hotel guest gift bags, ceremony set up fees, labor charges for bartenders, coat/gift attendants and chefs at action food stations.
  • How much are vendor meals? Sandwiches? Hot meal? I recommend a hot vendor meal if your budget allows, the (usually) small increase in cost goes a LOOOONG way with your hungry vendors!

Capacity:

  • How many people can this space fit comfortably with a dance floor and space for my band or DJ?
  • There are many different set up for ceremony seating, depending on the number of guests you can do a chevron set up, standard theater style or a more intimate circular set up.
            You can find more information about seating arrangements, styles and visuals in our previous post.
 Style:
  • Consider the colors in the event space(s)– do they clash with your chosen colors? Remember: Work with the existing decor, not against.
  • If you found a venue you love but the colors are not quite right draping is always an option, it can be expensive but is a beautiful option and gives you a “clean slate” with the walls of your venue.
  • Ambiance. What feel are you going for? Will your guests be in tuxes or casual attire? Usually guests in tuxes won’t be boogy-ing down in a barn.

Logistics:

  • What is the back up space in case of inclement weather? Can it fit my guests comfortably? Is there an additional fee to reserve that space for my day? Weather should always be a consideration. As much as we all dream of sunshine & blue skies on our wedding day there is no guarantee. Though I do LOVE rainy day photographs of brides and grooms kissing under umbrellas. Sorry, I digress!…. Ensure that back up space will be held for your group in case there is bad weather. It is important that you (the bride, groom, family/host etc) will be happy enough in the case you do have to use the space. If you absolutely hate the back up space, don’t book the venue.
  • Area. Your guests do not want to ride a bus an hour each way to your amazing-but-in-the-middle-of-nowhere venue. Promise. In my opinion, I recommend choosing a venue that is no more than 20ish minutes away from their hotel or home. Including traffic! Don’t forget that 20 minutes can turn into 2 hours on a Friday night on the Beltway (or insert your local main highway system name here). BUT if your space is a little farther than 20 minutes or so consider some sort of entertainment– a tour guide (if you are in the city or somewhere with history), a movie (if your transportation has built in screens), music, custom crossword puzzles, etc.
  •  Make sure there is at least one, preferably 2 hotel options within a reasonable distance of your venue.
  • REMEMBER! While you should not strive to please everyone- happy guests = fun wedding.
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6 Comments

  1. Aw, this was a really nice post. Finding the time
    and actual effort to make a great article… but what can I say…
    I hesitate a whole lot and don’t manage to get nearly
    anything done.

    Reply

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