You know how to make your venue list: First, you set a budget. Then, you browse venues online. Then, you visit your top choices and make a decision. (Don’t forget to read the fine print in your contract!) But what if you’re stuck with multiple favorites, what if there’s no clear winner? In this post, we’ll explore the different ways that you can really get to know a wedding venue before booking.
Visiting a website—or even a location—doesn’t always tell you everything you need to know about a wedding venue. Or maybe it does, but you just like them all too much. If that’s the case, it’s time to take a deeper dive to get to know a wedding venue. Think of it like a good first date: You know you like them, at least initially. But what else can you find out about them?
There are lots of ways to get to know a wedding venue, but we’re going to discuss seven of them here. Keep in mind that not every suggestion will work for every venue. For example, not every venue will have an online forum. But they’ll have some of this information available, so you can really get to know them.
1. Visit the Online Forums
Some wedding venue sites have online forums where people planning weddings can discuss their ideas. It’s also a place for married people to chime in about their experiences. If you have your eye on a venue, check out what others have to say about them. What information can you gather from the online discussion? Couples might not take the time to write a formal review, but they may join an informal discussion about their experiences. So it’s a great way to get to know a venue!
2. Scope Out What’s Nearby
The venue might be perfect, but that doesn’t mean its location is. Will guests be able to find it easily? Is the parking close to the venue? What about the nearby attractions? Guests often take the day before and/or after a wedding for a mini vacation, and that’s easier to do when there are things to do in the area. So if you’re on the fence about a venue, consider what kind of experience you want your guests to have—and choose accordingly.
3. Check the News
No, we’re not saying to search the news for bad publicity. Instead, we recommend reading up on recent press releases and overall community impact. Are they involved in their community? What events have they sponsored recently? Local news is a great way to get to know a venue on a more personal level—which can make your overall decision easier.
4. View Testimonials and Wedding Stories
Are there any testimonials or featured weddings on the venue’s website? Granted, if they’re on the website, they’re going to be positive. But that doesn’t mean they’re not honest. And a featured wedding will have photos from the venue you’re looking at. Sometimes, it’s difficult to picture what your wedding will look like at a venue. But real-life photos will help!
5. Discuss Noise Restrictions
Some venues have curfews and noise restrictions. This isn’t always their choice; some cities have restrictions that apply to private events. But if you plan on having late nuptials or want to dance into the wee hours, not every venue can accommodate. Of course, if you’re having a morning or afternoon wedding, it’s not usually an issue. But it’s worth checking if you’re concerned! It could remove a few venues from your list.
6. Consider the Amenities and Add-ons
If you toured the venue, you may have discussed optional amenities and add-ons, like using the on-site catering services or even their own wedding planner. But if you didn’t get this information yet—ask! A good venue can turn into a great venue if it is also your caterer, decorator, and shuttle service. Not only will that likely save you money, it will also make it easier to plan. Instead of having four points of contact, you’ll only have one.
7. Ask About Renovations
You’ve seen pictures online, maybe even visited the venue in person. But will the venue look like that when it’s time for your wedding? Maybe the venue has upgrades scheduled that will bump it up your favorites list. Or maybe there isn’t anything planned, and the venue is just a little dated for your modern wedding. Either way, it will give you new insight into the space.
Choosing the right venue can be challenging, but it’s also an important part of your special day! And because it’s one of the first things you pick out for your wedding, it sets the tone for elements like decorations and wedding party attire. But with a little research, you can really get to know a wedding venue. When you do, it’s easier to cross venues off your list to find the perfect one for the perfect wedding.
What are must-haves for your wedding venue? Share your thoughts with us below!