You’re engaged and have started the planning with the first step: deciding where you’re going to tie the knot. After all, the venue makes a huge difference in your wedding experience and photos.
First, narrow your list by determining what size and style of wedding you’d like to have. Then, head online to venue search and filter based upon what is most important to you. Next, contact the venues to gather information like pricing and what is included in their packages. Great…now what?
A venue site visit, of course! It’s really important to take a venue tour to see what they have to offer and get all of your questions answered. We’ve asked a few of our favorite wedding vendors for their advice on what to ask the wedding venue during your initial tour.
1. What is the exact price of the venue?
Weddings can be expensive, so it’s vital to do your research and read the small print before booking any venue contract so you’re never surprised.
Is money due before your wedding or after? What payment is accepted? Bringing in your own food, alcohol, and flowers are a great way to save, but may not be permitted at certain venues.
“Ask if you are allowed to bring in your own vendors or have to use a certain list from the venue,” Cindy advises. “Find out if package prices vary on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday or day of the week and ask if there are any specials that apply.”
2. What happens in case of rain?
Outdoor weddings can be absolutely breathtaking, especially in Central Florida’s mild winters. But for anyone hosting an outdoor wedding, “make sure to get peace of mind by asking about the venue’s contingency plan,” says Michael Thomas with Celebration Gardens in Winter Park.
He also advises that couples “determine the type of venue they want and the number of guests before meeting with the venue to make sure the indoor areas can accommodate the party in case of rain.”
3. Where will the music be set up?
Music and entertainment are key components of your wedding ceremony and reception. Ask questions about where musicians will set up, if there’s room for the band or DJ, where the dance floor will be, and if extra lighting may be brought in.
Jessie Weissman with Our DJ Rocks says these questions will help you envision the flow of your wedding day as you scout out all your options. “The venue is going to be what sets the stage for all of your other vendor choices,” she says.
4. Can we see the venue at night?
Visiting your wedding venue at the exact time of your ceremony and reception is the best way to get a true sense of the ambiance and lighting on your big day.
5. Are pets allowed?
If pets are a big part of your family, you may wish to have them play a part in the ceremony. What could be cuter than Fido the ring bearer?!
FairyTail Pet Care says that, if you’re considering including your pet, be sure to ask about the venue’s pet policies and restrictions.
“Even if a venue is typically not pet-friendly, they may be willing to make exceptions for special events,” says FairyTail Pet Care. “Some venues may not allow pets indoors, but that doesn’t mean they won’t allow your pet to come by for a few photos outside. Or, you may need to plan to hire a professional to care for your pet during the wedding.”
6. Do you require a wedding planner or provide a coordinator?
Many venues provide a point of contact throughout your planning process. Some venues may require or even include a day-of coordinator.
Make sure you know exactly what the venue will be responsible for. If a friend or relative has offered to help with wedding planning, make sure they are really up for the task.
“Venue coordinators are responsible for their venue only,” says Caitlin Jones with Plan It Design and Event Management. “Wedding planners will help your entire vendor team make the wedding a success.”
7. What time are my vendors allowed access to the venue?
Some venues host only one event per day while others may do multiple events. Depending upon the intricacy of your decor, you may need more than the standard allotted two hours of set-up time.
Sharon Haller with Cake & Bake shared this tip for a question to ask at your final meeting. “Discuss the estimated delivery time and who the baker should contact for any last-minute questions and/or changes.”
It’s important for the cake to arrive after the table is set and the linens are placed so it doesn’t have to be moved.
8. Do you have a food and beverage minimum?
There are two different types of venues: those that allow outside catering and venues where catering is included in the package.
Venues that are very popular and highly sought-after often require a minimum spend on food and beverage. The amount will vary depending upon season and day of the week.
“Asking for food and beverage helps you understand how to manage your overall budget. By knowing that you have to spend this minimum amount regardless, you can start to allocate your wedding funds appropriately,” shares Rebecca Lang with Live Love Laugh Events. “Remember, minimums are typically before your taxes and service charge and any rental fees! Don’t forget to ask what is your bottom out-the-door price is for hosting your wedding at that venue.”
Remember that meeting with a venue is your opportunity to ask any question that comes to mind. Use the above list and expand upon it BEFORE you start touring to make sure you gather the right information to make an informed decision.
Knowing what to ask a wedding venue will help you narrow down your selections and find the perfect setting for you to say “I do!”
Search for your Central Florida wedding venue HERE