The easiest way to alleviate this kind of stress? Preparation. Preparation. Preparation.
It might seem silly to plan your planning, but it’s truly the best way to make sure you get all the information you need to pick the perfect place for your special day. It’s important to know what is most important to you and your fiance to ensure that you’re both over the moon for your reception space. On top of all this extensive decision-making, it can be easy to draw a blank when it comes time to brainstorm - and that’s okay! To help you jumpstart your list, here are a few questions to toss at your potential venues:
How far in advance do we have to book?
Popular venues can lose slots quickly, so it’s important to know when you need to book. To keep yourself organized, make a masterlist of potential venues - either in a notebook or on your computer or phone - and jot down a “book by” date for each one.
Do you have a list of preferred or recommended vendors?
Some venues have contracts with specific caterers, photographers, bands and DJs, etc. that they ask couples to use. These are preferred vendors, and venues keep lists of them for couples to peruse. Even if a venue does not have such contracts, many have positive business relationships with outside vendors and may keep lists of recommended vendors on hand for curious couples. If these lists are available, ask for copies.
How long can we use the space? Is there an overtime fee if we stay later?
Know what the rental fee includes, including time constraints on use of the space, and find out if there are additional charges should you stay longer than the agreed time. You should also ask about minimum or maximum rental times and how long before the event vendors can begin setting up.
Can we move, add, or remove items inside the space? Are there decoration guidelines?
You might love the space, but what if you want to change the decor? Ask if you can bring in your own decorations and/or alter the space for your wedding. If the venue has any restrictions, ask if they can provide a list. If you are planning your wedding around any holidays, ask about seasonal decor and whether or not it can be altered.
What are the parking accommodations?
Take a look at the parking lot and make sure it’s large enough to fit all of your guests. Ask if the venue provides valet parking and, if so, what the charge would be. Ask if the site is accessible by cab (or Uber, in the modern era).