You’ve made one of the most important decisions of your life. You’ve said ‘I Do’ to the person you’re going to be spending it with. Now you’re ready to make what is arguably the most important decision of the entire wedding planning process: your wedding venue. And while the internet contains daunting lists with hundreds of items to ask your vendors, we’ve compiled some of the most basic questions that should help you decide if you should put down that deposit.
Availability – We will start with the most obvious one. Some venues book out a year in advance, others more, and this is the reason the venue is the first decision you’ll want to make when it comes to your wedding as the location and date will impact almost every other decision you make. Does the venue have your date available or do you love it enough to be flexible with the dates they have open?
Capacity – How many people does the venue hold? If you’re looking to host your wedding in the dead of winter for 500 guests, you want to be sure that your venue has the appropriate indoor capacity. Outdoor venues generally have more wiggle room, but you may want to check that the venue has an alternate indoor space in case of inclement weather that can hold your desired guest count if need be.
Vendor Policy – Does the venue allow 3rd party vendors or do they require you to book with preferred vendors off of their list? Some venues may allow 3rd party vendors but charge an extra fee, so make sure you know their policy upfront.
In regards to alcohol, ask the venue if they require you to hire a licensed bartender, security, or to purchase event insurance with liquor liability coverage.
Amenities – Ahead of shopping for your venue, consider if you’ll be hiring professional wedding vendors. This is an important decision, as couples looking to do-it-themselves may require different amenities from a venue than those that aren’t. For example, if you’re looking to do your own music, it may be important to you that your venue has a built-in sound system so that you don’t have to rent or purchase the equipment yourself. It also may be less important to you that your venue has a kitchen in the event you’re hiring a caterer. Before booking your tour, discuss these things with your partner and list out the amenities your wedding venue must have.
Aesthetic – Though further down on the list but arguably one of the more important decisions you’ll make is does the wedding venue fit your overall style? Do you dream of a backdrop of beautiful trees and a sunset or do you prefer a more urban downtown rooftop vibe? Maybe the venue is just right, except the arbor isn’t the one you envisioned. Will the venue allow you to bring in your own? What kinds of alterations are permitted, both indoors and out? It’s true, not all venues will fall within your budget. However, if you don’t filter out the ones that don’t align with your aesthetic you may fall into the trap of choosing a venue for the dollar signs and end up with regrets.
Integrity – Does the venue have good reviews? Are the owners professional and accommodating? While these might not seem that important, a wedding venue is a business that can make or break your wedding experience. For example, a venue with employees that don’t dress or behave appropriately can negatively impact you and your guests. Further, venue operators that don’t respond to your questions in a timely manner can cause you delays and even money. The reputation of the venue and its operators is important and if you’re not feeling a certain level of integrity or professionalism, it may be well worth it to you to move on to the next.
Hopefully this list has gotten you ready to tackle your wedding venue tour with confidence.
Happy wedding planning!
Bluebird Crossings is an Oklahoma wedding venue located in Guthrie, OK specializing in intimate and DIY weddings. We serve couples all across the greater Oklahoma City area including Stillwater and Edmond. Bluebird Crossings is a member of the Oklahoma Rainbow Collective and a LGBTQ+ friendly wedding vendor.