(Closed) Venue Search – Advice from those who've booked

posted 5 years ago in Venue
Post # 3
7174 posts
Busy Beekeeper

Take notes, after you visit each place – because they can start to blur together.  Just take a couple minutes in the car and note what you both like, didn’t like, etc.

Don’t feel like you need all your questions up front…. because chances are, your questions will morph and change, as your planning progresses.

But, ask things like:

1) What do I need to do to reserve a date

2) What dates do you have available

3) Can I bring in outside catering/food/alcohol

4) How do you handle vendors (DJ, lighting needs, photog, etc.)

5) Do you have any pricing incentives (I didn’t ask this – but wish I did!)

6)  How are payments handled.

….usually, most venues will have an info package for you… that will have all their requirements, etc.

The biggest thing for us, in venue hunting, was figuring out what elements in a venue were most important to us….. during our inital hunt, I learned things about DH’s venue desires that I had no idea about (he desired ceremony/reception at the same place (so guests wouldn’t have to drive)) – outside noise/distractions were important (too many recent venues on golf courses with sirens, birds, etc), we wanted to bring in our own liquor… and, ultimately, we picked a venue that had onsite help (vs. bringing in all the rentals, catering, etc).


Post # 4
409 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Husband and I were venue experts… we went to 16!


-If its outdoors, be sure to ask what backup plans would be in case of rain. 

-Ask if the service charge is the tip for the servers, or is there additional tips on top of what they are charging.

-Will you be able to taste the food before the wedding?

-What are the bar options, is it well, premium etc.?

-Where do you get ready-is there a bridal suite?

-Where are some good places for pictures?

-Check out to see how close hotels are if you will have Out of Town guests

-What are your linen choices?

-What is the flow?  Where is the ceremony, cocktail hr. and reception?  Will the room have to be converted during cocktail hour

-Do you have to use the vendors that are recommended by the venue?

-Is there a discount for children?  What about people under 21 who won’t be drinking?  Vendor discount?

-Is your cake included?

-Worst case scenerio-what happens if you have to cancel the wedding?  Do you get your deposit back?  partial deposit?  Do you have to see if another wedding will book for that day?


Its also a good idea to know your approximate guest list.

We made a spreadsheet with all the venues’ costs calculated based on 150 people.

We also made a spreadsheet for our top choices to compare what was included as far as food went.  Like one place offered 6 passed hors d’ouvres with 3 stations, and another was 8 passed hors d’ouvres, and no stations


Good Luck and have fun!!  When you find the right place, you will know it!!


Edit:  The above suggestions are awesome too!!  We loved the place we wound up with, but at first it was expensive for amount of food we were getting (other places at the same place offered more food).  But we wanted to have a Sunday wedding, so asked if they could do anything because we wanted Sunday.  They were able to reduce their price and we were able to add more food!  We also took a chance on a new venue.  They had just opened up events for the public (it was a private country club)  They were in the process of re-vamping their menu and getting more expensive.  We got a lot more stuff included because we booked early!!

Post # 5
1835 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor

I was nervous and worried we’d forget something, too, so we brought a printed list of questions (similar ot the ones PPs posted above). It really helped guide the conversation and bring out some of the details the venue didn’t mention.

At the end of the day, go with your gut! I’ve read a few stories here on the Bee of brides who were totally torn between two venues, but it sounds like most people find one place that just works the best. That was the case for Mr. wallaby and I – we had a short list of dealbreakers, and we found just one venue that didn’t have a single dealbreaker and had tons of other perks (and easily fit in our budget!).

Post # 9
1348 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

Others may have covered this, but here are some questions I asked-

– How many people can the venue accommodate?

– Do you allow outside catering, or is it all in house?

– How does the bar work (do we need to provide alcohol, is it per head or by consumption, is there the option to put an amount on the bar, what alcohol is available)?

– Are there any curfews (alcohol, noise or time we must leave by)?

– What is the venue fee?

– What dates are you available?

– Are we able to decorate or are there restrictions?

– Is set up and clean up included in the price, or do we need to do it?

– What is included in the venue package (chairs, tables, signing table, microphones and speakers, security, bar staff ect)?

– What times will we have the venue?

– Are there any food or alcohol restrictions?

-Will we have exclusive use of the venue?

– How much is the deposit, when will we need to make the final payments?

Rain plan?
I’m sure i’ve forgotten some, but honestly the easiest way to find a venue is to email or call them and ask all these questions. If you have your heart set on something the venue will not allow then there’s no point going yo look at the venue. I had one venue tell me I should come and look at the place when I asked for a quote, but if they aren’t giving me the details there is no way my FH and I can take a day off work to see something that probably won’t be right for us (otherwise we’d never be at work).

Make sure you write down questions and take them with you, or you’ll forget them lol. Good luck!

Post # 10
944 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

All of the OPs had good suggestions, but I will add one more: make sure that the parking is accessible for everyone and hopefully inexpensive – I had to turn down one venue because the parking was tricky (up on a steep hill) and there was a long walk to the actual site.

Post # 11
1855 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

If you’re willing to consider this- ask if it’s cheaper to get married on a Sunday. My venue was literally 9k cheaper on a Sunday compared to Saturday. Take lots of pics, and ask about payment plans. Good luck!

Post # 12
1348 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2014


I forgot about that one! Also, wheel chair access if any disabled or elderly will be attending.

Post # 14
2692 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Congrats on the venue.  When I went venue hunting the most important questions were:

How many people can the venue fit

If not AI, do thay include tables and chairs

Did they just rent the space, could we bring in our own vendors

Was there a room or space for me to use


Most venues gave us a packet with all their info.  The venue I fell in love with, I set up a follow up meeting to ask all the other questions I forot to ask the first time around.

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