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Previewing Wedding Venues

by Judith Rivers-Moore

The Coach

Once you have the DATE, Three important things stand out when you are beginning to look at, and preview wedding venues.  

1. Your budget -  food & alchol on site = 1/2 your budget, catered with alchol, party rentals = 2/3

2. Your number of guests.(after you have everyone's list in) Remember groomsmen and bridesmaids will each be offered to include a guest.

3. Your personal preferences & dreams.

Create your budget (find a great one in our online wedding planning book,) 

                                                       "The Wedding Manifesto"

Understand you will need 1/3 of your funds for deposits up front to ask for specific dates from a venue or vendor.  Try to put off purchasing your dress until you and your intended agree on the

type of wedding location you are planning to have. Always ask for a written contract from any venue or wedding service you hire.

Consider researching the internet for wedding site possibilities. It is not unusual for the ceremony to be held 10 or 20 miles from the reception site. 

While a wedding site may look nice on the internet, there are six things you specifically

will want to know prior to going to review the site.

1. Is it available on the date you want?

2. The number of guests it will host.

3.  Is the location what your family member or best friend used. (you may end up replicating their wedding.)

4. Does it really reflect what you and your intended WANT?

5. Is the venue within your price range - remember the food included or catered

6. If food is included with the site, do you like their food and menus. Ask for a tasting.

Find 3 or 4 locations that you really think would be good to preview, set appointments and look for specific things.

1. The neighborhood and entrance to the property

2.  Available parking

3. How clean is it, paint on the walls, restrooms, bridal dressing area, etc

4. What is the view from the windows.

5. Do the colors go with your wedding plans

6. Are the people respectful of your questions and easy to work with.

7. How many weddings will be going on that day at the site?

8. How much time does your wedding have - the hours in/out.

9. Look for dance floor size, alcohol services, audio/visual if needed.

10. Trash, cleanup and rules of the site. (you need a copy)

11.  Will there be a manager or wedding hostess on site that day.

12.  Does the site require you use specific wedding services.

13.  Does the site require you have a day of wedding planner.

14.  If they are preparing the food. Do they have state department of health license.

15.  If they are serving the alcohol.  Do they have license to serve, and a server trained in responsible hospitality.

16.  How LATE in the evening before the reception must stop.

Sometimes we fall in love with a venue that is too pricey.  Ask if there are discounts for

Friday or Sunday weddings?

Gardens, Beaches, Golf Courses  and Outdoor Wedding Concerns

You will want to ask questions about the following for event managers.  

  • With beaches, it is all about when the tide comes in and the winds blow.
  • As with all outdoor concerns, will it be too hot, rainy, foggy, cold or sunburn weather?
  • Umbrella tables do help along with misters on hot days.
  • Insects are another issue. To me an outdoor wedding with a candida birthing would be the

worst possible thing. Ugh! - Yet June Bugs and Mosquitoes take a second.

  • Cooling evenings we rent and turn on the heat lamps.  Very effective.
  • Flies and Yellow Jackets are invasive if they smell food, Fish especially.

Churches, Temples and Synagogues
Very few churches, Temples & Synagogues accept weddings from non-members.  United Methodist, Presbyterian, Christian Science and Unitarian often welcome public weddings, as well as state run Catholic Missions.  
Religious settings do have some requirements for brides and the reception room.
1.  Brides may be required to cover their heads and shoulders.
2.  No alcohol in their reception rooms.
3.  Use of their organ/piano and wedding hostess.
4.  No photographers in the front during the ceremony.