Viewing potential wedding venues is time consuming and sometimes a little bit overwhelming. Many couples would agree that by the end of it all, it’s difficult to remember what each venue offered.
Before making appointments with wedding co-ordinators all over the place, it is useful to do some ‘desk-based research’ to make the actual visit more productive.
Before Your Visit
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, it’s worth spending some time in advance considering the following:
• Is the venue’s wedding packages and pricing available online or can they email it to you? If so, download this and check that there is an offering that suits your budget.
• Does their website or wedding brochure mention a minimum and/or maximum guest capacity? Again, ensure that the venue is suitable for your needs.
• Does the venue have accommodation and if so, how many guests does it accommodate? Is there a reduced rate for wedding guests?
• If you are comparing a few venues, are they similar or completely different? For example, hotel packages may vary from restaurant packages. Likewise, venues that offer exclusive use on the day of the wedding may have different pricing to venues that remain open to the public while the wedding is taking place.
• Can you visit the venue on the day of an actual wedding or wedding showcase to see a wedding set up to get a proper feel for how it looks on the day of a wedding?
• If you have your heart set on a particular date, check by phone or email that it is available to save yourself a wasted trip.
• Is a deposit required and if so, how much is it? Will the venue provisionally hold a date for you without a deposit while you check availability with other suppliers, ceremony venue, etc.?
Find out as much as you can in advance of your visit to ensure that the venue is right for your needs. Make an appointment to speak with the wedding co-ordinator. (If you don’t have an appointment, you may not get to speak with the most relevant person.)
During Your Visit
Once you’ve answered all of the above, you can ask the wedding co-ordinator or marketing person questions that aren’t typically in the wedding brochure or website. The following are just a few to give you some ideas:
• Where do guests mingle on arrival?
• Where does the wedding couple enter when they arrive and will the guests be ushered to greet them?
• If the venue is required for a civil ceremony, where will this take place? If it is the same room for ceremony and reception, how long will it take to turn the room around after the ceremony?
• Is there a complimentary menu tasting offered and are extra guests welcome at this?
• What is the corkage fee?
• What room/table décor is included?
• What shape/size are the tables and where is the ‘top table’ located?
• Where will the band be located and where do they enter the building?
• Does the venue print menus and table plans or is the couple expected to provide these?
• Is there a PA system and microphone for speeches?
• What time does the bar close and what time does the music finish? This will depend on the type of venue and their licencing arrangements. For example, a restaurant will have an earlier closing time to a hotel.
• Can the venue provide a list of local accommodation, hairdressers, beauticians, taxis etc.?
• Finally, remember to ask about off peak and mid-week discounts as there may be savings to be made!
Take notes and follow up by email with any questions that you forget to ask at your visit. If the venue doesn’t have their terms and conditions readily available, ask to see a sample contract so that there are no surprises after you book.
The Red Door Country House regularly holds wedding showcases and wedding fayres. Dates of these are always available on our Facebook page.
Even if you are not in the area, it is a good idea to send a family member or friend on your behalf to get a feel for the venue.