Five wedding pros break down what you should consider before touring venues.

By Lauren Wellbank
April 20, 2021
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Choosing your wedding venue is arguably the most important decision of the entire planning process—this space often dictates the date, size, and aesthetic of your celebration. That's why the search for your perfect wedding venue requires lots of careful planning and thought. To help you say "I do" to your ideal ceremony and reception space, we asked big-day pros to share the questions they want their own clients to ask themselves before touring any potential venues.

How much can we afford to spend on a venue?

Heather Jones of Wente Vineyards says you should always determine your overall budget, which will give you an idea of how much you can afford to spend on a venue, before you start visiting properties. Otherwise, you may see a space you love that's more money than you can realistically afford and you'll either have to walk away or try to make the numbers work. The problem with the latter course of action, according to Jones? "That means less money for your food, beverage, and décor, and you may ultimately find yourself cutting corners everywhere else."

What is our ideal wedding date?

It's best to start your venue search with some idea of when you'd like to get married, Jones says. "However, unless you're set on a concrete date (such as an anniversary, birthday, etc.), we recommend that you have a general month or multiple dates in mind in the event that your venue is booked on the specific date you've chosen," she explains. "Don't let availability deter you from your dream venue! Better yet, opting for a non-traditional wedding date, such as a Friday or Sunday, can even save you money on the overall package."

What are our priorities?

"Before I take my clients on a site visit to any venue, I need to know everything I can about my [their] wishes and vision," Oleta Collins of Flourishing Art says. This helps her understand if they are going to need to consider extra power for lights and a photo booth or if there's enough space for their lounge space. Even if you're not working with a wedding planner, this is a worthwhile exercise: Ask yourself what your priorities are. Is it having an amazing party? Then you will a wedding venue with a beautiful, spacious dance floor and one that will allow you to choose your own band or DJ instead of working with a preferred vendor list. Michael Coombs of Michael Coombs Entertainment says, "Many couples have booked venues only to realize after the fact that they have to use the in-house DJ or there's an extremely high plug-in fee."

Is this space large enough to accommodate all of our guests?

Carrie Darling of Carrie Darling Events says you should have an idea of what your guest count will be so that you know the space will fit your needs before you go. "It is hard to fall in love with one possibility, only to find it is not an option!" she explains.

Are pets allowed?

Are you considering having your fur-baby participate in your wedding day? If so, you will want to make sure your venue will allow it. Veronica Silva of Pawfect for You says, "Too often I see couples assume that they can bring their pet onsite. Unfortunately, many venues (and even other vendors) have specific policies around pet presence. As couples with furry kids tour venues, they not only should ask if the venue allows dogs, but they should ask what are the rules? If one venue only allows pets outside, that can pose a problem if it rains or if it's extremely hot. A venue with air conditioning in the bridal suite or an open-air cocktail hour may be more desirable."

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