Monday, March 21, 2011

Wedding 101: How to choose a venue

Next week Mr. Modern and I will be going out to town to scout (and hopefully book) a reception venue. Since the perfect venue is a very important aspect of our wedding we wanted to book it as early as possible so we could be sure to get our date and not have to settle for whatever was available. Also, it’s a great for negotiations since we have plenty of time to make a decision.

I started by making a making a list of things that were important to us in a venue such as being able to have the ceremony and reception at the location, being inside, having the venue available until midnight or later, good food, modern/unique d├ęcor, and a general wow factor. Then I made a chart with all of these factors and all of the venues within our per plate price range (which is why it is important to have the guest count and budget at this point).

After looking at photos, virtual tours, and reviews online and emailing back and forth with venues we have narrowed it down to 5 venues between 2 different cities , my hometown of Toledo and the metro Detroit area, which also had some nice options.

In order to help us decide I compiled a list of questions to ask each venue. Some of these I found online, some were suggested by newly married friends, and many were just questions I had:

• What is the facility rental fee?
• What is the cost-for food?
• What is the cost-for beverage?
• If you can hold your ceremony on site, what is the ceremony fee?
• What is the set-up/break-down fee?
• What is the staffing fee? (including bartenders, waiters etc.)
• Is there a fee for security personnel?
• Are there adequate coat check and bathroom facilities?
• What's the cancellation policy?
• Is there a payment schedule? What kind of deposits are required?
• Are there any hidden costs? (Before you sign the contract, read it carefully.)
• Do they have a liquor license? Will they allow you to bring your own liquor?
• Is there a space for the bride and groom to change and/or relax?
• Where will you take photographs? Is there a park nearby, or do the coordinators have recommended spots on the grounds?
• Is there a venue coordinator?
• Where can your guests park? Are there extra fees for parking? Do they have valet parking?
• Especially in museums or private clubs, are there limitations on decorations? Do they limit food and drinks to only certain areas of the wedding venue?
• Are candles or other open flames allowed?
• Are linins included?
• Do you have banquet tables or just round? Could we use both?
• Is there a separate area for the cocktail reception?
• What is the length of the facility rental? Is there an overtime fee if your wedding reception lasts longer?
• Do you have use of the entire reception site? If not - what areas can your party use?
• Does the site have any music or noise restrictions?
• Are there any decorating restrictions?
• Will there be another party during, before or after yours? If so, how will this affect your event?
• Ask if they are doing any remodeling or redecorating from now until your wedding day. You don't want construction going on during your reception.
• Is there a cake cutting fee?


  1. Great list! When we went through our venue selection process, I created a spreadsheet that had a list of questions similar to yours. After filling in all the information from each venue we really had a clear picture of what would work for us and what wouldn't.
    Can't wait to see what you guys select!