Wedding Venue Checklist
Choosing a wedding venue makes the wedding planning more official. What makes a good wedding venue?
Location, location, LOCATION!
Choosing a Wedding Venue is no easy feat and it plays a big part in how your day unfolds.
It can be overwhelming seeing castles, rooftop gardens, and oceanside settings, all while wanting to stay within budget. But, you want your guests to leave with only the best memories.
How to find the perfect wedding venue comes down to; you, your fiancé, your budget, a bit of dreaming and a bit of compromise.
When Should You Book The Wedding Venue?
In order to ensure you secure your dream wedding venue, you need to book it at least one year in advance prior to your wedding date.
I like to have my couple start the process of finding a wedding venue at least 13-14 months and then securing it with a deposit at least one year before the wedding day.
If not, the lastest should be 9 months before the wedding!
The most popular wedding venues can be booked sometimes years in advance in order to get secure your perfect wedding venue, be sure you are ahead of time.
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Questions To Ask Your Wedding Venue
They are a few things you need to consider before choosing a wedding venue. A few questions to ask yourself before making that choice.
Remember, you don’t need to stick to your more traditional venues when choosing your wedding venues. Other options like alternative wedding venues can also work for you.
We have outlined the most important questions to ask your wedding venue below:
Is the Venue available on your date?
If you’re going on venue tours, you probably have an idea of which day or season you’d like to say “I Do” in.
Do you have a date in mind?
Confirm over the phone or by email with as many venues as possible before touring. You may find yourself in a position where choosing to change your date or change your venue could be on the table.
Ask yourself (and your fiancé) if you’re willing to be flexible and where. Choosing your wedding venue could come with sacrifices such as changing your wedding date and even your wedding budget!
Can the Venue host your guests?
Venues have fire codes, restrictions and by-laws like every other organization.
In other words, rentable rooms will have a limit to the number of people they can hold. If you’re planning a wedding with 300+ guests, make sure potential wedding venues have enough space for all of you.
If they don’t, this may be an easy way to take the venue (or some guests) off the list.
Another thing to consider, just because space can hold 200 people, doesn’t mean it’s a comfortable 200. Your wedding is something people will talk about for years to come and you want those memories to be positive.
To shed some light on this subject, our wedding was originally going to host 17 guests.
Part of our venue tours, calls and emails included confirming they were willing to waive the guest minimum.
It was also super important that the wedding space we chose made us feel like nothing was missing.
In the end, we had a guest list of 40.
The ballroom we used could hold 80 people, however; our guests all said the same thing, “The wedding space was perfect for 40 people, any more and it would have felt crowded for sure!”
What is included with the Venue? Are there restrictions on other vendors you can use?
More and more, we’re seeing all-inclusive packages when it comes to wedding venues.
This means they would provide a space for your ceremony and reception, provide a caterer, and even tables with linens, chairs, plates, glasses, and flatware.
This is a great option if you’re looking to keep your budget lower, you’re planning the wedding on your own, or are just wanting a little less stress.
Now, if you’re not going all-inclusive, some venues still have a preferred caterer should you sign with them.
Take the time to get all the information because while it could seem pricey, it could be more affordable when you look at the big picture.
Consider what kind of food you’re looking to serve as well; perhaps a venue’s caterer has a very specific menu.
If the menu isn’t to your liking, and the venue isn’t willing to work with you, head for the door. This is YOUR day and food is not something you settle on!
Is this Venue within your budget?
To dream is to live and having a crazy, wild idea of what this special day looks like is great! But, don’t torture yourself.
Don’t sign a venue that you just can’t afford.
If you spend all your money on a venue, then you’ll have to make cuts in other aspects of your wedding and I’ll tell you right now, you and your guests want an Overall Experience – not a great venue with not-so-great food and music.
They are so many ways to create a wow factor when you’re on a low budget wedding.
Take the time to sit down with your fiancé and research the average rates for wedding locations in your desired area. Choosing a wedding venue shouldn’t be a rushed decision for sure.
I also recommend negotiating what is included in the price.
It doesn’t hurt to ask about throwing in a bridal suite OR getting a discount on linens.
Staying within your budget is the best thing you can do, and your future self will thank you when it’s all said and done.
Does the Venue space fit your needs and vision?
If you’re choosing an all-inclusive venue, there are a lot of sub-events happening in the same space.
Does the location transform from a ceremony to cocktail hour, to reception well?
Discuss with the coordinator how flipping the wedding space has happened in the past, and also see about using different rooms for different parts of the day.
Does the location have the capacity to do all these things?
Speaking of different rooms, will there be other weddings happening on the same day?
What does that look like for you and your guests?
We got married on a Tuesday at 11 am; we had the place to ourselves and were able to use unique spaces for the ceremony, mimosa hour, and reception.
If you’re getting married on a Saturday at 3 pm, you’re likely looking at 2 or 3 other weddings happening around the same time.
Another thing to look at with all-inclusive packages is the decor.
Depending on what the venue is supplying, this could help in your decision-making process.
Are the tables sturdy and big enough to seat guests comfortably? Do they have linens that work with your wedding colors? What’s new? What’s old? Is anything being replaced before you get married?
Think of your wedding theme and ensure the wedding venue can accommodate your needs.
If the all-inclusive package isn’t available, is beyond your budget, or just isn’t for you, you’ll need to take note of what you’ll be responsible for in order to host your guests at the venue you choose.
When you meet with venue coordinators, see if they have preferred wedding vendors or recommendations on rental companies in the area.
Since you’re already talking about money, ask about hidden wedding costs, additional costs to have things included, and back-up plans in case something falls through.
These can add up quickly and the last thing you need on your honeymoon is to be blindsided by a couple of extra zeroes on your credit card. Be aware of all wedding expenses before choosing a wedding venue!
Speaking of back-up plans, don’t forget about the weather.
Is it an outdoor venue? Do they provide a back-up plan of any kind?
As hard as you might try, sometimes Mother Nature has different plans and it’s beyond your control.
If the weather is a factor, create a plan that allows your day to run smoothly and stress-free rain or shine.
When it comes to choosing a venue for your wedding, whether it’s for the ceremony OR for all events that day, it really comes down to your gut instinct.
One of my tips; look up photographers who have shot weddings at the venues you’re considering.
Seeing pictures of ceremonies, receptions, etc. helped me visualize what my day could look like.
My husband and I toured about 4 or 5 locations, and the minute we saw where we could be saying “I Do” at Liuna Gardens, we just knew that it was the place for us.
Every other venue we saw had its pros and cons but none gave us “the feeling” quite like Liuna. It checked off all of our boxes; in location, price, and amenities.
Trust your gut, it won’t steer you wrong
This is part of our wedding series where we feature tips from real brides like you. This one is from Stephanie Groulx – I Am Engaged! Now What? 3 Things To Seriously Think About!
Stephanie Stephanie Groulx is a tax credit coordinator by day and content creator by night. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga practice, adventuring with her husband, and binge-watching Netflix with takeout.
You can find more about Steph at thestephedit.com and on Instagram at
@thestephedit and photo by Lexie Laus Photography @lexielausphotography!
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