Venue touring is one of the first things you should do when starting your wedding planning journey. Some couples choose to do it first, before discussing the budget or before hiring a wedding planner, while some choose to do it after they hired a wedding planner to make the process smoother and to maximize the help they can get. Choosing your venue can help you finalize your wedding date, as it will depend on the availability of the venue.
 When touring venues, some questions such as what the capacity of the venue is, how many hours you are allowed on site, etc... are obvious to ask to the venue manager. However, most couples do not know that there are many not so obvious questions that are as important to their wedding day and can make their dream venue not so dreamy anymore. Here are some important topics to discuss with the venue manager when searching for the right venue:

1- Will they allow flexibility in menu selection?
Knowing how much flexibility the venue provides with the menu is important. Are they able to accommodate the fact that some of your guests want gluten-free meals? Or how many vegetarian options can they provide? Can they allow you to bring an outside caterer? Are you allowed to have your wedding cake made by your favorite baker, which is an outside baker for them? Can they modify some meals to a specific taste? Can they cook other cuisines? Knowing that a venue can accommodate you culturally is something most couples appreciate, especially multicultural couples.

2- What policy do they exercise for “tastings?” Couples are surprised when they are told they must pay for the tasting. Yes, some venues will charge a fee for tasting even for the bride and groom, while some will charge a fee for anybody but the bride and groom.

3- How many hours before the event can vendors access the room for set-up?
It is important to plan for set-up and breakdown time in your wedding day timeline. This is time to allow vendors such as florists/decorators to transform the space and bring your vision to life. Different venues provide different amounts of time to vendors for set-up and breakdown and charge a fee for extra time on site if there was no agreement in advance. Ask your vendors how much time they need to make any installations on the wedding day and communicate it to your venue manager. Your wedding planner/coordinator is responsible for communicating these details with each party and adding it to your wedding day timeline to avoid any unplanned events or waste of time.

4- Are there any on-site staff available to help with setup and cleanup?
This is as important as knowing how much time you have for setup and breakdown. We know it takes a village to make your wedding day happen, but your family is not the village. We recommend leaving the setup and cleanup to professionals. Unfortunately, many couples leave these tasks to family members, but those deserve to enjoy the wedding as well. Ask your venue if their staff can help before and after the wedding so that your loved ones do not have to do the heavy lifting. Your wedding day is a special day for them too. Chances are that your venue will not charge you extra for that since they have already planned to have staff on site.

5- Are there any noise restrictions or other regulations?
Noise restrictions are often overlooked, but they can seriously hinder your wedding celebration. Some venues must apply noise restrictions due to their location: for example, a beautiful venue in the heart of the city must stop the music by 10:00pm, which means that you might end your reception by 9:30pm, or 9:45pm. Asking your venue if they have to apply noise restrictions can help you decide whether or not an early day wedding is the best option for you, rather than an evening wedding. Discuss if there are other regulations that you should be aware of. One of our wonderful coupleshad to cut their guest list by about 50 guests due to their dream venue only having the capacity to host 150 guests. Addressing those points from the beginning already gives you an idea of how much you are ready to sacrifice to have your dream venue.

Just going on venue visits can be overwhelming, so make sure to get EVERYTHING IN WRITING. This will help you compare venues and decide which one is the best fit. Also, when finally choosing your dream venue, keeping detailed notes of all exchanges and agreements with the venue is important in case the venue staff changes before your wedding date.
Looking for a venue tour buddy that has your best interest at heart? We are all about making sure you have fun throughout the process. Let us know when you want to sit down for a quick coffee chat!

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