Congratulations, you’re looking at ceremony venues!! Honestly, this part was by far my favourite part of the entire wedding planning process. I honestly wish I could turn back time and do it all over again just because it was so fun. I’d still pick the same venue (it was legitimately my dream venue), but I’d enjoy touring multiple other ones for fun.
Welcome back to my “You’re Engaged – Now What?” series! This is part 3 of the ongoing series. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out parts 1 and 2 of the guide and continue on for help, advice, and free printables!
Related Content: “You’re Engaged – Now What?” Series
1: So You’re Engaged – Now What?
2: The First Questions to Ask Your Partner When Planning a Wedding
3: What You Need to Ask Your Ceremony Venue
4: Questions to Ask Your Reception Venue
5: Top Tips for Wedding Dress Shopping
6: Finding The Perfect Bridesmaids Dress
If you haven’t already, go read Part 2 of the “You’re Engaged – Now What?” series. This part covers the first six questions you and your partner need to discuss in order to begin planning your wedding. While discussing, keep track of your answers by writing them down! Having a copy will come in handy for the rest of your wedding planning process.
Now that you have completed part 2, it is time to go around looking at different venues for your ceremony! Make sure you have the answers from your six questions with you while touring these venues. You specifically need to know: what is your venue budget, how many guests are you planning on having, do you want your ceremony and reception in the same place, and what time do you want your ceremony to begin. Also keep in mind your vision for the wedding, as well as the smaller details such as having an open bar or needing a bridal suite.
10 Questions You Need To Ask Your Ceremony Site
1. Facility rental fee? Ceremony fee? Set-up and breakdown fee? Staffing fee?
A lot of venues will give you a charge per head – try to get the absolute closest to the total that you can; even if that means bringing a calculator, pen, and paper to keep track of all the different totals. Ask if there is a difference in price during the off-season. Some venues charge almost half if you get married in the winter or doing a weekday.
2. Do you provide an on-site coordinator?
If not, do they have any recommended coordinators who work with their venue often and will know how it runs?
3. How many weddings or events do you host on one day? Will there be one before or after mine?
If you’re not having your ceremony and your reception at the same cite, find out if there will be a wedding before or after yours. Also, how long is the time between each wedding? This can hugely impact your start and end time. If there is a wedding before you, you will not be able to have decorators or any guest arrive until after their time is over. If there is a wedding after you, this can lead you to feel rushed and stressed about any little thing that may go wrong.
4. Is there a changing room/bridal suite?
One of the venues we checked out had their bridal suite at the very back of the woman’s bathroom. This was a huge no for me as I wanted the suite to be accessible to not just me, but to my father and Tim as well. I wanted my father to be able to let me know when the coast was clear to get ready to walk down the aisle. I wanted a place for Tim to store his suit jacket or anything else he had on him.
Another thing that was important to me was: how does the suite lock? I am famous for losing keys, so I preferred a venue that had a code on the door. It wasn’t a deciding factor for me, but just an added bonus.
5. Are there picturesque locations? Inside and outside?
Unfortunately, we can’t pick the weather on our wedding day. Having picturesque locations both inside and outside of the venue is important just in case Mother Nature is not on your side.
6. Is it wheelchair accessible?
It is extremely important to not only make sure all your guest can get to your venue regardless of their physical abilities, but also that any vendors you have can easily get their supplies in and out.
7. Is a microphone provided? Sound system?
Your DJ may not need the venue to provide a sound system, but it’s a good idea to know the answer just in case.
8. Are candles or open flames allowed?
Not often will you use candles during a ceremony, but this question is especially important if your reception is in the same location.
9. Flower girls: Can they toss little flower peddles? Can they blow bubbles?
You would be surprised with how many venues I visited that said no to flower peddles being tossed.
10. If outdoor: Is there a backup plan?
Again, weather is super unpredictable – especially when you’re planning things possibly a year or more in advance! Try to make sure you are not going to be forced to stand in the rain or hail while saying your “I Do’s”.
5 Questions You Probably Wouldn’t Think of Asking
1. What is the cancellation policy?
I know what you’re thinking, “no way will I ask this, we are totally going to last”, but trust me – that’s not why this question is important! A lot of people get into the wedding planning process just to decide that they hate the process and want to elope instead. Unfortunately, because they didn’t read the cancellation policy, they are now stuck with either going forth with the wedding as planned or losing out on all that they have paid up to that point. Ask for the cancellation policy!
2. How big is the aisle? (Two person side by side, three?)
This is just important to know when planning your processional and recessional. Every venue will have space for two to walk side by side, but if you plan on having one bridesmaid with two groomsmen or vice versa, or maybe three flower girls together, you’ll need to know if it is even possible.
3. Is there adequate parking? Can cars be left overnight?
Don’t drink and drive. The end.
4. Can setup be done the night before?
If you’re doing the decorations or centerpieces yourself, being able to do it all the night before is a lifesaver! Otherwise, you may have to hire someone (or ask a friend) to do it for you the day-of while you get ready.
5. Is a rehearsal included?
You may not think you need a rehearsal but you do. A rehearsal is extremely important so everyone knows where to stand at the end, how slow to walk (if you think you’re walking slow, walk slower), and to learn what your cues are.
Want more insight into my wedding planning journey?