- I am a
wedding plannerand there are things to consider and watch out for when choosing a venue.
- Make sure you know what you’re buying and where and when your payments are due.
Booking a venue is often the first major choice a couple makes when planning a wedding.
As a wedding planner who has organized more than 50 wedding ceremoniesHere’s what I think couples should consider when deciding where to get married, along with some red flags to watch out for:
A place should be respectful of your love and your identities
Unfortunately, many places continue to make couples feel actively unsafe and invisible.
For example, a venue may offer a “bridal” room to get ready, although many couples do not include someone who identifies as a bride or the gendered decor of the space. Or maybe the coordinator will only make eye contact with one person and ask them questions.
You know it, but it bears repeating: Your
It’s up to you if you want to tell the place why you took your thousands of dollars elsewhere, but regardless, beware of homophobia, racism and sexism when looking for places.
You need to know what you’re actually paying for when you book a space
Many couples embark on planning a
Be clear about what you actually want to buy for your wedding, and don’t be tempted by options that just won’t work, no matter how beautiful. Then, when you start visiting sites, be clear about what you’re actually paying for.
Is this a place that provides tables and chairs or are you responsible for renting these items yourself? What about tablecloths, napkins and A/V equipment? Will this place need a dance floor? How about a tent?
Consider all of these costs when making your decision.
Make sure you know clearly how much money you owe and when it’s due
With a venue contract, the main thing I look for is how much is due and when. It is extremely important in the age of COVID-19 because it’s much easier to get back money you never paid.
The vast majority of venues will require a deposit and then the rest of the money will only be due much closer to the wedding – usually no sooner than 60 days before the event, but I’ve seen as early as 120 days or, in one notable experience, six months.
Be aware that what you owe and when it’s due will change if the venue also offers food or beverage service. Usually, this piece of the bill is due even closer to the wedding – often two weeks – as well as after the event, if you’re paying for an open bar.
It’s worth checking the COVID-19 clause in case you need to reschedule or cancel
More and more, the response to “What if COVID-19 disrupts our wedding plans?” is going to be, “You knew what you were getting into, so we’re no longer waiving rescheduling fees, and any money you paid us is non-refundable.”
There will be exceptions to this rule – like if government guidelines literally make it illegal to host your event – but even then, check your contract to see if there’s anything COVID-specific- 19 you need to know.
If you don’t understand the language of the site’s policy in the contract, ask for clarification. Quality providers have quality answers.
Please keep in mind that this (potentially upsetting) answer isn’t because your wedding venue and vendors are mean – it’s because they’re just people.
Some establishments will require event insurance
It’s not a red flag, but many sites require a couple to purchase what’s called event insurance, as well as alcohol specific liability insurance.
This is a separate purchase from the insurance to cover if you reschedule or cancel the wedding.
A place that requires event insurance will likely include specific details in the contract, such as how much you need to insure and who needs to be on the policy.
You can expect to pay between $100 and $175 for the font itself.
A venue should not put unnecessary pressure on you to book
If you have researched wedding planning 2022 for more than five minutes, you’ve probably been making headlines about the marriage boom and wondering if it’s true.
Many people book
So beware of places that make you feel doomed if you don’t book immediately. They probably aren’t lying about the demand, but that’s probably not the kind of vibe you want to manage for the rest of your wedding planning experience.
You need to know in advance where the waste, recycling and compost goes
Don’t be surprised if a place has very specific characteristics waste rules.
Some may ask you to take all glass and cardboard with you when you leave or to use only certain bins.
This doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but it is information you, your partner, and anyone providing food should know.
Know when you can enter and when you must leave the event space
Know when you can access the venue – usually a block of hours on the wedding day – and when you need to exit. You should end the party an hour before so you have time to clean up.
Some venues also require the music to be turned down or completely turned off at a certain time, which can kills the mood for some couples.
Other venues may have specific rules about when you can hold a rehearsal in the space which may not be what you and your partner have in mind.
One place I know requires all rehearsals to be on Thursdays, which often doesn’t work for couples who have a good number of guests heading into town for a weekend wedding.
Make sure you understand who the site coordinator is and their role
Almost every venue has a venue coordinator, who is your point of contact and may be onsite during your wedding. It’s not the same as a wedding coordinator.
A ward coordinator is responsible for things related to the space, like turning on the lights, monitoring the temperature, and locking up at the end of the night. They are not in charge of setting up decorations, checking with vendors and make sure to stay on time.
You and your partner need to be clear who is on your supplier team and who does what.