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  • Meredith Heim

12 Must-Ask Questions On Venue Tours

Updated: Apr 25

Let's make sure you aren't bamboozled by your venue and get everything that you want out of the space.


Blog Cover Image by Heim Ziegler Pictures


Touring wedding venues is so exciting, but also a bit stressful. You are bombarded with a lot of information all at once and it is normal to feel a little out of depth. Your venue is your first big decision, as it will allow to to lock-in your wedding date and begin to book your other vendors.


We recommend touring at least 3 venues. Be patient! Unless it is absolute love at first tour, compare a few options and make sure you are not compromising too much right off the bat. Read through our burning questions we believe no venue tour should go without.


Question #1 - What Is Included In Your Venue Price?

Your venue will be one of the largest ticket expenses in your wedding planning process. Get list of everything that is included in that quote you've been given. All buildings, barns, suites, tables, chairs, timeframe, etc. Does the venue offer complementary rehearsal time? Is the day before booked? You may be able to book extra time the day before to drop off big items and decor so you are not doing that heavy lifting the morning of your wedding.


Ask for a bulleted list of what is included or for their informational brochure.



Question #2 - What Is NOT Included In Your Venue Quote?

Don't sign anything until you ask directly: What are we responsible for renting? What vendors are we responsible for bringing in? Can you bring in anyone you want or is there a preferred list we are required to choose from?


Hidden required big ticket rentals could cost you more than what you are spending on the venue itself. This will eat up your budget and leave you having to settle on food, bar options, decor and overall vision.


Trust your gut when it comes to the venue representative giving you the tour. Preferred lists can be tricky, if they have one. Try to gauge if they truly think their preferred vendors are reputable and trustworthy or if these vendors just threw them some cash and basically bribed them to say they're the best.


Restrooms, a tent, tables and chairs.. These are each $5-10k worth of additional rentals that are not always included.



Question #3 - What Is The Maximum Capacity Of Your Reception Space(s)?

This is a big one. I have seen couples uninvite guests that they had already sent Save The Dates to because they maxed out their reception space and didn't realize until 2 months before... Major faux pas and a good way to kill a friendship or familial tie that you value.


Scroll down to find out who makes the to-scale mock-up of the reception space table and chair layout.


If applicable, consider what the max capacity would be for the rain plan reception area as well (if it is different).



Question #4 - How Many Guests Do Your Restrooms Facilitate?

Sure the venue has a restroom... but it might be in the bridal suite and has one toilet. Some venues can be tricky with their phrasing and you don't realize you've been got until after you've signed a contract. A 3 stall restroom can typically accommodate 250 guests max.


Also ask if the venue provides items like toilet paper, paper towels, soap...



Question #5 - What Does The Typical Wedding Day Flow Look Like Here?

You do not need to jump into every little logistic on the tour, there are plenty of things in the air at this stage in the game and not worth stressing over prematurely. The venue managers reaction to this question will help you gauge how invested and involved they actually are with their clients during the planning process and the day of. Do they assist at all on the day of or just cash checks and leave you to fend for yourself?


Disclaimer: A Venue Manager is not the same thing as a Day of Coordinator, but they should always be reachable, available, and on site for the duration of your event. Blog on this topic coming soon!


Ask for a map of the property with a legend/numbered locations.



Question #6 - What Is Your Peak Season?

Peak season will be the months venues receive the most inquiries for. Typically these are April-June and August-October for outdoor farm/garden venues. Prices will also be highest for Saturdays. Fridays and Sundays will likely be a few thousand less. Ask the venue manager if there are any times of the year that they do NOT recommend.


If this is an outdoor venue, when is it in full bloom in the spring? When is peak foliage in the fall?



Question #7 - Do You Require A Day Of Coordinator?

Okay, this is another big one. Don't panic if a venue requires a coordinator, it is honestly a good thing if they do. It is an additional expense, but truthfully one of the best investments you can make for your overall peace of mind. More about this in next weeks blog.


"My Day Of Coordinator was my best friend for the day. I was able to finally relax and enjoy my wedding day. That was worth every penny." – Ashley J.


Question #8 - Is There A Difference In Rates For Different Days Of The Week?

Typically there is a multi-thousand dollar difference between a Friday/Sunday or Saturday venue booking. Weigh the pros and cons! If you are budget conscious, you could easily save $2k that can be repurposed to another slice of the budget pie.


If choosing between a Friday or Sunday, always choose Friday. Blog on this topic coming soon.



Question #9 - Do You Offer Day-Before Rehearsal Time, Or Full Weekend Packages?

Does the venue offer complementary rehearsal time? Is the day before booked? You may be able to book extra time for a fee the day before your wedding to drop off big items and decor, and possibly begin decorating so you are not doing that heavy lifting the morning of your wedding.


Some venues offer full-weekend packages, especially farm venues as they prefer to reduce the footprint/wear and tear on the farm by hosting one group all weekend opposed to three.


Day before and day after time on the property is a game changer. If it is an option and you can afford it, absolutely jump at the chance.



Question #10 - Who Designs And Mocks Up Our Reception Floor Plan?

99% of the time this is the responsibility of your Day of Coordinator, or Wedding Planner. If you are renting a tent from an external vendor, they sometimes offer to mock up your layout for you if you ask. Your venue manager may have some general maximum capacity figures and space dimensions, but it is not their responsibility to draw you a custom to-scale design.


If you do not have a coordinator, use the site AllSeated.



Question #11 - Who Is Responsible For Setting Up Tables And Chairs?

If (hopefully) tables and chairs are provided by your venue, they are likely stored in a separate location from the reception space. Some venues even have multiple reception spaces. The following are the most common parties that table and chair set up are delegated to:

  • The Venue (if they have a team of staff)

  • Catering Team

  • Coordination/Planning Team

Ask your venue if there is an option to pay a fee for set up and tear down or an option to book time the day before to do that heavier lifting before the wedding day and without as much pressure.



Question #12 - Would You Get Married Here?

The million dollar question... Ask your venue representative if they have or would ever host their own event or wedding on the property. Everyone has different tastes and visions, but watch their reaction closely. Someone who is passionate about the property and would use it/has used it for their own event will be more helpful offering advice and guidance.


If they say no, they better have a damn good reason.



Lastly, Give Yourself Enough Time To Plan.

When choosing a venue, you are also choosing your wedding date. If you have a particular date in mind, try to stack your venue tours closer together. Dates will almost always get competitive, especially Fridays and Saturdays. Most venues will not put a hold on your date without a deposit. As a venue manager myself, the average planning time we see between booking a venue and the wedding date is 12-16 months.


Download Cold Saturday Farms informational venue brochure below.


CSF Informational Brochure 2024-2025
.pdf
Download PDF • 10.66MB

Comment below any questions you feel are important to ask on a venue tour.


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