What to Know When Selecting a Venue

September 24, 2019

What to Know When Selecting a Venue


There are quite a few things to take into consideration when selecting your wedding venue.  We picked the brains of our friends over at North River Yacht Club in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and asked them what we needed to know before making such a big selection!  Check out their tips below!

What to Know When Selecting a Venue

Photography by: JMP Weddings

What to Know When Selecting a Venue

Finding the best venue for your wedding day is usually the first step in your planning process for the big day! There are a lot of things to keep in mind and questions to ask besides cost. Here are a few helpful ideas and hints to picking the venue that is right for you:

Before You Start Your Search:

  • Do: Set a general venue budget range before starting your search. This will help you to know which venues you should spend your time touring and learning more about. Ideally a venue should be 10-20% of your total wedding budget, with the costs for venue + catering averaging around 40%-50% of the wedding costs. 
  • Do: Sit down with your fiancé and make a tentative guest list. Having an idea of how many guests you’ll have will help you narrow down which venues are too small or too large.
  • Don’t: Try not to get attached to one certain date before starting your search, as this can make finding a venue more difficult.
  • Do: Talk it over with your partner and pick out several dates or a season you would like to host the wedding in. This will help you to know more about what to ask venues for date booking and for questions about how they operate during different seasons (for example: If you have a December wedding, will you have to deal with their holiday décor?)

Questions to Ask Your Venue:

  • What is included in the rental price? : Make sure to ask about things like the length of time the rental lasts for (and does that time include set-up hours?), if any furniture is included such as tables and chairs, and if the venue does any of the set up. Missing important details like these can leave you paying for a high furniture rentals bill or staffing fees for set up!
  • What are the vendor requirements? : Every venue is different regarding what they do for weddings and what vendors they allow. Some venues are just a space rental requiring you to book other vendors for all other details. Some venues include all or some of the standard wedding needs like flowers and cakes into their rentals. 
  • When can you rehearse? : Some venues do not include time on the day before the wedding to practice, so it’s always a good idea to ask in advance! For most people, this is not a deal breaker, but it can put a delay in your morning-of plans for the wedding.

Helpful Hints in Planning:

  • Outdoor Venues: Rule #1 is always, always, always have a rain backup plan! If your outdoor venue would need a tent in case of bad weather, factor that into your budget planning right from the start so you know what you are getting into.
  • Vendors: If you do happen to already have another vendor booked (such as your photographer or florist) make sure the venue will allow your vendor to work there. Some venues have strict preferred vendor lists. 
  • Hidden Fees: At your tour or over phone/email communication, ask LOTS of questions. I promise you, the venue is used to it! Make sure you know exactly what you are getting into when booking your venue. It is always a great idea at the end of any conversation to ask if there are any other additional fees or costs that have not been discussed yet. This can help you to get all the information before you are locked into a venue. 

What to Know When Selecting a Venue



Jennifer McAteer and Emily Bertilino (JMP Weddings)

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