Congratulations! You’re engaged! This is likely one of the most exciting and exhilarating times of your life.
As you start looking for your dream wedding venue, it can quickly turn into one of the most stressful times as well.
Between the location, the staff, the decor, and the pricing, there are many details to consider. You rightfully want your big day to be perfect, so how do you know which way to go?
One of the best ways to decide is to book a wedding tour, where you can see the ins and outs of each locale. When you do so, it’s best to come prepared with a list of questions.
Today, we’re discussing eight things to ask on each tour, so you can discern which ones are possibilities, and which are out of the question.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!
1. What Are the Costs?
Before you sample the tasting menu or take a look around the ballroom, it’s helpful to come prepared with a budget. Know how much you’re willing to spend and where you need to draw the line.
Hidden Costs to Know
When the time comes to ask questions, be sure to inquire about pricing before you get into the nitty-gritty details. Even if the base price sounds reasonable, continue digging. There are several hidden costs that you may be unaware of, and you don’t want to end up surprised when that bill comes down the road.
Here are a few sub-costs to be sure and ask about:
- Is there a corkage fee?
- Are there restrooms on-premise, or will we be required to bring them in?
- Is there a power drop charge for systems (such as a DJ booth) that exceed the venue’s capabilities?
- Will we be charged for bringing in outside vendors (flowers, cake, etc.) rather than using the in-house team?
- Will we incur an overtime fee if the event runs past the allotted time frame?
These are just a few considerations to keep in mind. Be as thorough as possible now and don’t sign on the dotted line until you’re comfortable.
2. Is My Date Available?
Nothing ruins an awesome wedding tour experience like learning your dream venue is booked solid on the date you’ve already set.
Be sure to ask about the spot’s availability. If it’s still early on and you haven’t sent out Save the Dates yet, you may consider being flexible in your scheduling. For instance, choosing the weekend before or after your original date might mean you can suddenly snag your dream locale!
On the other hand, if the date holds special meaning to you, such as an anniversary, you’ll understandably need to look elsewhere. When you call to schedule your tour, ask about the date you have in mind and use their answer to determine your next step.
3. What’s the Aesthetic?
You’ve heard about a great new venue that a few of your friends are considering for their big day. You know it’s downtown, and you know it’s hip and new. So you book a wedding tour and you’re expecting a sleek loft at the top of a high-rise.
So, imagine your shock when you realize this trendy new spot is actually a rustic barn full of farmhouse-chic appeal.
If you’re booking a tour sight unseen, be sure to ask about the decor. Is it suited to your taste? If the answer is no, but the price is right, is there room and flexibility for you to incorporate some personal touches to make it feel more “you”?
You want to be comfortable on your wedding day, and you want your venue to express your sense of style. Don’t get stuck doing the Electric Slide in an uptown conference room when you’d rather be doing a square dance in the middle of a pasture, and vice versa.
4. How Far Is It from My Wedding Destination?
Especially if you’re looking at booking a destination wedding, there are many reception spots that also allow you to hold your vow ceremony there, too. The same goes for an off-site wedding, such as one held on a luxury boat, in which guests can hear your vows, nosh on great food, and dance the night away all in the same spot.
Yet, if you’re planning to exchange rings in one spot, then have guests follow you somewhere else for a reception and dinner, you’ll need to see the map. You don’t want to ask your guests to drive 30 minutes across town if you don’t have to.
Look for a spot that’s a reasonable distance from your ceremony to save everyone a little money, gas, and time.
5. Which Hotels Are Nearby?
Ideally, the venue you choose will be centrally located, with close proximity to a handful of top-rated hotels for your guests to choose from. During your wedding tour, ask the staff if there are any nearby places to stay, and which ones they’d recommend.
You can suggest these accommodations to out-of-town guests, so they’re not left scrambling to make a last-minute reservation at a place they know nothing about.
The Issue of Public Transportation
One reason you want hotels close to your venue? If you’re serving alcohol, your guests may need access to public transportation to help them leave safely.
Whether you’re hosting a wedding on a dinner cruise ship or in a ballroom downtown, you’ll need to make sure your guests don’t have too far to travel. It’s a big ask to require them to pay a cab driver to take them 45 minutes away to the nearest inn.
6. How Many People Can You Accommodate?
Planning to invite around 250 guests? You’ll be in major violation of fire code if you try to squeeze them all into a space that’s only built for 100.
Before you set your heart on a location, ask how many people their reception area can safely hold. If you find that it’s way less than your guest list requires, you’ve reached a critical decision-making juncture. Is the number of invitees more important, or the venue?
7. What Services Are Included?
Many locations will provide an all-inclusive package that takes the guesswork and the headache out of planning your wedding reception. For instance, many will provide the space, the music, the flowers, and the food if you require.
While this option sounds great, it’s important to keep in mind that there may be some services that aren’t included. Details such as linens, stereo equipment, wait staff, and more are often overlooked and may come out of your pocket.
On the other hand, some spots will only provide the room, requiring you to outsource all the other aspects. If you like to be hands-on and have a few local vendors in mind, you may want the freedom to choose who you use.
8. Are There Restrictions?
Want people throwing confetti in the lobby as you and your newly betrothed walk to your getaway car? Not so fast. Your location might have a policy that prevents it.
The same goes for those romantic candles you dream of topping every table. A no- open-flame rule can quickly snuff out that idea. In addition to asking about what’s allowed, on your wedding tour, it’s equally important to ask what you can’t do.
For instance, if your spot doesn’t have a liquor license, you’ll only be able to bring in wine and beer. Or, if you’re planning to jam out until past midnight, you might have to keep the music at a certain volume to meet noise restrictions.
Check with the staff and if possible, get a list of rules and regulations so you can get up to speed before the major planning begins.
Say “Yes” To the Wedding Tour of Your Dreams
Looking for something new and fresh when it comes to your wedding venue? Want a spot that will leave guests talking long after the honeymoon?
If so, we’ve got the perfect place in mind.
We’re expert wedding planners who happen to be experts on the River Thames. We know the places to go, the boats to take, the food to cater, and the services to hire to create an on-the-water experience like no other
When you’re ready to start planning, contact us. We’d love to talk you through the details and take that important first step with you!