Ready to finish your list after working on the first part of our venue hunt tips? Then read on!
#5 – Contact your 10-15 venues. Don’t set up a tour yet. Just reach out and see if they are available for your date (be generic if you’re flexible, like what dates do you have available for the month of March?). Ask them to send you information on the venue, such as capacity (double-check they can fit your guest list) and an average cost for a wedding of your guest list size. They are going to want you to come meet with them, resist! This is about preserving your sanity and time, so try to get info by phone or email. You want to get an idea of what clients there spend, not what their basic fees are. This will help you stay on budget! Once you get all the info, try to narrow your list down to less than 10.
#6 – Set up tours! Yes, now you’ve finally reached that point. Grab your list and start scheduling appointments. We suggest setting aside a couple of weekdays and set up all your tours for those two days. Make sure to include any key decision makers, such as you, your groom and parents that might be contributing. (You are trying to avoid making all these tours multiple times.) You’ll get the full attention of the staff, instead of being rushed through while they are setting up for an event. You can always come back later to see what it looks like during an event. For now though, you want the staff to help you understand how their venue will work best for your wedding. We highly discourage you dropping by a venue without an appointment. You can receive misleading information from staff that is not the sales person, plus it might be set up for an event that does not fit your style and turn you off. We know it can be hard to fit the appointments in because of work, school, etc. However, it really will be worth those two vacation days for everyone if that’s the only time you go, instead of losing lunch and weekend time to this hunt for a month or two.
#7 – Now that you’ve seen them, compare, compare, compare! Break it down by listing the services and products you’ll get at each, and then try to average it out to how much you are spending per person (don’t forget to include tax and service charges). Make sure to include items, like table and chair rentals, to compare your true costs from one venue that provides them to another that doesn’t. If you have a tie, set another appointment to go look at each. Maybe while a wedding is being set up so you can see it in action. After you’ve looked at it all and compared, the final thing to do is just go with your gut. If you love a venue, get it! You don’t want to make a decision and regret it later on.
Bella Donna Chapel captured by David Cheney Photography