Wedding Site Selection
The Wedding Site, Venue, and Location
The wedding site is one of the most important aspects of the wedding. It sets the tone for the entire wedding. The wedding site can be a refined backdrop or it can be an additional personality all of its own. The wedding site will be the starting point for the vision of the wedding.
How to Begin the Search
To find the wedding site that is best for you, ask friends whose opinions you trust for references. Also ask local business that might be involved in weddings, such as florists, caterers, or Bridal Wear stores, or consult your local Better Business Bureau. The Internet also can be a valuable resource — do a search for “wedding site” in your town or county.
Evaluating the Wedding Site
First, Call the Site
Once a few possible wedding sites are found, the bride or groom should call the wedding site to inquire about wedding services and availability. Make note of the telephone manner and knowledge of the person with whom you speak, as this is a good indicator of the professionalism of the organization and the type of service you might expect.
Then, Visit the Site
If possible, both bride and groom should see the wedding site before the final decision is made, but, if that is not possible, one or the other can visit with a family member or friend as a second opinion. Does the Wedding Site fit the “vision” that you had for your wedding? Will the wedding ceremony be everything that you had envisioned if it is at this particular wedding site? While it is difficult to accurately foretell the future, asking a lot of questions — both of yourselves and of the proprietors of the wedding site — can help clarify whether the wedding site will fit your wedding, and vice versa.
Remember to ask for the following as soon as you arrive; you can take notes on these while you talk and tour, and thereby have good material to prompt your memory later, when trying to make your final decision:
- A business card of each person you may work with within the facility.
- A brochure that explains what is offered and any exclusions, rules, regulations and options.
- A price sheet, if this is separate from the brochure.
Evaluate the Surroundings
When you arrive at the wedding site, look closely at the surroundings. Many wedding sites seem beautiful in brochures or on the Internet, but not the same in person. Are the surroundings what you had envisioned for your wedding?
Below are some additional wedding site questions that might be asked, either by email, telephone or in person, to assist in evaluating the wedding site:
- Is there a wedding fee for having a wedding? If so, what does the wedding fee include? Does the wedding fee change depending on the number of wedding guests? Are additional services possible? are there additional fees? Do you offer wedding package deals? If so, what are they? Is there a fee for canceling the wedding ceremony? How much and by when will we need to put down the wedding deposit? Is there a security deposit? Does the facility offer refunds? If so, under what circumstances?
- Is a permit or other document required (in addition to the normal state marriage license)? Is there an application, how do you apply?
- Is there a waiting list? Is an early reservation recommended? If so, how early?
- How much time can be reserved? Do you get the entire day, or does the reservation/fee give you only a limited time for your wedding ceremony? If so, how limited?
- Can you change the reservation date and time? If so, how much leeway is there? Is there a fee for changes?
- How much assistance is given with the wedding ceremony? Any? A lot? Get as many details as you can!
- Does the wedding site provide vendors for other elements, such as photographers, florists, etc.? If not, can the site recommend experienced wedding vendors?
- Is equipment provided? Chairs? Podium? Runners? (Etc.) If so, is any equipment included in the rental fee? What additional equipment is available for wedding rental?
- If it is an outside wedding venue is being considered, ask what happens if it rains – Is there an alternate site available, or a tent? Is there an additional fee for this? Normally the facility quickly assembles a room.
- Does the site provide signage to help guide wedding guests and wedding party members to the wedding site? Maps?
- Are there bathrooms on the premises? Or port-a-potties.
- Are there sufficient garbage receptacles on the premises?
- Are there electric outlets on the premises?
- What are the hours available for a wedding?
- Is there a parking area close by?
- How long have you been in business?
- How many weddings have been performed here?
- Do you offer any guarantees?
- Do you have an in-house wedding consultant?
- Can you recommend wedding vendors and service providers in the area?
- What additional services are offered? What are the charges for these?
- What is the latest time frame for making changes?
- Is there a written contract? Is there a cancellation clause?
- What is the room capacity?
- What are the rules if any regarding wedding decorations? Wedding Flowers? Wedding Photography? Video taping?
- Are there any insurance requirements, such as Alcohol? Can they recommend a Wedding Officiant? Can you bring your own Wedding Officiant?
- Is there a charge for personnel to assist with the wedding? Is there an overtime charge?
- Are there Changing Rooms Available? Waiting Rooms?
- Is there an Aisle runner? Can you bring your own?
- Is Petal tossing permitted? Bird seed tossing? Rice tossing? Bubble blowing? Butterfly releasing? Dove releasing? Balloon releasing?
- What are the access time for wedding floral and decoration delivery?
Other Elements to Evaluate
- When visiting or calling, were you greeted cordially?
- Were you able to obtain the information you requested in a timely manner?
- Were the people you spoke with helpful? Too helpful and eager?
- Does the wedding site assist with or offer suggestions for unique one-of-a-kind weddings? Does it allow flexibility or individualism?
See Photos of Past Weddings at the Site
Experienced wedding service providers have photo albums showing their services “in action.” Look through this in detail. Don’t be hurried! Ask questions and consider the faces of the individuals in the photos. If the people in the photos look happy, so (probably) will you.
Read the Contract Before You Sign
Most wedding sites have contracts; this is to your advantage as well as theirs. Make sure you read it carefully before you sign it, and keep a copy.