Tips for a Great Venue Visit
Pay attention to how you are treated…on every level. Your family and friends will visit
your venue and come across various members of the site’s staff. If you are having a
destination wedding, this will include hotel front desk staff, too. In these instances, I
would suggest staying at the resort/hotel prior to booking. Granted, everyone has a
bad day—but if you feel neglected, offended, or chastised, it may be time to look for
another wedding location. You will be less apt to forgive these attitudes and affronts
your wedding day.
Pay attention to any odd smells and stains. I know, strange but true. If there is a
“unique” odor in the venue, it could be for various reasons—the site is old, there is a
mold problem, etc. Be sure to inquire into if it will be fixed (nevermind asking what it
is); you are paying to rent the facility and have a right to know. Look for things that
could detract from your wedding like hard water stains on walls or other stains on
the carpet/flooring. Ask if any renovations will occur prior to your wedding; you may
be able to benefit from those new upgrades.
Does the decor make you soar or make you sore? In addition to the pictures you see
online at the wedding venue’s website, be sure to check other sites like Flickr as well
as blogs of photographers and wedding planners in your area. You will be seeing the
venue without any frills—but it will be good for you to get an idea as to what you are
walking into as well as how much work you will have to put into your design to make
it the way you want. If the decor is antiquated, ask if you can make any nonpermanent
changes. Also, if there are any decorations that you simply adore, ask if
they will be in place for your wedding. This would also be a good time to ask what
the venue does anything special around the holidays if you are having a wedding at during a holiday season.
Take your own pictures. You know what you are going for with your design and it
can sometimes be hard to describe in conversation or in emails. Instead, take your
own pictures of your potential venues to review at a later date. Print your photos at
home or send them to a place like Walgreens or Walmart. One tip: Print them as
8x10s and have them laminated at Staples or Kinko’s. With a set of dry erase
markers, make notes or preliminary placement designs for your own records.
Know your limitations, restrictions and requirements up front. It’s the pits finding
out things after you’ve signed the dotted line. The problem is that you may not have
known to even ask those questions during your visit. You will want to know if your
vendors are required to have liability insurance in order to work there. You do not
want to run into a problem with booking a vendor only to find they do not have the
required paperwork and refuse to get it. Of course, you should ask about any design
limitations and restrictions—which parts of the venue will you have access to? Are
you allowed to affix anything by hanging, taping, pinning or stapling? Can structures
be built onsite? Do they have any exclusive catering or photography rights? Can you
bring your own alcohol? Are there any structural limitations that you could run into if
you want to use a non-standard layout or lighting? Are there any noise ordinances?
What about rose petals, confetti, rice or sparklers? Can you have open flames or
must you use enclosures? How early can you set up? These are all some great
questions to get you started.