Choosing Your Wedding Venue: Five Questions

Congratulations on your engagement! Most folks begin planning their ceremony and reception by choosing the venue. The venue you pick will determine the amount of guests you can invite, the location of your wedding and, of course, the ‘feel’ of your event. After six years of helping couples celebrate, here are the top five questions we recommend you ask:

Wedding reception guests dance under maple beams and white string lights

Image by Megan Haley Photography

how do you want to feel?

It’s important to decide what type of ‘feel’ you want. Decide how casual or formal you want your wedding at the beginning and develop your short venue tour list from there. Most venues have buckets of photos to convey the feeling and will tell you their capacity online.

what’s included?

Okay, you have a short list of 3-4 venues to tour based on the ‘feel’ and size of your wedding. Next, you need to know what’s included and what’s ‘extra’ so you can compare apples to apples across venues. Some venues have lots of ‘extras’ and some are very DIY friendly. Also, ask what services are included the day of your wedding. Do they coordinate the flow of events or are they only there in case of emergency?

worst case scenario?

Table of wedding guests celebrate during party introductions at Mill 1 among brick walls and maple floors

Image by Megan Haley Photography

And speaking of emergencies, is there an AED on site? Where are the emergency exits? Is staff CPR certified? It’s not fun to think about, but knowing if your venue will give you peace of mind allowing you to enjoy this extraordinary day.

what are the venue’s fees?

Most venues charge an 18-25% across-the-board fee. It’s sometimes called a ‘house fee’ or ‘service fee’ or ‘gratuity fee’. This can make a huge impact on your budget, so it’s important to know up front if there is a house fee.


Image by Meg Haley

what are my decor options?

Even if you don’t yet know your decor details, ask lots of questions about your ability to personalize the space. When can you decorate? Who can decorate? How does break-down get handled? This will help you plan your decor.