Venue Selection Tips

Here are some helpful tips for finding the ideal venue for your wedding and special celebration.

Step 1: Determine how many guests will attend the reception. Keep in mind the number may be different from the number attending the wedding. Slightly overestimate to allow for additional guests.

Step 2: Start your search with facilities that can handle the appropriate number of guests. Each venue will typically list the number of guests it can host on its website.

Step 3: Keep track of what each venue offers in terms of services and add-on charges. Create a spreadsheet with each location’s name; in adjacent fields, list all services you require. (bar service, catering, dance floor, floral decorations, etc.) Call venue for the date you want. If it’s not available, don’t delete all the information; just mark it “unavailable” on the spreadsheet. If plans change or a cancellation occurs, you’ll have the information handy.

Step 4: Visit each venue you’re considering to evaluate their space. The venue needs to have room for your guests, tables, chairs, bar, decorations, band or DJ. Determine how much space tables/chairs will take up to figure out how much is left to work with. Determine space your band/DJ requires and work this into your total available space. Ask about noise restrictions if you hire a band or DJ.

Step 5: Review equipment available. Do they provide tables, chairs, bar and linens? What type of sound system is available? Determine electrical connections for DJ or band. The equipment and available services will vary between venues, be sure to ask about fees and add-on charges. Record all fees for a balanced cost comparison between sites.

Step 6: Evaluate parking & valet service based on attendees needs. Arrange for extra parking or shuttles if venue parking is insufficient for all guests.

Step 7: After selecting the right venue, book as soon as possible to save your special date.

  • Be prepared to pay a deposit to secure your date, usually 50% in advance.

  • Require written contract clearing defining all fees, add-on charges and cancellation policy.