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What You Should Know: Venue Tour Edition

You get engaged, you tell everyone you know, and then you throw a party. Now it's time to get down to business. Typically, the first step is deciding on a venue. The venue ultimately projects your overall vibe of the day. Resources such as WeddingWire and The Knot can be really helpful in your venue search. Once you've narrowed it down to your top picks, we're here to help you ask the right questions, the things you may not even know you should know. We met with our pros and here's what they think you should know when touring reception venues.

1. When it comes to your ballroom, how many events will be held in the same room on a given day? What other events will there be throughout the building? and How many hours do you get the space for? If the venue books more than one wedding in the same ballroom, you and your guests may feel rushed to leave the event in order for them to flip the room. It's a good idea to look for a venue offering a five or six hour rental compared to four for an extra hour or so of fun and dancing.

2. What is the guest to bartender/wait staff ratio? Overcrowding at a bar or finishing your dinner before another table has even gotten their meal is enough to ruin a portion of the night. There should be at least one server for every two tables and a standard ratio for the bar would be one bartender for every 100 guests, a great ratio would be one bartender per 50- 75 guests. Speaking of the bar, signature cocktails are super fun...Are they willing to let your creativity run when it comes to your signature drink?

3. How involved is your venue coordinator or planner? You're going to want someone who is responsive to your questions as well as willing to meet with you to go over details. This person should be someone who will be there on the big day to fix any last minute problems that can pop up.

4. Now a days with your vegan cousin and your best friend who has a gluten allergy, menu flexibility can be extremely important, which begs the question - How flexible is the menu? People love options, especially a vegetarian and gluten free option. On top of that, don't hesitate to ask for what you want even if it is not on the menu. Depending on how important to you the menu is, this may be a deal breaker. Does the venue offer tastings? Tastings are not only fun but very informative to your taste buds. They give you a sense of how food will be presented on your wedding day and will be a precursor of what to expect.

5. Does your reception space also offer a space for the ceremony? A huge trend has been on site ceremonies, they make for an easy transition into the reception. If the venue does allow for onsite ceremonies, you're going to want to make sure they are able to keep it separate from the reception space. If it is in the same room, ask them what they do to be sure you can not see any tables or the dance floor.

6. Do they have a list of preferred vendors they like to work with? Vendors who are well known to the venue and have worked with them previously most likely have working relationships and will make things much smoother on your day.

7. What different amenities does your venue offer that would make your wedding different from the rest? Some venues may be able to pop in some extra lounge furniture or a flower wall to liven the space up. Decor has the power to change the whole vibe of your wedding, make sure they can give you what you want, whether its replacing the chairs, or allowing you to bring in your own stuff.

8. Where are the hidden fees? This is a big one as most places will avoid telling you that chiavari chairs and signature cocktails are an extra cost until you book. Make sure they are up front and very clear on what will be included and what is added at an extra cost to you.

9. The last one is a question to yourself - How did your tour experience leave you feeling? Leading up to the tour, your questions should be answered in a timely manner. After the tour, if you leave feeling informed and all your questions were thoughtfully answered there's a good chance you'll have a positive planning process leading to a positive experience on your wedding day.

Upon entering a venue space you should feel welcomed - the tour itself should be informative, detailed and focused on your needs and what you want, if you feel that maybe you missed out on some information, there may be a better venue out there for you.


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