Wedding Ideas

What To Know Before You Go—Venue Shopping

Posted on October 11 by Allison Dupree

Picking a venue.

Arguably one of the most important elements of your wedding. It’s where you will have all of your closest friends and family celebrating you and the love of your life. There are hundreds of beautiful venues throughout the garden state to pick from, but there’s only one that will be YOURS.

Gabelli Studio, Julianne and Alex at Park Chateau

What to do beforehand:

  • Write a rough draft of your guest list— if you fall in love with a space that has a max. capacity of 150 but want to invite 225, that’s not going to work
  • Talk budget—be open and honest with yourself and fiancé about what you’re comfortable spending per person
Jac & Jules Photography, Jennifer and Peter’s wedding

What to bring:

  • Pen and paper—take notes during so you don’t miss a thing
  • Something to take photos with— as you’re walking around, take pictures of the areas they might not have on their website
  • An open mind about a date—season, date, day of the week. If it’s your dream location, maybe consider other options
J&R Photography, Elise and Ben at Crystal Plaza

What to ask:

-About Getting Ready:

  • Do you have a bridal suite/groom area? If so, how early can you use it
  • Check out how many outlets and chairs are in the space

-About the Reception:

  • Are there any limits on where photos can be taken?
  • When you do the food tasting and flexibility of food styles (vegan/gluten free/etc)
  • Can you use your own vendors or only the ones they work with
  • Multiple weddings/events
  • What reception details linens and chairs, table site

-About Finances:

  • Price per plate—for your guests, your vendors and any children if you’re inviting them
  • Hidden fees- setup/clean up, cake cutting, etc.
  • What is the initial deposit?
  • Does the venue have liability insurance?

-General Questions:

  • Local hotels or transportation for guests
  • Cancellation policy—weather or family emergencies can happen, it’s best to know what your options are
  • On-site ceremony availability
  • Handicap accessible
  • Does the venue have a generator?
  • Look at the bathrooms before leaving!
Rocksteady Images, Elyse and Sean at English Manor

After your appointment:

  • Write down pros, cons, feelings, etc.
  • Sleep on it, and write down your feelings again in the morning
  • Don’t go overboard looking at venues—the more you look at, the harder of a decision you’ll have to make
Todd Laffler, Katie and Ashley at Crossed Keys Estate

Your first venue trip is thrilling and will probably make it feel “real” that you’re getting married. Take a deep breath and take it all in. Try not to stress, your wedding will be perfect!

Top photo from Kimberly and Peter’s wedding at One Atlantic

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