10 Important Questions to Ask Before Booking a Venue
Are you in the market for a wedding venue but don’t know where to start? There’s more to it than those pretty pics you see on social media, and we’re here to help you navigate this important decision! Today, we’re sharing insider tips with you in 10 Important Questions to Ask Before Booking a Venue.
What does this venue offer that others do not?
Let’s face it. Not all venues are the same, nor should they be. Each venue has its own uniqueness in beauty, character, staff, accommodations, amenities, services… The list goes on. Do your research prior to visiting. Check out the venue’s website and social media outlets. Email and ask for information when you schedule your tour. We at The Barn at Cranberry Creek strive to have a dialogue with potential clients before the tour, so we can begin to understand each couple’s specific needs and wishes.
What do former clients and guests say about this venue?
Check out the venue’s reviews to find out what former clients and guests have to say about the venue. We suggest starting with Facebook and wedding pro specific sites like Wedding Wire. Use discretion with Google Reviews, as those can be skewed by review happy people who’ve never been to the venue, much less have the credibility to write a review. You can tell when you’re reading a legitimate review posted by a past client as it will mention specific information about that person’s experience.
What’s included with each wedding package and the cost?
Most venues offer multiple packages. (You do you. Am I right?) The venue’s website should have this information clearly displayed, as well as a list of what each package includes. Our venue chooses to display our prices because what you see is what you get AND what you’re paying for. Some venues don’t display prices because their packages and services may vary. (
OR that information is just top-secret. We’re not sure.) Make sure you read carefully to fully understand inclusions as opposed to add-ons. For instance, at The Barn at Cranberry Creek, our Happily Ever After Package includes the most time and all of our amenities. There are no add-ons for this one because you get it all. Our Wedded Bliss and Elopement packages are less time but also a more affordable option for those on a budget or looking for a more intimate experience. Both packages offer add-ons for china and other amenities. Also, know what’s required of you at booking. Is it a flat deposit? Does the venue give discounts for military service or paying in full?
What dates are available and how quickly do they typically book?
This is a biggie. It’s disappointing to think you may have found the “perfect for you” venue only to learn they don’t have your date available. Date flexibility is super important when venue shopping, especially during peak wedding months. At The Barn at Cranberry Creek, the months of April, May and October are the first to go, and no doubt for other venues as well. If you’re set on a specific date, don’t put off booking your venue! (Just don’t.)
Is there a backup plan in case it rains?
You’ve got to have a backup plan. (Say it a little louder for the people in the back! YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE A BACKUP PLAN!) While you may be dreaming of the perfect outdoor wedding, let’s be real, rain happens. When it does, Plan B is essential. Make sure your venue’s rain plan can accommodate just as many people as the outdoor plan. It does you no good to have space outside for 300 and indoor space for half that number. (Unless you’re prepared to tell half your guests to stay home.)
How much decorating will I need to do?
Details matter! At The Barn at Cranberry Creek, we have a great inventory of props and decor, but even with those things onsite, it takes time to decorate. Our venue stays loosely decorated with lanterns, barrels, ferns and other staples. It’s easy to take what’s there and make it your own. If your venue doesn’t provide decor, you’ll need to plan for additional time to bring in those pieces. You may also want to leave decorating to your florist. No matter what route you take, don’t underestimate the time decorating is going to take. Have a plan and maybe enlist the help of your bridemaids.
Are there any restrictions or requirements at this venue?
Always refer back to your contract for these details. Restrictions and requirements should be spelled out clearly, and you should be told of these things prior to booking. For instance, some venues do not allow sparklers, fireworks, or Chinese lanterns… At our venue, we try to be environmentally conscious and ask that only fresh flower petals be used for lining aisles and by flower girls. We also do not allow confetti. (Because have you ever tried to clean that mess up?) Venues vary on their restrictions and requirements. Know what each venue asks of you prior to making your booking decision.
Are we allowed to have outside vendors or must we use required vendors?
This may be one of our most frequently asked questions, and with good reason. At The Barn at Cranberry Creek, we do not require specific vendors. As a matter of fact, we feel strongly that our couples should be able to make these important choices on their own. One size does not fit all. One handy reference we provide for our couples is a suggested vendor listing. This list has every type of wedding vendor you may need and several suggestions for each. The great thing about our list, these are all wedding pros who know us and our venue. They know the expectations and procedures. Even still, we’re happy to work with new wedding pros, and our couples are welcome to bring in their own choices from outside of the list.
How does parking work at the venue?
Unless your venue has a paved, lined parking area, it may be necessary for your guests to park in gravel lots or open fields. At our venue, our guys are waiting for your guests an hour before the ceremony. They direct your guests where to park and then point them in the direction of the ceremony. This is a nice service our couples and their guests seem to appreciate. Let’s face it, we’ve all been places where we couldn’t figure out the parking arrangement and that’s absolutely no fun. Make sure your venue has a plan for parking and onsite assistance.
Are there accommodations for onsite lodging or hotels nearby for your guests?
One great thing about The Barn at Cranberry Creek’s location is the proximity to several great hotels, Airbnb’s, cabins and Bed and Breakfasts. Within 8 to 10 minutes, there are many different options. As most of our clients are out of towners, lodging is critical for them and their guests. (Oh, have we mentioned there will soon be an overnight option directly across the road from our venue? The old homeplace is looking amazing! More information to come!)
So, What About You?
What other questions should you ask your venue prior to booking? What’s most important for you specifically in selecting your venue?