I got engaged 5 months ago. Can't believe how fast time has flown by. The only wedding planning I've done so far is set a venue. It was the HARDEST decision. I'm also very indecisive so that probably added to the difficulty of it. I think it will be the toughest decision out of everything else we'll need to plan. (Hah.. I might regret saying this) It's just nerve wrecking when you think about how much money you have to put on the deposit, which you DON'T GET BACK if you change your mind. What if after you've made the deposit your head starts to spin and you start getting anxiety over whether or not you really made the right decision and if it's really the venue for you and maybe you should've waited and chosen another one!! Yes, this happened to me. So, I thought I'd share my wedding planning process to help others who might also suffer from major indecisiveness.
Is music allowed outdoors? What time does it have to end?
This was a really important question to me because I didn't want the wedding to end too early. I wanted to have time after all the important stuff was done to enjoy the party. There was one venue that allowed the reception outdoors, but music wasn't, which was a no go for me.
Are animals/pets allowed?
If you have a pet that you want in your wedding, be sure the venue allows it. Some venues don't allow pets at the reception, but they'll allow it at the ceremony. I want my dog to be in the ceremony so this was a must have for me.
Are food trucks/carts allowed?
Even if a venue allows food trucks, depending on the space the food truck might not be able to get close enough to the reception area. Another option would be a food cart. They're smaller and could possibly cost less.
Is dancing allowed outdoors?
A venue might allow music outdoors, but they might require dancing to be inside after the reception. This was a big deal for me because I wanted dancing to be outdoors where the reception was. I was in a wedding where the dancing had to be moved inside and it felt a little disconnected.
What does the bridal suite look like? Is there enough light?
If you plan on getting ready in the bridal suite, you should definitely see if you like the bridal suite. Is it big enough for you and the amount of people that will be getting ready in there? Is the lighting good enough for hair and makeup? If not, you might want to consider getting ready elsewhere. Be sure to also ask if there's a room for the groom.
What is the maximum guest count?
This is probably the most important question and should be the first question. It will help you cross off venues before you spend the time to go and visit.
Can you bring your own caterer or do you have to use the venue's preferred caterer?
If you have a caterer in mind that you want to use, this is a good question to ask. Or if you're someone who doesn't care too much about catering, then using the venue's caterer could be easier on you. Some venues will actually offer a discount if you use a caterer on their preferred list.
Can you bring your own alcohol or does it have to be purchased through the venue?
If you can bring your own alcohol, that's a big plus. Buying your own alcohol saves you a lot of money. If you have to purchase through the venue, I would suggest negotiating. For example, some of the bar packages I looked at had alcohol that I know none of our guest would drink so I asked if I could substitute it out or lower the price if I exclude those.