Congratulations! You said "yes!" to your love and you're in the early stages of wedding planning. But hold on: If you've whittled down your list of dream wedding venues to a few frontrunners and are almost ready to sign on the dotted line, there are a few things to consider first. Browse the list below for 11 important logistical questions you need to answer before booking a wedding venue.
1. Is it big enough to host your guests and all of the activities you hope to include in your wedding? Think beyond eating and dancing -- do you plan to have any entertainment, and is there enough space for it? Is there a good spot for non-dancers to catch up over cocktails?
2. Is the venue available at the time of year you hope to marry? Some spaces are closed during the winter months, so be sure to confirm.
3. If you want to have an outdoor wedding, what are your options for keeping guests comfortable in all types of weather? Does the venue have a backup plan in case of rain? What if it's scorching hot on your wedding day in July? Does the venue provided shaded or air-conditioned indoor areas for guest respite? What if it's cold? Is there heating and plenty of cozy indoor space for guests?
4. What does the venue look like at the time of year you plan to marry? You may be visiting venues in the summer months but planning to marry in November...does the venue have the same lighting, charm, and aesthetic in the winter as it does in summer?
5. How accommodating is the venue? Can the venue accommodate guests with disabilities? What about guests with small children?
6. Can you host your ceremony and reception at the same venue? What would that entail for guests? Will there be a cocktail hour? Where will it be hosted?
7. Do you want to take photos at the venue? When and where? Will you have access to your ceremony and/or reception space before the wedding for a first look?
8. How will people get there? Is the venue accessible by public transportation? Is there enough parking nearby? If not, is it within your budget to rent a bus to transport your guests?
9. Will other weddings be taking place at the same time as yours? If so, are there enough bathrooms for everyone? Does it get loud? How much will you and your guests have to interact with guests of another wedding? Consider visiting the venue on a night when more than one event is taking place to get a sense of the volume and atmosphere.
10. Where will you and your wedding party get ready before the ceremony?
11. How late can the party go on? If you dream of dancing until the wee hours, make sure the venue doesn't have an early curfew.