The most popular sites are often fully booked up to a year in advance, so be prepared to book your own wedding from 10 to 12 months ahead. Then decide whether you want the ceremony and the reception at the same venue. Get as much information from a variety of potential sites by email and phone. That will narrow the possibilities down to just two or three venues.
1. What is the fee if the wedding has to be cancelled?
2. Are there any extra fees? These may include a set-up and break-down charge, overtime charges, gratuities, rentals, parking costs.
3. Are their any constrictions? These might include the use of open-flame candles, noise, specific shutdown times.
4. Is there a sound system included?
5. Is the place wired to accommodate a band?
6. How many people can the site comfortably accommodate?
7. Does the venue only offer the choice of two or three approved caterers or can you bring in someone you prefer?
8. What is the cost if the site does the catering? (This will be about 50 percent of the budget.)
9. What is the rental price, assuming you bring in your own caterer? (It should be no more than 10 percent of your budget.)
10. What’s included in the price?
Originally published in Today's Bride magazine, Fall/Winter 2017.