Touring wedding venues is not something that comes naturally to most couples. Chances are, this is not a process you have been through multiple times in the past. And unless you plan on being engaged for quite some time, it probably won’t be a process you’ll repeat over and over again. So why spend time and effort learning about what to ask, where to look, and who to talk to? The answer is really very important: because doing so will help you get exactly the right fit when choosing your wedding venue. So let’s try to make the process a little easier for you!

Originally when I began writing this post I thought I would cover just a few of the basics. But I quickly found myself going on and on about some of the things I think are really important to cover when selecting your wedding venue. So we’re going to break this down into a series of posts and make it a little more reader friendly. With that said, I present:

 Part I: All-Inclusive versus Ala-Carte Venues 


Photo courtesy of Ben Pancoast Photography

Photo courtesy of Ben Pancoast Photography

Although many wedding venues will be hesitant to classify themselves as either an all-inclusive or an ala-carte venue, generally speaking they do fall under one of those categories. It really just depends on how a venue’s pricing is set up. Some venues prefer the simplicity of all-inclusive pricing so couples don’t feel like they are being nickel-and-dimed with each added service. Others however, feel this type of pricing is too restrictive and opt for pricing based on individual needs so couples can choose only those services they feel they will use. But often times the cost can increase quickly with this type of structure. Both styles have their pros and cons so be sure to consider what is important to you in deciding on a venue. And don’t hesitate to ask your venue representative which type of pricing structure better suits their venue. At least this will give you an idea of what to expect and you can direct questions based on this answer.

So what’s the next big question when touring wedding venues?

What is and is not included in my rental of the venue?

While this may seem like a pretty straight forward question, I cannot stress enough the importance in the details of this one! So much planning is based on budget these days and this is one of those questions that can make or break the accuracy of your budget. Some venues are set up much the way a model house is. When touring, you will be shown the best of what they have to offer without knowing what comes standard and what is an upgrade. I’m not saying this is bad practice – it’s great to give couples an idea of what can be possible in a space. You just need to remember to ask- what about your current view is included – and what will be an extra charge. If possible, get this in writing. Often an easy way to do this is to ask for a list of “extras”. From a venue’s perspective, we love to show you all we have to offer so providing a list of add-on services or equipment is a happy task! If this isn’t available, make sure your booking contract states this explicitly.

Unique Weddings

Want even more explicit questions? Consider asking these:

  • What kinds of tables are included, what sizes, how many?
  • Can you show me the chairs that are included in the rental, how many are included?
  • Is tableware, linens, etc. included?
  • What will I be responsible for setting up and cleaning up?

If any of these items are additional services/equipment for your venue, make sure you are asking about cost up front so you can budget accordingly.

When you’re ready, click over to the next part of this series: Part II: Timeline and Venue Access.

Have Fun Planning!