Photo: Tanja Lippert
Finding a place that can answer yes to all of the above is challenging enough, so you may be tempted to book right there and then. But first, read this article. We asked wedding planners Alia Wilson of Firefly Events and Lisa Gorjestani of Details Event Planning to give their professional advice on some of the less obvious factors you should consider before pulling the trigger — and five signs that you should keep looking.
1. The rain or wind backup plan will blow your budget.
So you found a venue that feels absolutely perfect and snugly fits within your budget. But there is one caveat: It only really works if the weather cooperates. "If there's no built-in rain (or wind) backup space or you're not happy with it, then you'll need to bring in tenting in case of inclement weather," says Wilson. "That could easily add thousands of dollars to your expenditure even if you don't end up using it." If that has you shaking your head, you'll need to move on to another choice.
2. The space needs a lot of decorations.
The idea of transforming a space to your own vision can seem appealing, but it also requires a lot of money for labor and materials. "Décor is something that often escalates quickly in price," says Gorjestani. "Items and ideas that seem so simple can be extremely pricey — especially if your wedding is held somewhere remote." If the numbers you're crunching suddenly starts to feel exorbitant, reconsider with a venue that needs less design work.
See more: 50 Romantic Wedding Venues in the U.S.
3. There's no professional kitchen on premise.
Here's a room in your potential venue you didn't think you'd have to consider: the kitchen. "This is especially important if you're using caterers that are less experienced in doing big events, for example, your favorite restaurant," explains Wilson. "Off-premise caterers will have to build out a kitchen at your venue if there isn't one, and some vendors that don't usually do large-scale events may have some trouble doing so." So if you're adamant about using a specific caterer, check in to see if the venue works for them before deciding if it's going to work for you.
4. It's lacking in natural light.
If you're planning on getting ready at your venue, then you need to make sure that there's a lot of natural light, says Wilson. Not only is good lighting important for getting crisp, beautiful photos, but it's downright challenging to get your makeup done properly if it's too dim.
5. The noise requirements don't work with your party timeline.
Most couples cannot imagine their wedding ever ending and want the celebration to go all night. "However, many venues have music curfews that do not support this timeline," warns Gorjestani. "Be sure to ask what the music cut-off time is and what level of music is allowed. Is it DJ only? Maximum five-piece band?" Noise restrictions are especially common in cities and with outdoor venues, adds Wilson. "If you're spending $20k on a band and they can't play above a certain sound level, then you may want to look at other venue options."