Just because you're getting married in paradise doesn't mean you have the time or money to fly back and forth whenever you want (ugh, we wish though!). While it certainly isn't ideal to book a wedding venue site unseen, you can do so with the utmost confidence by following these simple tips.
1. Check it out via Skype
Thank goodness for modern technology! If you absolutely can't wait to set a date, ask your planner (or a local friend or family member) to visit your favorite venues for you and do a virtual walk-through via Skype or Facetime, suggests Charleston-based wedding planner Francesca DiSalvo-Follmer of Pure Luxe Bride.
2. Use Google maps
According to Isadora Martin-Dye, owner of Rixey Manor in Virginia, photographers can be very clever in concealing bordering eyesores, such as a noisy highway. To avoid a potential wedding disaster, she recommends using Google maps to peep aerial photos of the venue or resort before you book. "Study what is neighboring your dream location so you won't be surprised later."
3. Know the neighbors
Beautiful brochures and wedding websites may fail to mention one pretty important detail: the neighbors. Is your venue located on the same street as a nightclub? Your guests may not appreciate music blasting until 4 a.m.
4. Find out about any renovation plans
There really is nothing worse than booking the wedding venue of your dreams only to show up a year later and the place is unrecognizable. "I've heard horror stories of brides that are planning a wedding in a beautiful resort, only to find out when they arrive that construction, and updates to key features that drew them there in the first place, like a pool, are out of commission," notes Martin-Dye. "Make sure that someone can confirm (and get in writing) that your day will not be disrupted by building crews," she advises.
5. Browse local wedding blogs
In addition to checking out the venue's own website, DiSalvo-Follmer says it's a great idea to browse local wedding blogs and search the venue name to see galleries of different weddings and how the space was utilized. That way, you can get a better feel as to whether or not it will work for your vision and guest list.