When the post-engagement excitement turns into pre-wedding planning mode, one of the first things you'll find yourself on the hunt for is a venue to host your wedding. You may look at hometown options or even far away destination wedding locales that will give your big day a backdrop that looks like it's straight out of a postcard.
Either way, before signing on the dotted line and agreeing to throw the wedding of your dreams at a location that fits your budget, here are the top seven questions to ask the space before saying "I do" to them.
Is the date only yours?
While you've snagged a piece of the venue for your wedding date, it's worth asking how many other weddings they are also having on that day. If there's more than one, be sure there's enough room separating the two weddings and enough staff on hand to work both.
Are there options for food?
Before searching for outside food and drink vendors, ask the venue if they have an in-house caterer with whom they frequently work. If they don't, ask for a recommended vendor list so you can see which local vendors have worked there in the past.
Do we get a point of contact?
It's important to know if the venue has a day-of coordinator or a wedding planner that they can provide, free of charge, for your wedding. This will help you determine if you need to hire an outside planner as well.
When are we able to start the party?
You'll want to have the space at least a couple hours before the wedding takes place to allow enough time for set up. Get a time frame in writing before signing on the dotted line so you know in advance when the venue is all yours.
Is there a rain back-up plan?
Since you can't predict what the weather is going to be like on the day of your wedding, chat with the venue to see what they have in store in case it rains on your wedding day. Ask if they can move any part of the ceremony or cocktail hour indoors, last minute, if needed.
Are there any last-minute costs?
Before you decide to go with the venue of your choice for your wedding, find out if the price they are quoting includes everything, or if there are any lingering costs associated with the space. Have them give you a break down of what's included and pick apart anything that may be left out.
Is there a bridal suite?
You'll want a little hidden space before the ceremony begins for you to relax and do any and all beauty touchups.
Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.