Approximately 2.5 million weddings take place each year in the United States, and weddings are a booming $40 billion industry. With that in mind, it's no wonder why wedding venues are in such high demand. Depending on the kind of wedding you'd like to have, finding a wedding venue for a price you can afford can be easier said than done. Popular lodges, resorts, hotels and places with great wedding accommodations often charge very high rates and require reservations at least six to 12 months in advance. That said, there's no need to panic if you can't pay top dollar for a venue. Bargains can be found for those willing to plan their weddings for non-peak travel times. Also, there are numerous churches, parks and other beautiful places where people can be married for very little money. Knowing which questions to ask can help you navigate the process of finding and choosing the place for your special day. Remember, the sooner you start looking, the better chances you'll have of finding an ideal venue.
While some people say that no one will remember what they ate at your wedding, you still want to make sure people don't remember your wedding for the terrible food they were served. Ask if you can sample the food that the venue will be serving to get a taste of what their cooking (and their reputation) is like.
When do I need to make reservations by?
When looking for a place to have your wedding, always take note of how far in advance you need to make your reservations. Some places require you to book at least six months in advance; in some cases, the wait can be even longer.
How can I make this location work in rainy weather?
Just because you've found the perfect outdoor location for your wedding doesn't mean the weather will cooperate with your vision. Even if you are planning your wedding in a region that doesn't get much rain, be sure to ask what kind of steps will need to be taken to go forward with your wedding in inclement weather. In some cases, the extra work required to adjust to the weather may render a venue unusable.
Can I have my ceremony here?
Some venues will only host wedding receptions, so if you want to get married and have your reception at the same site, make sure they're willing to let you get married on the property.
What is your cancellation policy?
While it may sound unromantic to say so, weddings do get canceled, whether from plans changing or cold feet or a family emergency. You don't want to end up paying for a wedding that ends up not taking place, so make sure you are well aware of when you need to cancel by.
Is this a religious venue?
Many people have marriage ceremonies with religious undertones, but a growing number of people are planning weddings that aren't religious in nature. Also, some people may have families that may be uncomfortable in certain religious settings. Be sensitive about the religious nature of your venue when planning where to have your wedding.
Where will the reception be?
Do you want your reception to be in the same location as your wedding, or are you open to your guests traveling a short distance to get to the reception? Many wedding venues have ideal places for receptions, but some do not. This is another important detail worth considering.
Does the venue offer lodging discounts?
If you're getting married at any kind of resort or hotel -- or if such accommodations are nearby -- then you should ask about lodging discounts for your hotel guests. Many venues with lodging connections are happy to offer wedding party discounts.