10 Tips for Your Wedding Venue Tours

April 19, 2017 · 6 comments

Since everyone in the land knows how “Type A” I am, it should come as no surprise that immediately after getting engaged, I was itching to set a date and a venue for our wedding.

Earlier in our relationship, I told Alex I’ve always dreamt of an outdoor wedding. I grew up in the Episcopal church (so did Alex), and I consider myself to be a faithful person, but I have imagined walking down a green, lush aisle for as long as I can remember.

I think we had only been dating for months when I dropped this bomb on Alex, who has always wanted a traditional church wedding. It actually may have been the first time we didn’t 100% agree on something. Lucky for me, Alex was amenable to an outdoor ceremony.

Since Alex wanted to get married in the Richmond area, we made a list of a few venues to tour in our area. I used theknot.com and borrowedandblue.com to hone in on other nearby areas (I highly recommend borrowedandblue.com for the venue search. I love the  featured weddings links for each vendor).

Our priority list for our area’s wedding venues included:

It was important to me to set a date and a venue as soon as we found something we loved so we could relax and plan the rest in the long engagement period we have. We started touring in December, shortly after getting engaged, which meant our outdoor ceremony locations weren’t exactly looking their best.

Fortunately, we’ve got some imagination.

And we stalked plenty of wedding photos from each venue, so we somewhat knew what everything looked like before we saw it in person.

I went into these tours blind. With each tour, I learned what to ask and which details to gather. I kind of wished someone had prepared me with all the questions I needed to ask ahead of time.

For any couple embarking on their venue tour, I’d recommend the following quick tips:

  1. Do your research. Look up other weddings at that site on their website (if available), Pinterest, and Google. Make lists of what you don’t like, and ask the event coordinator if it’s something you can change.
  2. Know your must-haves and non-negotiables. You won’t know if the venue is the right fit for you if you don’t have a vision for wedding. Try to look up other weddings and make lists of what you want on your special day. Know you want a sparkler send-off? Ask if they’re allowed at that venue.
  3. Learn the backup plan. If you need to have an outdoor ceremony, find out the rain plan, and make sure you like it! Finding a rain plan I was okay with was so important to me. I don’t want to be crying over rain on my wedding day.
  4. Take a small notebook to make a pros/cons list as you tour, and take way more photos than you think you’ll need. As soon as you leave, you’ll forget details. Videos help, too!
  5. Ask about the bridal/groom suites. How many can fit in each suite? How long do you have access to them?
  6. Learn all guest accommodations. How close is the nearest hotel? How far is that hotel from the airport? Do you have guests with special needs at your reception like air conditioning or a place to sit?
  7. Inquire about venue insurance. Some vendors require you to obtain it before your big day.
  8. Request a preferred vendor list. Some venues require you to book vendors from their list only. Some purely offer recommendations. Make sure you know the difference for each venue if you have particular vendors in mind, because I did! Also, vendors who are used to working at that venue might be extra helpful for you.
  9. Find out everything that is included and what costs extra. Some things will shock you, trust me! At some places, seating and tables are included. At others, you need to source and supply just about everything other than the grounds.
  10. If the venue is willing to offer them, ask for e-mail addresses of couples who have been married there before. I know people who have connected with those who have previously gotten married at their venues, and it served as a major help in the wedding process. Simple tips in how to interact with the venue staff are very helpful!

And so you can keep this list handy, I’ve created a graphic for you. Feel free to pin this to your Pinterest board, print it out, etc.!

For those who have yet to search: What are you most looking forward to in the venue hunt?

For those who have already selected their wedding venue: What were your deal-makers and deal-breakers?

I can’t wait to share our actual venue with you (coming soon)!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christina Orso April 19, 2017 at 4:42 pm

#10 is a really interesting tip. i wouldn’t have thought of that. call people and be like “yo, congrats, hope the honeymoon was nice…ok now how was this venue?” haha! PS: there’s a giveaway on my blog today!!!


2 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss April 20, 2017 at 9:29 am

Hahaha. I actually did it with a few vendors (namely, my partial planners!!). The girls were always really nice, thankfully… it would be super awk if they weren’t though, right? And ON MY WAY! Hope I didn’t miss it!
Alyssa @ Life of bLyss recently posted…10 Tips for Your Wedding Venue ToursMy Profile


3 Juliette @ Namastay Traveling April 20, 2017 at 8:42 pm

This is so helpful to read! Honestly the venue is one of the most, if not THE most important part of the wedding (besides the groom, obv). It pretty much determines everything else. Thanks for a concise list!


4 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss April 26, 2017 at 9:27 am

It is so true! And the venue really determines the over all look/feel of the rest of your planning. I was so anxious to nail this part down. 🙂
Alyssa @ Life of bLyss recently posted…10 Tips for Your Wedding Venue ToursMy Profile


5 Jennifer May 5, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Alyssa, hi! I’m Jennifer of Hill City Bride – let me know if you are ever interested in a guest posting. I found you via Virginia Bloggers. 🙂


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