Wedding bells are ringing! If you’re in the process of planning a wedding, you know that nothing is set in stone until you have a venue—so after your budget, this should be the first thing on your to-do list!
While some like to do the reception and ceremony all in one place (which can be easier for guests), that’s not always an option with the reception venue you choose. If you’re in that boat like me, and you’ll be touring ceremony venues!
I just chose mine this week, and now I’m here to share some things you should be sure to know before you book a spot for your wedding ceremony. Don’t forget to ask these questions!
1. What is the plan if it rains?
The first thing people will see when they visit your website is your homepage, and it will set the tone for not only the site, but your whole wedding! You want this to match your wedding theme and your invitations as much as possible. I also love when couples include a large, high quality photo of themselves on the homepage (this is where your engagement photos can become useful!).
2. How will chairs be arranged?
Do you want them arranged in a certain way? (Perhaps a circle or spiral?) Will your guests have the sun in their eyes? Will they be in the way of a photographer? Do you want an aisle? Especially if the venue will be providing set up for you, you’ll want to go over this stuff as soon as possible so you know if these things will work in the space or not.
3. (How) can I play music?
If the ceremony venue doesn’t have speakers set up for you, can you bring your own? Is there a maximum volume that you (and your DJ) should be conscious of? Do they know where the best places to put speakers are?
Additionally, some places—particularly small venues—may not even allow music to be played. Double check this before you book to ensure a disaster doesn’t occur closer to (or on) your wedding date.
4. How early can/will the space be set up?
Are you able to set up the ceremony space well in advance, or does it have to be on the day of? Do you need to account for time to do this, or will they do it for you?
Additionally, something many brides and grooms forget at first is the rehearsal. If you’d like to rehearse the ceremony the night before, you’ll want to know if the space will be set up for that—or even if it’s available!
5. What time can my guests arrive?
Have any early-birds on your guest list? Prepare for them by making sure they can arrive 5-10 minutes before the ceremony starts. If you want to arrive early for a rehearsal instead of the night before, find out if this is an option.
You want to have all the logistical information on hand before it becomes an issue.
6. How long do I have the space for?
Do you need to have someone tear down the set-up immediately after the ceremony? Can the chairs stay there overnight if necessary? What if you’re late to the ceremony—can you push that time back? Are there any events occurring after yours? How long will you have to take photos in the space?
These are all questions that you need to go over before you book. One of these may be a deal-breaker for you. You also might want to go ahead and reserve extra time if necessary, so you know you’re covered if you (or any of your VIPs) are running late.
7. What will you do if the space becomes unusable?
If your ceremony venue is ripped apart by a tornado, you’re going to want to get your money back. Make sure that this question is addressed in your contract, and that you know whether or not you’ll get the full amount back (including or excluding your deposit). Although this is a worst-case-scenario situation, you’ll want to be prepared for it!
These are all things I went over with my ceremony venue before I booked, and I’m glad I did! Did I miss anything? Share your advice in the comments below!