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How to Say ‘I Do’ to a Venue

By Rebecca Padgett Frett


When you envision your wedding day, your mind may blur then spiral before tunneling into a crystalline clear vision of your venue. Whether it’s a beachside sherbet sunset, under the canopy of an oak, in your childhood church, or surrounded by a luxurious ballroom, your venue is central to your wedding day vision.

Selecting your venue should be one of the first wedding-related decisions that you make because so many aspects of your wedding revolve around the venue. There’s also no better way to start celebrating your engagement than touring venues. It truly highlights the excitement of what’s to come.

Establish Lists

Before scheduling tours, it’s wise to sit down with your fiancé and establish a want/don’t want list for a venue. From here, you can see where you overlap and seek out venues that cater to what both of you desire for the day. Once you have gone on tours, the list-making continues. Making a pro/con list is especially helpful when debating between multiple venues.


Your venue will be one of the most expensive aspects of your wedding. To give you an idea of what to expect, research the average prices of venues in the city where you are planning to wed. When budgeting, you should consider all the rental price includes. Does the venue include other services, or is it strictly the space?

“Couples should be asking what is included with the venue,” said Kendyl Smith, catering and events manager of Four Points Tallahassee Downtown. “It’s beneficial and makes planning easier to have a space that includes most everything, so you only have one vendor to communicate with.”

Where a park may be cheaper, you will likely need to provide everything. An all-inclusive hotel ballroom may supply every needed vendor, but the price of a luxury experience will reflect that.

Photo by Lily & Sparrow Photo Co.

Guest Experience

Jennifer Hankins, wedding manager at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, suggests that couples ask what amenities and accommodations are available, not only to the couple but also to the guests. This is especially important for a destination wedding. Where it is your wedding, it’s wise to think of how your guests will interact with the space providing activities and dining options the day before, discount codes for room blocks, or even just an aesthetically appealing venue that engages their five senses from the decor to the dining.

“Wedding planners looking to leave their mark are looking at Tallahassee,” said Renee Jones, public relations and marketing specialist with Visit Tallahassee. “Gone are the days of uninspiring venues and a fend-for-yourself attitude toward outside entertainment.”

After over a year in quarantine, couples are looking to engage their guests in a true party, whether that’s a five-course dinner party, a full band performance, interactive games or a weekend-long experience.

Helping Hand

A venue may be beautiful, but make sure it’s more than skin deep. It needs to be a perfect fit with the staff as well. Inquire about how involved they are in the wedding day, how they have handled difficult situations in the past and what sets their team apart from others. The people you work alongside are often just as important as the place.

Photo by Courtney Garrett Photography

Questions to ask:

What is the capacity?

What is included in the price?

What are your preferred vendors? Can we select
our own?

What are the ceremony location options? Backup location options?

What are the transportation options?

What are theparking options?

What are your postponement and cancellation policies?

Do you offer anon-site coordinator?

What are the rates depending on day/timeof year?

How many hoursare included?

How much is the deposit?

Do you have payment plans?

Is it handicap accessible?

Are there any noise restrictions?

Do you have sound equipment?

Are there any decor restrictions?

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