Tips for choosing a venue

Tips, Weddings

March 14, 2023

Booking a venue is usually one of the first steps of wedding planning. And at this point you are probably feeling overwhelmed with the number of options, guest count, colors, catering, and ALL the options.

I recently read a post from a local venue owner (shout out to Green Hill Farm!) educating couples on booking venues. I wanted to shed some light on it.

More often couples are choosing ‘non-traditional’, less religious venues. Which creates so much opportunity for new venues in rustic barns, industrial warehouses, etcetera. Be aware that not all wedding venues are legal. 

Let me caveat this by saying I am not a venue owner, so I may be missing some legalities here (please add anything in the comments!). I am not here to bash anyone either. I am here to educate brides so that you can have the most beautiful, stress-free wedding day!

Property owners could try to skirt the zoning, permitting and other legal requirements to become a legitimate wedding venue. Let’s be real, it’s not cheap to do this. Plus most historic venues such as barns and mansions will undergo expensive and extensive renovations as well.

Why does it matter?

If a venue is operating illegally, at any point there is a possibility of it being reported and forced to shut down. Once a location is forced to shut down, events cannot continue. Which means you could be left without a venue possibly months or even weeks before your date. This leaves you scrambling to find a new venue on a specific date and coordinate with all of your other vendors.

How can you be prepared?

When touring venues ask questions such as:

  • Are you legally permitted to operate as a wedding venue?

  • How long have you been in business?

  • What insurance do you carry for the venue?

  • What zoning and permits have you acquired? Tip: you can also call your local zoning office to confirm.

  • What renovations were completed? Historic barns will invest large amounts of money for structural support, handicap accessibility, sprinkler systems, electricity, etc.

As I said, I don’t say this to bash anyone or scare you. But this is a real thing so I want you to be aware! Happy venue hunting and wedding planning!

Please don’t be afraid to comment or email me with any questions you may have.

Until next time, xoxo Nicole

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