St. Augustine wedding planner offers her advice on questions to ask wedding venues
Booking a wedding venue is one of the first major choices most couples make during their engagement. Having a wedding venue checklist will help make sure you are prepared and can get the information needed to make the right decision!
We had the chance to sit down with wedding planner Brittany Jones of Uncorked Occasions. Brittany has called St. Augustine her home since 2005, and started Uncorked Occasions in 2013. Since then the company has specialized in wedding and event coordination not just in St. Augustine, but nationally and internationally as well.
Brittany shared with us her top 5 questions to ask wedding venues during your search for the perfect spot to hold your wedding. No wedding venue checklist is complete without asking these questions!
1. How many guests can the venue accommodate for my wedding?
Before the wedding planning process can really begin, it is important to discuss your guest list with your fiancé, family, and anyone else who will be playing a crucial role in planning your big day.
The guest count doesn’t need to be exact, but you do need to know an approximate number before reaching out to wedding venues. Here at The Treasury on the Plaza, we have hosted weddings as small as 50 guests, but our average wedding reception is typically closer to 150 guests.
Many venues are also flexible depending on your desired layout. The Treasury on the Plaza has accommodated weddings of up to 225 guests!
2. Do you have my date available?
Is there a specific date that you have in mind for your wedding day? Maybe it’s an anniversary, a favorite holiday, or a date that just seems fun! Finding the perfect date is one of the first things that you and your prospective wedding venue will talk about.
We recommend having several date options, or a range of dates available when you start reaching out to wedding venues. You may find that pricing varies widely depending on the day of the week or the time of the year that you choose. Some venues also book up very quickly, so having some flexibility will open you up to having more venues to choose from.
3. What vendors can I choose from?
Venues often have partnerships with other local vendors, such as caterers and wedding planners, that they request you use for your wedding day.
Some venues, such as restaurants and hotels, require that you use their services for catering. This can have benefits and drawbacks. If you are looking for a one-stop shop, having an in-house caterer can make the planning process quick and easy. However, when it comes to budgeting, menu pricing is often higher for required in-house catering than it is for independent catering companies. Additionally, venues with in-house catering often charge a lower initial venue rental fee, but set a food and beverage minimum that you must reach with your menu selections. You may also have more limited menu options. Independent catering companies that focus strictly on catering typically have more variety, and love to create a unique dining experience for guests.
It has become more prevalent that venues require that you hire an independent wedding coordinator for a minimum of day-of services on your wedding day. Why is this, you ask? There are a multitude of reasons, but weddings have a lot of moving pieces that need to fit together flawlessly—and you only have one day to get it right. Venues usually have their clients’ best interests at heart when they make these requirements. Couples who hire a wedding coordinator are much happier, less stressed, and more present on their wedding day than the couples who don’t hire a wedding coordinator.
At The Treasury, we have a fabulous list of the best St. Augustine wedding vendors to help you create your wedding dream team.
4. What options are available for guest accommodations, transportation, and parking?
Whether you are choosing a local venue or planning a destination wedding, it is important to know how your guests will be getting from Point A to Point B. Ask for a list of local hotels and accommodations, as well as transportation options for you and your guests.
One of the most wonderful things about St. Augustine is that many of the best downtown accommodations and wedding venues are within walking distance of one another. With parking being at a premium in our historic city, the fewer guests that have to drive, the better! The Treasury on the Plaza is lucky to have a parking lot with up to 50 spaces available to rent out on weekends and holidays and weekdays after 5:00 pm. There are also many alternative transportation options, such as the adorable trolleys, Uber, and Lyft.
5. What is included with my venue rental?
Included amenities vary widely from one venue to another. Some venues are simply a blank space where you can create your own “wedding package” from the ground up. Other venues include all of your tables, chairs, and much more. It’s important to consider the included amenities when comparing the pricing for each venue; costs for rental items, delivery, and labor fees can add greatly to your bottom line. Not to mention, making decisions about the quantity and type of items you need can add a lot of time and stress to the wedding planning process.
Here at The Treasury on the Plaza, we have some fantastic amenities included with your venue rental. Visit our Wedding Packages page to compare our package options.
And there you have it, the top five questions to ask a wedding reception venue before you sign on the dotted line. While there are so many things to consider in choosing a venue, remember your vendors (especially wedding planners like Brittany!) are here to help you. So ask plenty of questions, take a deep breath, and have fun. Remember, you’ve done the most important part; you have found the person you want to spend your life with!
If you are looking for a wedding venue in St. Augustine, we invite you to reach out to our team at The Treasury on The Plaza. We would love to answer all of your wedding venue questions over the phone or in-person during a wedding venue tour! And if you are looking for even more questions to ask on your wedding venue tour, we have you covered.