“Can you send us pricing information?”
“How much does it cost to do our wedding there?”
“Send me a proposal for my wedding.”
These are phrases we often read in emails from couples when they contact us. At times there is more detail than just a simple statement, and other times there isn’t anything more than a first name. If you are seriously looking to gain insight about a venue, asking one question isn’t going prepare you. Yet, this is often what happens when couples contact vendors.
Do you want the BEST information a venue can provide for your reception? The big secret lies in one little action: give more detail about your wedding. That’s the secret. We know you’ll need to, and want to, know venue pricing. It is the foundation of what helps you determine where your reception is hosted. Weddings are, after all, a financial investment as much as a ceremony of lifelong commitment. Many times venue pricing information is available on the venue’s website. Once you’ve vetted venues and found ones that are in your price range and interest you, making meaningful contact is the next step.
Why That One Question Can Hurt You
It’s said the more you know the better. This might be true, but it’s also the quickest way to overwhelm yourself, corner yourself into sticker shock, or set yourself on a path to straight confusion. If you research venues by only asking ‘Can you send us pricing information?’ you’ll likely end up with a lot of information about a lot of things. Remember, wedding investment is comprised of a few different cost elements and a venue’s value goes beyond the pricing listed in a rental guide. So while sending you general pricing information will certainly provide you with a basis of what you’re looking for, it isn’t going to give you the true value of the venue. Use a venue’s website to your advantage to learn the basics about venue pricing and offerings, and make contact with those that are a realistic fit. This is part of the venue selection process.
A person’s wedding is one of the most memorable days of their life. It’s the culmination of months of careful planning and thought out detail to make the day uniquely theirs and unlike any other day of their lives. Don’t haphazardly research venues and make shotgun decisions about which venue to pursue without getting the right information in your hands. Our event specialists suggest contacting venues and having the following information available:
- Your Preferred Venue Space
- When contacting a venue, state the spaces you are interested in within their facility. Many venues have more than one rentable area. You may be interested in all of them after your initial vetting on their website or you may only be interested in one or two. Let the venue know up front what areas you are considering. You don’t want your time wasted by someone trying to sell you a space you aren’t interested in or can’t afford.
- Your Budget
- Even though we suggest researching price on a venue’s website in advance, be sure to bring your budget up to your venue during your initial contact so they can stick with making recommendations that makes sense for your price point.
- Your Ideal Date
- Offer the venue your ideal date so they can check availability, and also include one or two back up dates you have in mind. Allow your date to be flexible. Some concessions need to be made at times in order to get your perfect date or your perfect venue and typically that compromise comes in the terms of sacrifice of one or the other. Your date and day of the week can also impact your venue cost.
- Your Estimated Guest Count
- Your guest count directly impacts the spaces you consider (as well as your overall costs once you begin considering catering.) Bear in mind this is estimated guest count. Not necessarily how many invitations you are sending out, but how many of those invited you actually expect to attend. While you may love the space that holds 100 guests, it won’t work for a party of 200. Vice versa applies to small parties looking at large spaces. You don’t want your party to be so spread out that it feels empty!
- Know if you want your ceremony at the venue
- More and more venues are offering on-site ceremonies, including all of the venues we work with. While we will automatically check to see if the reception space you are interested in is available, you’ll need to also let the venue know if you need a ceremony space as well. Like a reception area, a ceremony space will also need to be rented for your event.
Each of these elements can impact a different element in your ability to use the venue, afford the venue, or if the venue is available. Three key factors in venue selection, beyond the Rule of 5. It’s great if your dream venue is available on your date, but if it’s out of your budget or cannot host your guest count…. You may need to think again.
Don’t forget! Venue fees and catering costs are separate things. If a venue has an exclusive cater, you’ll be required to use their caterer’s service. This will be a separate set of costs, but may impact your ability to host your event at that facility if the prices are out of your budget for food and beverage.
As we said previously, wedding websites like The Knot and Wedding Wire make contacting venues incredibly easy. It’s so easy it’s a very attractive method for reaching out to venues for the first time. We welcome these communications! They are quick and easy for you, but provide a below basic snapshot of the reception you want to host.
Compare Apples to Apples
This may not need to be said, but it’s still important nonetheless. Especially in regards to contacting venues. Be sure the information you pursue from each of the venues you are researching is the same. Be sure to ask the same questions to each of the venues, even when you think you know the answer. Venue websites are a great way to gain insight, but they won’t convey the true value of the venue to its fullest.
Some questions to consider when contacting venues:
- What catering options are availabe?
- What are the food and beverage minimums of the spaces?
- What type of highway access do you have?
- What on-site amenities are included in your venue rental? For example, on-site parking.
- Are event basics such as tables, chairs, china, glass and silver included? If not, what are the rental costs?
The value of a venue will be greatly impacted by what they can offer. Price alone isn’t the only factor to consider. One venue might seem like a better price, but the fewer amenities or event basics they offer will most likely make them the higher priced venue in the end due to the individual rentals that need to be coordinated.
Our Final Thoughts
The infamous question, “Can you send us pricing information?” will never go out of style, and we happily send out information to each and every person that asks. Don’t take your venue search lightly. This is one day that will be filled with a lifetime of memories. Ask great questions and give detail to get the best information from potential venues. It’s easy to be attracted to low room rental rates, but keep in mind those rates might be low because the venue isn’t offering you amenities which you may need to purchase al a carte.