If you’re reading this – it’s too late (*inserting your reminder to put Drake on the must-play list for your DJ*). You’ve already started the planning process and you’re getting to do one of the most fun parts of it all – finding the place you can picture spending the best-day-of-your-life. You already said the most important “yes”, but now it’s time for the second most important. Don’t stress though, Rocky Mountain Bride is here to help! We’ve compiled a list of questions you can and should ask during the initial tour at each venue you visit.
Whatever your vision is for your wedding day, you can avoid potential hiccups or disappointments by being prepared and picking your venue not just based on looks, but also on what it has to offer. Find the best fit for you as a couple – take these questions and ask away!
This is probably the most important question you need an answer to now, because it will affect your entire wedding day timeline, and affect all of your vendors. Depending on the venue access time, you may be doing your hair and makeup onsite in a bridal suite OR you might be doing it at your hotel or Airbnb before you arrive for the wedding day. This will also be important information for you or your planner to give to your vendor team so they know when to arrive with your flowers, your other decor, and our favorite part of the wedding – your delicious food. Your wedding planner and/or photographer will help you create a timeline for the day, but typically you and your guests should be out of the venue about one hour before your contracted access time ends. This allows your vendors time to “strike” (AKA clean up the wedding magic) and leave the venue the way you found it. Knowing this end time will help you plan your grand exit and work backwards on a timeline!
Fun fact: SKYLIGHT in the Santa Fe Arts District of Denver has 24 hour access included in your venue rental – meaning you can dance until 3 am, and you & your vendors can return the next morning to get any equipment or decor left behind.
Venues often have preferred lists of trusted, professional vendors. These vendors typically are familiar with the venue, know where decor looks good, and know where the best lighting is for that perfect snapshot. This list can be a really helpful place to start in choosing the rest of your wedding day team. Venues sometimes have restrictions/requirements on vendors you *must* use – oftentimes this will be caterers and/or bartenders they trust at their venue, or even catering/bar services they exclusively offer through the venue itself. Most hotel venues have in-house catering and bar service, so if you’re wanting to do something like a food truck, that would be a good thing to find out before booking the venue!
Some venues, especially those that are downtown, may not have a lot of on-site parking simply due to being on a smaller plot of land. You may want to ask about guest parking before you book, as this may require you to book a shuttle service or buy Uber codes for your guests. Which – in our opinion – isn’t a bad idea regardless, especially if you will have an open bar. You and your guests can have all the fun you want and a safe ride home that’s already scheduled!
Venue: Villa Parker
This is a niche question that’s often overlooked during the excitement of picking a venue. However, if you’re envisioning your centerpieces to include candles for that warm, dreamy look, you’re going to want to check with the venue first. Some older or historic buildings have rules in place against open flames. Typically, even if venues don’t allow open flames inside, you can still utilize candles with hurricane shades and keep the ambiance glowing. Further, if you want to use pyrotechnics during your grand exit (or even sparklers!) definitely check with the venue first. Depending on time of year, the venue may not allow this – especially if a venue has lots of natural foliage that could pose a fire risk. Your wedding day design is important, but not more important than keeping the Rockies alive and well!
During your tour, ask about what other items come with your venue rental. A lot of venues have all of the tables and chairs you’ll need for both your ceremony and reception. Some venues will even have linens and miscellaneous decor items you can use as well. If your venue has in-house catering, ask what flatware/silverware comes included. This way you can get an idea of what things will look like all set up, what else you might need to rent or buy, and what decor you don’t need to spend your money on (meaning you can spend that money elsewhere – late night snack, anyone?).
Venue: The Baxter Hotel
The weather can be unpredictable in the Rockies, so make sure you like the rain plan before booking your venue. Some venues have indoor ceremony spots, and some venues even include tents in the winter to prepare for inclement weather, so you’ll want to like Plan B just as much as you like Plan A before you book.
Remember: it’s good luck to have rain on your wedding day, but make sure you’ll like the pictures!
While we hate to think of the worst case scenario, it’s always better to be prepared. No one saw the COVID-19 pandemic coming, but we know now better than ever that sometimes postponements and cancellations unfortunately have to happen. We know your wedding day will go off without a hitch (besides you two getting hitched, that is!) but you should check with the venue during your tour on the protocol for this anyway. It’s best to read all of the fine print before signing a contract!
Venue: 4U Ranch
We hope these questions can be a good jumping off point to help you find your dream “I Do”! Not sure where you want to book a tour? Check out our Rocky Mountain Bride Venue Guide: a digital magazine featuring the best wedding venues in the entire Rocky Mountain region.