6 Wedding Venue Red Flags to Watch out For

Wedding staff lay out plates of food at a wedding reception

Your wedding venue is such an important part of your special day: the decorations, furniture, and architectural design of the venue will determine the way your wedding looks to you and your guests. In many cases, a large part of the wedding budget is spent on this space, which makes it important to consider carefully and book early. In a rush to get a wonderful venue, brides and grooms sometimes ignore some small “red flags” that can result in frustration and irritation down the road. Watch out for these red flags and keep them in mind while making your decision about a venue.

You Aren’t a Priority

It’s easy to see if your inquiries go unnoticed or if you don’t get a phone call back within a day of reaching out to a venue. While wedding venues are usually very busy places, one of the ways they get that busy is by responding promptly to inquiries and booking up their next season of weddings.

Do not sell yourself short in the process. Make sure to inquire at at least three or four wedding venues to make sure you can compare your treatment in addition to whether or not they are available for your dates. This information is important because the way they treat you before you sign a contract with them can be an indicator of how they will behave on your wedding day.

A couple looking through wedding reviews on a tablet

The Venue’s Reviews Online Are Alarming

Wedding venue reviews can be unnecessarily alarming at times: picking through a long and angry review can reveal that some circumstances outside of the venue’s control were bad, or that communication was poor between the planning staff and the bride. However, there are certainly different kinds of low wedding venue reviews that are worth considering.

If the reviews talk about forgetting important elements of the wedding, inconveniences for the guests, or disregard for reasonable requests, consider how you would feel if a similar situation happened to you. If you are fairly easy going, it can often be worthwhile to choose a venue in spite of some low reviews, since you may get a pretty good deal. However, if you know that you have some detailed day-of requests for the staff that will detract from your big day if they aren’t completed, try to choose a wedding venue with a proven track record of staff excellence.

Start your search in our own Local Vendors section where you can read in-depth reviews from users and find reputable wedding vendors in your area.

Communication is Spotty

In addition to not making you a priority, a wedding venue that isn’t good at communicating in your preferred format may be a warning sign. Many venue directors may prefer phone calls, but be clear if you’re a busy person who needs details sent via email so that you don’t have to play “phone tag.” This is especially important if you’re planning a destination wedding, as venues that you book sight-unseen can be troubling if you don’t have a great and quick communication line to them. Whenever possible, find a way to see the venue and the director or owner of the space in person, so you can verify that communications are on track.

An upset woman on the phone

In-Person or Phone Call Interactions Are “off”

Even if the communication is plentiful, if the wedding venue staff don’t seem to understand what you need, it can be a sign of trouble. If the venue treats your requests with recognition and respect, you can feel confident that your set-up will be accurate and you will have a great experience. If your choice of ceremony location or decoration in the reception area causes eyebrows to raise, this staff may be a bit inflexible.

Make your desires clear to them, but also keep track of these interactions if you haven’t booked the venue yet, since they may be a sign of future inflexibility down the road.

A Venue’s Features Require Tweaking Your Plans

While most of these red flags have to do with the staff that run a wedding venue, a tour of a facility can also reveal that the things you want simply won’t work well there. If you want a sit down dinner for 200 and the space can only accommodate that many as a standing cocktail reception, consider a different venue. Tweaking your goals or plans may have to happen, but if you have other options, consider them before you let the limitations of a space make your wedding into a different experience. All this being said, there may be a finite number of options when it comes to wedding venues in your chosen location, so at some point, tweaking your plans may be necessary. Your vision can, after all, be realized in a wide variety of potential spaces.

None of these experiences on their own are reasons to avoid a wedding venue, but if one or more of them occur, you can be alerted to the need to be extra clear, extra well-planned, and extra flexible on your end. You can still create the perfect wedding day even if you experience a red flag at the venue, and knowing that you may need to communicate a little more may be exactly the knowledge you need to get all those details just right.

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