Expert Advice: 5 Mistakes Couples Make When Choosing a Wedding Venue

Choosing your Tampa Bay wedding venue is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for your wedding day as it sets the tone for the atmosphere, can dictate which vendors you hire, and takes up half your budget, so it’s important to select one that is the perfect match.

Price can often be a sensitive issue, as typically the venue is one of the first vendors that you book and is also the most costly. Though as our experts point out if you find a venue that you fall in love with, have a conversation with the sales specialist, and they will often provide you with options to try to match your needs as closely as you can.

One of the biggest mistakes we see couples make is to inquire with 25+ venues, then get completely overwhelmed by the options, emails, and follow-ups. Take the time to do some due diligence before you hit the send button, and if you are no longer interested in a venue, then kindly reply to let them know (that way they stop emailing you!)

We asked our team of wedding venue experts to share their insight on common mistakes couples make when choosing a wedding venue to give you insight to make a better-informed decision!

Expert Advice: 5 Mistakes Couples Make When Choosing a Tampa Bay Wedding Venue

The Experts:

Advice: Top Mistakes Couples Make When Choosing a Tampa Bay Wedding Venue

Mistake #1: Focusing Only on Price

Madison Downs Wedding Specialist for The Godfrey Hotel Tampa Cabanas explains:
When researching venues online a lot of couples look at the pricing first and may dismiss a venue solely on that without ever doing a site tour. While budgets are very important, a lot of times venues can work with your budget, within reason. Instead of dismissing the venue at first glance, set up a site tour and let the venue know your budget to see if they can work with it. It is also important to know what your venue includes for your wedding. A venue may have a ceremony fee or rental fee but includes a day of coordinator, chargers, chivari chairs, a complimentary room night, etc. These are important because the more the venues include the less you have to worry about finding additional vendors.

Lydia Spriggs Wedding Sales Manager for the Yacht StarShip adds:
The most common mistake I see is couples not having a budget or idea of the type of venue or wedding they want. Couples will send out a blanket of inquiries from multiple wedding sites asking about packages. This will bombard their inbox with so many emails making it overwhelming very quickly. Many venues have a range of services and packages they can offer and even customize to meet a client’s needs. Make a list of what is important to you, reach out to those specific to your wants and needs, and then narrow down to a small list to find your perfect venue. Money is not always the deciding factor: customer service, type of venue, menu, and extra services may all be factors on why a couple chooses their venue.

Michael Scott Novilla owner of NOVA 535 explains:
If you only focus on the price you will always fall short. It’s the experience and memories that are the critical component. Focus on the best values and the best reviews (from couples and vendors). Focus on venues who care about others (inclusive of everyone) who care about the environment (paperless, no straws, green cleaning products, low-waste, etc), and who are easy to deal with. Choose venues who list their pricing, put everything in writing, and have all your details, floorplan, timeline, invoice, and vendor contact info organized. You want a venue who really cares about you and not just your checkbook. Ask a lot of questions and be a good listener. If the venue isn’t asking you a lot of questions, run.

Mistake #2: Not Providing Enough Information

Madison from Godfrey Hotel Tampa and Cabanas shares:
When you are inquiring with a venue it is important to let them know your wedding date and how many people. This allows the venue to let you know if there is space available on that day for the size of your wedding. This is always the first thing I ask with every new couple.

Lydia of the Yacht StarShip explains:
If couples would provide a little more information and price point, the venue can narrow down what is sent to the couples. This helps filter their choices down to a few that they can then concentrate on, correspond with, and research to find the perfect fit for them.

Mistake #3: Ghosting Your Venue

Lydia of Yacht StarShip provides this insight:
Engage with the venue by calling them back, responding to their emails and answering their questions. Even if you are no longer interested or they are not a good fit, just let them know. A customer service driven and professional venue will keep reaching out to follow up and make sure they can help, but they don’t want to become bothersome!

Tampa, Clearwater Waterfront Wedding Venue | Yacht StarShip

The Yacht StarShip | Kristen Marie Photography

Mistake #4: Showing up Without an Appointment

Lydia of Yacht StarShip makes a valid point:
It is important that couples realize that they should schedule an appointment for a tour. This will ensure the right person can be available to answer their specific questions and that the areas the couple wants to see are available. A private event may be taking place in the venue, other couples may be touring when you arrive, or the correct person to show the property could be off-site. Venues want to block out time for you to visit when they can provide customer service to give you what you need.

Large Indoor Tampa Bay Wedding Venue | Embassy Suites Tampa USF | Tampa Bay Indian Wedding Venue

Embassy Suites Tampa USF

Mistake #5: Not Allowing Enough Setup Time

Andrea of the Embassy Suites Tampa USF shares a common misstep:
The biggest mistake I see over and over is couples signing a contract without the guarantee of enough setup time. It is important know in advance how elaborate your décor will be. Having the venue for the time your decorator needs is worth the extra cost! I recently had a bride who didn’t allow for enough time for her 16×12 floral wall. The florist charged for the extra labor the decorator needed to hire to have the wall done in time, and I can not imagine the stress she felt for the wall to be complete!


Marry Me Tampa Bay editor, Anna Coats, created Marry Me Tampa Bay in 2012 to showcase the area's best local weddings and vendors. She has been featured as a wedding expert on the national talkshow Daytime, Fox13, ABC Action News, Great Day Tampa Bay, and Bay News 9 (now Spectrum).

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