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Top 5 Things People Forget When Choosing a Wedding Venue

An intimate moment of a couple embracing at Valley of the Moon, Beautiful vines behind them!

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If you are like most couples, you have sorted through hundreds of web pages searching for the perfect venue to host your wedding.  When you finally plan your site visits, there are some things you should ask about that could save you dollars as well as a lot of stress for your reception when choosing a wedding venue.

1.Site Assets

The first thing to understand is, not only what inventory is included in the site fee (tables, chairs, furniture, heaters, etc.), but also the condition of these products.  A successful site would have some quantity of these items, which can save you money, but it’s not only the quantity, but also the quality that is important.  It’s your wedding – you’ll want everything to reflect the standards you want your guests to experience.

2. Prep/Partial/Full Kitchens

The next thing to consider is whether your site has some kind of kitchen capability.  Unless you are having a raw menu, there will need to be some cooking going on.  There is a difference, however, between the three kitchens above as it relates to what you might have to rent in order for the caterer to do their part.  Look, listen and ask what additional items and cost are required to get your menu prepared at the site you are selecting.  If there is a full kitchen on site, there may be a cleaning fee associated with it.  None of these options are either good, nor bad, you simply need to clearly understand what additional equipment might be required so you are not surprised.

3. Parking and Access

The formula for parking is pretty straight forward – divide the number of guests by 2 and that will roughly tell you the number of parking spaces that will be needed.  If you are planning any shuttles, be sure to understand the size of the shuttle that can be accommodated at your prospective site.  It is more cost effective to provide one 48 passenger vehicle, than two 24 passenger vans.  Another point to consider if you go the bus route, clearly understand where they will be staged during your event so you do not have a lovely bus as your background in photos.

4. Power

Surprise!  No power.  This is the last thing you need to hear on the day of your event, so it is best to clearly understand what power requirements you might need, and if they can be properly accommodated at your prospective site.  Any venue worth it’s salt can help you understand these things and translate them into English rather than Electrician for you.

5. Interference

Understanding the site’s primary business and what impact that might have on your event is an important thing to consider.  Odds are the site you are considering is not a site that simply hosts weddings.  It has a day job too, and often that day job involves customers visiting the site.  An important component to understand is what part of the site is yours, what is theirs, and when does theirs become yours.  Misunderstandings in this are easily avoided if everyone is clear from the start.  Additionally, sometimes sites have had another event the day prior to yours.  Again, nothing wrong with that, but it is good to understand when the vestiges and footprints of those folks are fully gone so you and your team have ample time to make the site just right for you.

Odds are all the preceding are not a problem even if you did not inquire, but sometimes an ounce of prevention is a good thing.

About the AuthorMilestone Events Group is Northern California’s largest event management company providing site selection services to over 15 locations throughout Napa and Sonoma. Milestone helps clients simplify their site selection process by providing clarity, predictability and ultimately confidence for clients who work with them to evaluate wineries, ranch’s, and other locations for their private events.  After the site selection process is complete, Milestone is also available should the client select to help produce their event in a stress reduced and highly professional manner.


There are no “silly questions”. We know more about Wine Country wedding venues and planning than anyone. We can help you find a venue that matches both your vision and your budget.

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matthew parks

site tour host


Matt is a Sonoma County native. He has worked on the production side of events for over two decades. From bartending, to catering to event planning, Matt has done it all. He co-owned one of Marin County’s premier catering and event planning companies for many years. Matt is passionate about sharing our beautiful wine country and helping to create exceptionally memorable events. When he is not working you can find him mountain biking at Annadel State Park or Skiing in Tahoe, or maybe relaxing at a brewpub after a good trail run. Cheers!