May 15, 2024

How to Tell a Couple Their Date Isn’t Available

It happens all the time, right? You get an email from a couple who is super interested in your venue, but their date is unavailable. You’re bummed. Who wants to both NOT make a sale and disappoint an enthusiastic potential client?

Sometimes there’s no way around it, but there can be opportunities even in this challenging situation.

Here are 3 ways to turn saying NO into something positive:

1) Respond quickly, even if their date is booked. 

A prompt, friendly response shows that you value attentive customer service, even if you can’t accommodate the requested date. That makes a difference—many of the other venues they are considering will either never reply or will simply offer a cold “Sorry, your date is not available.” I swear, it happens. I’ve seen it. {Clutches chest.}

2) Suggest dates near theirs that ARE available. 

It may very well be that the weekend before or after would work. Couples are often open to other weekends if they really love the venue (and the venue’s service…ahem).

3) Discuss hosting ancillary wedding events if your venue is a good fit for them. 

We already know that the couple likes you, so let’s capitalize on that. For example, what about the rehearsal dinner? If your venue is available on the Friday night before the Saturday they want, be proactive and pitch your place as a great option for that event. They may not have even considered such a possibility—and could be very receptive.

At the end of the day, you might not get their business. That’s just the reality here. BUT, there’s a chance you might…and, even if you don’t, if you treat them with genuine respect and warmth, they may very well recommend your venue when their best friend/sister/cousin gets engaged.

And that makes investing a bit of time and effort now totally worth it.


Draft an email template that you can use as a response in “your date is not available” situations. Include places to customize (and color highlight them for easy reference) based on the 3 tips above.

Trust me, your future self will thank you.

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Meredith Monday Schwartz started at Here Comes The Guide in 1997 (we didn’t even have a website back then—there might also have been dinosaurs running around!) and was a wedding venue specialist for 10 years before taking over as Chief Bossypants in 2007. In the years since she joined HCTG, she’s learned a lot about wedding couples, wedding venues, and running a company profitably and well. To hire Meredith to consult on best practices in your wedding venue business, email