So you’re engaged and it is time to start thinking about where you will make this special memory. From a former Catering Manager, I have heard it all – from “Is the room for the Bride included?” to “Can I have Ferraris do figure 8’s on the front drive?” (True Story.) That being said, I have compiled 10 important questions to ask your venue prior to booking.
1. What dates are available and do you offer any discounts on Off-Peak Weddings?
This is especially important when considering budget. Of course, if you have a date set in your mind – the availability for that date at the venue is a yes or no answer. However, if you are flexible, often times Venues offer discounted packages for Friday/Sunday Weddings of Off-Peak Season Weddings. My husband and I went with a Friday wedding and let our guests know months in advance. We saved $400 of the rental price and had a blast.
2. Ask About the Logistics of Each Event
A lot if not most venues have different areas for ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception respectively. How many people can each space hold? How do my guests get from point A to point B? Who needs to signal them? All are good questions when thinking about the flow of your event.
3. How many hours are included in my contract?
It is important to know how many hours your package is or venue rental is for. For instance, my wedding venue was a daily rental and I had it from 10:00am to Midnight on the day of my wedding. However, the packages at the Resort I worked with covered a 30 minute ceremony time and a 4 hour reception window. How you scheduled it was ultimately up to the client discretion but, that was the allotted time and anything over was charged for. If you and your guests like to party into the night, consider a venue that is more relaxed with time limits.
4. Is the Venue Available for Use Before and After My Wedding Date?
When it comes to scheduling rehearsals or clean up, it is important to know your parameters when picking the venue. Will you have a space to rehearse in the evening before? What time is the venue available for set up and breakdown. Know your hours so that you and your vendors can create an effective timeline.
5. What is the plan in case of inclement weather?
This is especially important if you have chosen a venue with only one indoor space. If you have big plans for an outdoor wedding, unfortunately, the weather isn’t always on our side. In case of rain, extreme heat or cold, etc. you should know your venue’s back up weather plan in advance and plan accordingly. Also, ask if they allow tenting – it’s a last minute risk but having all of your options prepared will save you a lot of stress and headache on the wedding day.
6. What are the Liability Insurance Requirements?
Find out what your venue requires when it comes to liability insurance. Do they offer it? Vendor requirements? At my venue, we required a Two-Million Dollar aggregate limit because of the nature of the resort. It differs between venues but you definitely want to make sure you are well protected should something happen.
7. What furniture/décor is provided with my contract?
This seems like a black and white issue, but when you look at the smaller details, you could save a lot of money by asking to use the venues items. Things like wine barrels, cake stands, table linens, etc. – Venues may have in stock. Most come with rental fees but that is exponentially more cost effective than renting from an outside source.
8. What facilities are available for me and my guests?
Not only do you need to know if they offer a dressing room or bridal suite for your wedding party, but you also need to consider how many restrooms, seating areas, among other things that are available to your guests. This will factor into your decision and budget.
9. What are the Local/Venue Alcohol Ordinances and What Do I need to Do to be Compliant?
Some venues offer bar service under their own liquor licenses, others allow you to bring in your own provided you have a licensed bartender. If alcohol is being provided, make sure you know exactly what the venue requires as it could mean serious fines for them and you.
10. Are There Any Places on Property That are Off Limits for Photography?
We had specific locations that were amazing for photos, and some places of the resort that were off limits due to the privacy of other guests. Ask your venue and make sure the guidelines are clear. This will help in planning shots with your photographer.
All in all, the venue is a huge decision but doesn’t have to be a hard one! Enjoy the experience and let yourself be excited!
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