Found your dream wedding venue and ready to book? Wait, here are 13 essential questions to ask a venue before you sign on the dotted line.
If you’ve found your dream wedding venue, then you’re probably ready to burst with excitement and are already planning the decor and decorations in your mind. But before you get carried away, there are a few questions to ask a venue to ensure it’s 100% right for you. In this article, we’ll share with you the most essential things to consider before you make a decision you might later regret.
So you’ve found the wedding venue of your dreams and are ready to take the plunge and book. But how much do you REALLY know about the logistics of having your wedding there? Do they have a bridal suite available for you to use and when can you access the venue to set up your decorations? Are there noise restrictions and how much extra is it going to cost if your reception goes an hour (or few) over schedule?
It’s much better to know these things before you sign on the dotted line, only to be whacked with extra costs (and a lot more stress) later on. So to ensure you’ve crossed all your “Ts” and dotted all your “Is”, we’ve put together 13 questions to ask a venue before booking.
1. Is our date available?
If you have your heart set on a particular date, then this is the first question you should be asking to determine whether having your wedding at the venue is even possible. Some venues book out years in advance during the peak wedding periods, particularly if you want to wed on a Saturday. If you’re more flexible with your dates, then check what their availability is like for the period or season you prefer and go from there.
2. Do you offer mid-week discounts?
For couples looking to save a few dollars, you might be able to get a significantly reduced rate if you’re not getting married on a Saturday. Thursdays and Fridays are often cheaper, with mid-week weddings sometimes even further reduced in price. So don’t be afraid to ask, and provided you give your guests plenty of notice, they’ll probably be able to book the time off work if needed.
3. Is there a venue “hire” fee?
Some venues charge a per head price for wedding receptions (with most requiring a minimum number of guests) while others will charge this PLUS a hire fee for the space itself. Always check exactly how much it’s going to cost you for the number of guests you’re planning on inviting, as well as how many hours of use this rate includes. Most venues will be able to extend the hire period by a few hours so you can have a more relaxed reception. But it’s better to know upfront how much this is going to cost than be whacked with an overtime bill at the end!
4. Do you have samples of available styling packages?
Some venues will have their own styling packages that you can select from, including decorations and seating configurations for the ceremony and/or reception. Most are customizable to a certain degree (with some DIY decorations permitted) and will make planning your special day a whole lot easier. Ask if they have samples for you to browse through and what are the rules and restrictions on making the space your own.
5. Do you have a preferred vendor list?
If you haven’t already got your heart set on particular vendors, then consider selecting from the venue’s preferred list. They will already be familiar with the venue and the logistics of working there, meaning there’s one less thing you need to communicate to them. You still have the freedom to do your own research on each vendor to make sure they fit with your style, with the peace of mind that they’re already vouched for as professionals at what they do.
6. What catering and drinks packages are available?
When it comes to catering and drinks, be particular in checking not only what packages are available but exactly what this includes. Does it include post-ceremony beverages and hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour? Is there a cutting/plating fee for your wedding cake? Also, check whether BYO is an option or if it’s possible to tailor the drinks selection to your taste and style.
7. Do they have a wet weather back-up plan?
Even if you’re not having an outdoor ceremony or alfresco reception, most weddings will include at least some elements in the outdoors. So it’s essential that you check what will happen in the case of bad weather and then carefully think through whether that “Plan B” will still meet your wedding day vision. Also, check to see at what point the decision will be made to revert to “Plan B” and who gets to make that call.
8. Is there a bridal suite?
If your wedding venue offers accommodation, then a bridal suite will more than likely be available for your getting ready session. But even if it’s not associated with a resort or hotel, many wedding venues have thought this through and have created an elegant space for the bride and her bridesmaids to prepare.
9. Is there an in-house coordinator?
Some wedding venues have their own coordinators who will liaise with all the different working parts to ensure your day is executed flawlessly. If they do, check exactly what they will be responsible for, then determine whether you feel you need to hire your own wedding planner or coordinator to take care of other logistical tasks. A wedding coordinator is invaluable in creating a stress-free day, using their professional expertise to manage multiple elements so you don’t have to worry about them.
10. When can you start setting up?
This is a critical question to ask, so you know exactly how much time you have available and can plan accordingly. Also, check whether the venue offers assistance in setting up your DIY decorations or if you need to rope in family and friends to help. It’s also a good idea to check who is responsible for the dismantling of your decorations and where they will be stored on-site for you to pick up later.
11. Are there any noise restrictions?
Some venues will need to adhere to strict noise regulations, particularly if they’re located in residential areas. So check what these are BEFORE booking your DJ or live band, then convey this to your musicians to avoid any awkward encounters during the reception. Also, check if they have a sound system that’s available for you to use if you decide to supply your own music.
12. How long will they hold a date and what deposit is required to secure it?
If you think you’re ready to book a particular date but need a couple of days to be 100% sure, check if the venue will tentatively hold the date and for how long. If you’re ready to book, ask what the required deposit is to lock in your date, as this can vary significantly between venues. You should also check when additional installment payments or the balance is due to make sure you can budget accordingly.
13. What is the cancellation policy?
While this is probably a worst-case scenario that you don’t even want to think about, it’s good to know ahead of time what the policy is if you had to cancel your wedding. You should also ask about the venue’s insurance policy and what you’re covered for in case anything drastically goes wrong.
May 23, 2020