Last week I mentioned that your wedding date isn’t set until the venue is selected. I shared the first 5 questions to ask your wedding venue. So today is part 2 and a continuation of questions to ask the wedding venue.
1. Is there a back-up plan in the event of inclement weather?
- In the event the ceremony and/or reception are outdoors, ensure that is a back-up plan in the event of rain, wind or thunderstorm. Do you love the inclement weather plan as much as the primary plan? It may also be wise to ensure that any outdoor travel from buildings has a covered pathway with gravel to avoid mud or slippery paths. You want to be sure that your guests are as comfortable as possible.
2. What does the venue set up/break down? When can you set up/break down?
- Venue packages may include tables, chairs, linens, etc. It’s important to know what is included in your wedding package and who sets it up. If the venue does not include rentals, rentals can consist of a specific day or an entire weekend. Most venues allow you to come in the night before or the morning of to decorate, but it’s important to know so you can plan accordingly to setup and enlist additional help if needed. If the venue books one wedding per weekend then you will most likely be able to come back on Sunday to pack and clean up. However, some venues require clean up take place by the end of the night. I would highly recommend a clean-up crew to be able to rest after your joyful day.
3. How late can the reception go? What time should the music end?
- Most venues have a designated end time whether it be per the contract or noise ordinances. This time is important because it will be the end time for the DJ’s coverage and allow for the DJ to wind the evening down. It also helps plan the reception events (cake cutting, anniversary dance, shuttle runs) accordingly to allow for adequate time.
4. What are the rules and guidelines for the venue?
- Are you able to move and decorate to suit your purposes or do you have to leave everything as is? Are there things you are or aren’t able to decorate? Although you may have an idea of where you would like things set up and placed, depending on the guidelines for the venue, it may not be an option.
5. Can I hire my own vendors (caterer, coordinator, DJ, etc)? Or must I select from a preferred vendor list? If I can bring my own, do you have a list of recommended vendors?
- Some vendors have a list of preferred vendors. These vendors have worked at the venue before and know the challenges of the space. They can make recommendations to make the planning process easier. They can also show you previous work from other weddings and events to lend suggestions and tips. It is important to know the necessities for the DJ, such as power connection and options for acoustics. Are kitchen facilities available? A place for caters to bring in and set up their food is ideal, sometimes even allowing for a kitchen to warm food up or make last-minute items.
- Get a proposal of all pricing, policies, taxes, and service charges to get an idea of the basic costs.
- Use your cell phone to take photos of the locations you visit, so you can recall what you did and didn’t like.
- Look at the venue as a whole: check out everything including the restrooms, dressing rooms, kitchen, etc. It is important to be as knowledgeable of the venue if you decide to book and hire vendors so you can educate them or plan a site visit to prepare them as much as possible.
- GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. Be sure to get a signed contract to include your wedding date, outline the deposit, payment schedule, what is included,
- Your wedding date is not officially reserved unless a contract is signed with a deposit. Once you’ve found THE PLACE, make sure you ask what the booking requirements are. Then follow through on satisfying those requirements. And don’t assume that just because the site coordinator said you can have 4 votive candles per table you’ll get them. Before you sign a contract, read the fine print and make sure it includes everything you and the site contact agreed on. As new things are added or changed in your contract, have the updated version printed out and signed by you and the site representative. Also, document all your conversations in emails and keep your correspondence.
These are just a few questions to ask when searching for a wedding venue, but definitely not all of them. I would recommend collecting all information and comparing the venues to help you select the ONE!
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