One of the significant decisions that you have to make as you prepare for your big day is choosing and booking a wedding venue. Different couples have varying assumptions of what is a perfect wedding venue, but mainly it depends on one's preferences and budget.
For some, it's a reception space where you'll also hold your ceremony, while for others it's a spot where you'll spend multiple days and host several festivities, including accommodation.
Wedding venues differ; it can be a hotel, town hall, restaurant, local sports or country club, private hire house, a waterfront venue, and much more. This makes arriving at a decision challenging for most couples. We've come up with this collection of the factors you should consider when deciding on the type of venue you want and the common questions you should ask when visiting the venue.
Knowing the appropriate questions to ask is the best way to avoid frustrations on your special day. Here are some of the questions you need to find answers for when you visit your prospective wedding venue.
1. How Many People Does the Space Accommodate?
When choosing a wedding venue, you must consider the number of guests you expect to attend your celebration. For instance, if the venue accommodates 250 guests, it won't hurt if there's room for a few attendees to bring an extra guest. The venue's capacity is one of the critical questions to ask at a wedding venue consultation.
Discuss the various sitting arrangements and how they affect the number of guests the venue can hold. For example, if you adopt square or rectangular tables, how many guests can fit the space? Also, get to know the venue's capacity with and without a band, dance floor, or DJ.
Most venues have stringent capacity rules and regulations. If you wish to host more guests than the venue's set capacity, you may have no option but to look for a different place or trim your guest list. On the other hand, you should not book a large venue if your guests are few—the space will look empty!
Getting responses to these questions will enable you to maximize the available space and make the right choice. It's also essential to know the wedding venue availability during the date and time you've planned to host your event. Remember, some venues host several events in one day.
2. Is the Venue Near Hotels You Can Recommend?
Suppose you or any of your guests plan to be accommodated near the wedding venue. In that case, you must know a few hotels in the neighborhood where you can access quality and affordable accommodation.
The ideal way of getting this information is to ask this question during your meeting with the venue management. Since it isn't the first time such an event is being held at their premise, they can recommend several hotels in the area where you can find superb accommodation services.
3. What Kinds of Restrictions Do You Have?
It's good to know if the venue has any restrictions to avoid surprises on the wedding day. For example, some wedding venues don't allow any alcohol, especially if they don't have a liquor license. Others won't permit you to bring liquor bought elsewhere.
Also, get to know if the venue has any décor restrictions such as confetti. Ask how and where you'll hang your drapery or lights. The same applies to whether you should use LED candles or those with an open flame.
Also, confirm the noise restrictions in the venue. A majority of these places won't allow you to play loud music past 10:00 pm, but others may allow you to enjoy yourselves however you want until midnight.
Many wedding venues operate in adherence to city, town, or county rules that dictate the time loud music should be stopped. Such rules state whether you just need to turn it down, turn it off or move indoors. Adhering with the set rules will keep the authorities away on your wedding day.
Some venues such as breweries have an age policy. This means no children should be included in the guest list. Other venues like historic sites don't allow children to run around. Gather adequate information on the restrictions of your chosen venue before signing on the dotted line.
4. Are There Cut-Off Times You Should Be Aware Of?
This is one of the top questions to ask when looking at wedding venues. You need to know how long you can use the venue. That is, at what time you should arrive and when should your guests leave.
Also, get to know if you can extend the time you should be in the venue. Most wedding venues are located in residential areas, which most often have a curfew and other limitations. Getting this information will help you make contingency plans.
The bottom line is to ensure you know what happens at the venue and all that's expected of you.
5. Will You Have Enough Time to Set up Beforehand?
This is also among the top things to ask a wedding venue. It's vital to get answers to these questions because some wedding venues host several events in a day. In this case, you need to know when your vendors can arrive at the venue and stage your reception and ceremony.
6. Does the Venue Have a Specific Vendor List?
Some wedding venues allow you to bring whatever vendor you'd like, while others will only permit you to work with suppliers from their panel. You must ensure your venue is comfortable with your list of vendors before going ahead with your plans.
However, you should appreciate the fact that working with approved vendors can be a money and time saver. Many wedding venues will offer you a list of their "recommended suppliers" whom they trust and have worked with for a long duration.
This list can prove to be handy, especially if you don't know where to source quality vendors. Unfortunately, sticking with the recommended suppliers might work against your budget besides limiting your choices.
For instance, find out if the venue offers in-house catering or recommends certain vendors.
If your chosen venue doesn't limit you to specific vendors, you can ask if they recommend certain suppliers. Working with a vendor familiar with your venue makes the planning process easier since they already understand the challenges in that space and how to overcome them.
7. Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue Regarding Finances
Money matters should also be a key point of focus when researching a wedding venue. Here's what you should ask:
7.1 How Much Is the Deposit?
You should ask the exact figure you should pay as the initial deposit. This will also help you to plan your finances appropriately.
The down payment for a wedding venue varies from place to place and depends on several factors, including the venue's capacity and the available amenities.
7.2 How Do You Structure the Payment Schedule?
Your wedding venue can supply you with their payment schedule. This will allow you to map out a timeline for your payments besides allowing you to plan for your wedding effectively.
7.3 What Is the Deposit Refund and Cancellation Policy?
When signing a letter to accept a job offer, you must know "what is in for me" before appending your signature. The same applies to a wedding venue.
Ask to see the contract first and get detailed information about the required deposit, when guaranteed numbers are required, and final billing requirements.
Among the must-ask wedding venue questions is the venue's cancellation policy.
Unfortunately, you may not get back your deposit, if you cancel the booking late. To be safe, know the venue's cancellation policy.
7.4 Are Tax and Service Charges Included?
Before signing your contract, it's essential to check if tax and service charges are included in the wedding venue costs.
You may think you've got an excellent bargain for your chosen venue only to be surprised with a higher invoice because the initial price didn't include service charges or taxes. To avoid encountering this problem, just ask the venue what's all included in their price.
7.5 Are there any extra charges?
When visiting a wedding venue ask if any extra charges are not included in the given prices.
For instance, will you pay separate charges for room hire, hiring staff, or cleaning the venue? In some cases, there are ancillary charges which are good to be aware of upfront, so it's recommended to include this question in your list of what to ask at a wedding venue visit since these expenses will need to be included in your overall budget.
7.6 Does Your Venue Have Public Liability Insurance?
Each wedding venue should secure public liability insurance to cater for any eventualities. This ensures you are not liable in the unfortunate event of an accident. If the venue has this form of insurance, they should have no problem providing proof.
There you have it! Ask these questions as you are shopping for a wedding venue and you’ll have all the details you’ll need to make an informed decision about choosing your wedding venue!