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  • Writer's pictureJean Rivers

Questions to Ask Before you Select a Wedding Venue

It's #engagement season and one of the most important decisions you will make during #weddingplanning is where your wedding will be held. We advise all of our clients to bring their wedding planner on board to help source the venues that fit your guest count, style, budget and location needs. But, no two venues are created equally so here are 50 important questions that should be asked and thought through before you sign on the dotted line...

Is the space available on your top three wedding dates? Is there a cost reduction if we are flexible with our date and can move it to a Friday/ Sunday or a different season?

Can there be more than one wedding held at the venue at one time? Will we be able to hear another weddings band during our ceremony? Is there adequate parking for all parties? What kind of signage is available to get the guests to the correct event?

What is the rental fee? Is tax and gratuity included in that fee? What is the deposit and under what circumstances is that deposit refundable? What is the payment schedule?

What is your cancellation and postponement and COVID policy?

Is there a guest minimum and when do you need the guest count by?

How many guests can fit in the ceremony area comfortably? How many people can fit in the cocktail hour space comfortably? How many people can fit in the reception for a seating dinner comfortably? Remember that max capacity does not equate to comfortability. Are there separate rooms/ spaces for the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception? If not, can the venue flip the ceremony space to the reception and are there any fees associated with that? Where are the options for guests to have cocktail hour during the flip?

How many hours comes with the venue and if we need more hours for setup or getting ready, what is the cost per hour? Are the hours flexible, can we start at 8am or earlier on wedding day?

Is the ceremony set up included in the cost? Is rehearsal included in the cost? If you book another event the evening before the wedding, when will we be made aware we need to rehearse elsewhere?

Does the venue offering catering and bar services? If there is no in house catering, do they have a list of exclusive caterers? Is there a kitchen on site? Is there a food tasting before you select your menu and any fees to do that?

Is alcohol allowed? Do you have a liqueur license to be able to serve a fully open bar or are there limitations? Can we bring our own alcohol and is there a corkage fee? Will we need to hire bartenders and are there extra fees if we want more bars open throughout the evening?

Catering and Venue make up 1/3 of an entire wedding budget so make sure you can afford the catering options before signing with a venue. The same applies to the bar and any food and beverage minimums, and service fees that come along with it.

If this an outdoor wedding, is there a backup plan for rain or any bad weather? Who makes the decision to move the outdoor wedding indoors and when would that decision be made? Is there a tent provided for outdoors, where can a tent be added and where on the property?

Is there parking on site and in walking distance to the venue? How many parking spots and if not where can guests park? Is parking complimentary or valet?

Are pets allowed at the venue, are there any restrictions for children or guests under 21 years old?

Is the venue handicap accessible throughout?

Does this venue come with room accommodations and if so how many rooms can be booked by our guests. What is the attrition rate of those rooms, if any? If not, what are the best hotels to use in the area?

Is there a bridal suite and groom suite available and is it included in the rental fee? Is there enough space for your bridal party, a full length mirror and good lighting for hair and makeup?

Is there a list of preferred vendors and do those vendors have to be used? What time can vendors begin setup on wedding day and what time does everything need to be removed that evening?

Do you provide a coat check?

Are tables, linens and chairs available and is there any additional cost? Are there restrictions on décor, candles, confetti, sparklers? Can you move the existing décor? Is the dancefloor included? Bring your wedding planner to a venue tour so you can walk through the flow of the event and discuss the design. Even if the venue is a great value, if you have to spend a fortune on decorating, you may want to find a venue that doesn't need as much work.

Is there a sound system for the ceremony and reception? Will our officiant and entertainers need to bring a lavalier or any other equipment? Are there any noise restrictions?

Where are the best options to take photos on the property and surrounding areas? Is there a certain time of year or even time of day to get great photo opportunities?

Is there anything else we should know? A dog kennel next door that keeps their dogs outside barking on a Saturday? A nearby highway that get extra noisy on the weekends?

Collecting this information is important so that you can compare your favorite venues and find the best option for you. At your venue tour, you will want to talk through the best wedding flow and even what types of floral and rental décor you will want to add. This will give you a good sense of what is going to create a great experience for your guests, be reflective of your style and within your budget.

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