My best friend Cali and I got together to put this fantastic list of questions together to help and prep you in your search to find the BEST possible venue!
How many events do you host a day?
Some venues host more than one wedding/event a day. If you are having a brunch wedding, it is possible there could be an event planned shortly after you or worse, there could be two weddings going on at the same time! Knowing this is important for your vendors as well. Having to pick up items up after business hours is an extra expense. Discussing load in/out times with a venue can help save extra delivery fees with vendors, if they are flexible.
What’s the maximum number of guests you can accommodate?
Someone should be able to tell you how many people the venue seats comfortably, and what the maximum number of people is based on fire code.
What’s the site fee? And what does that include?
Some venues will charge you $2,000 just for the space; others will include tables, chairs, and table linens. Don’t assume anything’s included. Ask! At some venues, you even have to rent portable bathroom stalls!
Does anything we’ve seen today cost extra?
I was showed around my future venue (large estate) and was told certain space was available. Keyword “available.” When the signing of the contract came, I learned that to have the side patio and the gorgeous courtyard I had to rent both areas in addition to the main room!
Is there a space for me to get ready?
Lots of venues have a special room for the bride and her entourage: Bridal Suites. These can be very handy for hair, makeup and photographing the whole experience. Groom Suites can be found too! That way your man and his buddies have a place to congregate and “behave” in.
Can we bring in our own booze?
You’ll save a ton of money if you BYO. Some places require a licensed bar tender and/or ask the caterer to supply the alcohol. At my venue I can’t allow shots to be done. Strange, I know.
Are there any areas we won’t have access to?
My venue for example is a large property, but I am only renting out the “Fireside Main Room”, whereas I could have added the courtyard and gazebo for an additional cost.
Will all our guests have parking?
If every family you have invited drives a vehicle, will there be enough parking?
Is there a day-of coordinator?
Will there be someone to promise that the tablecloths will be white and the napkins will be periwinkle and there will be a table with purple cloth for your guest book—or whatever—it’s best if there’s someone from the venue on the day of your wedding to make sure all the little details fall into place. This is a very important person! Believe it or not, something WILL go wrong, but when it does this person is there so that you won’t even notice it.
How many hours do you allow a party to be here?
A five-hour wedding is pretty standard. Some venues will charge by the hour if you want a longer party. You might have to clear out to make room for another wedding, or their policy might be to close shop at a certain time or cut the DJ at a certain time. If your wedding ends at 11pm and the rentals have to be picked up that same evening, costs get higher the later the reception ends. If the venue will allow items to be picked up the next morning, it’s much easier on your rental company and caterer.
Is there a noise ordinance we should be aware of?
Knowing if the music must be cut off by 10:30pm plays a huge role in the timeline of your celebrations.
Can we choose the vendors, or do you work exclusively with a certain set?
Preferred vendors are a polite way of saying “these are the vendors we WANT you to use.” Most places charge a deposit for not using the “preferred vendor” but I have found that getting a quote that comes in lower than who they suggest can open the door for compromise.
Are we allowed to bring in decorations? Candles?
In Colorado, outdoor and mountain venues will not allow any open flame, but some allow candles in certain votives…ASK! You can always ask about decorations they may have, either for the venue or left over? Hey! Ya never know!
Ask as many questions as you want! Bring a pen and paper, and before signing a contract get it in WRITING!
Next week: My 8month out update.
“Good plans shape good decisions. That’s why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true” ~Geoffrey Fisher