So many things are happening – you’re engaged, calling vendors, taste-testing desserts, searching for a dress and a million and one other things. It’s exhausting. So exhausting, in fact, that there may be a few important details you’ve missed. It is no fun when it’s the day of your wedding and things start to not add up. You’re in love with the venue, but soon realize you forgot to ask about handicap accessibility for Great Aunt Georgina, and now she can’t easily make it to the reception site. It starts to rain, and your venue doesn’t have a contingency plan for bad weather. Another case of Murphy’s Law; anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Foresight isn’t always around when you need it, unfortunately. This is why it is crucial that you speak with your venue openly and as thoroughly as possible. We’ve put together some important questions or topics to address with your venue beforehand – leave no stone unturned and your day will go much more smoothly! Believe us, these are just a few suggestions to get you started.
Is there an in-House caterer / bar-tending service?
Be sure to inquire about cost-basis of food & beverage (per-person, etc.). If there is in-house catering/bartending that you don’t love, still inquire if you can bring in outside vendors, and if the necessary facilities will be available for them (if not using in-house).
Can outside vendors be brought in?
If not, you should ask if the venue has a list of preferred vendors.
What time can vendors begin setting up on the day of the wedding?
Ask how early deliveries can be made, or if they can be made the day before. Also ask how much time is allowed for décor setup, and if the venue provides assistance cleaning up or loading after the event.
FACILITY SPACE-SPECIFIC DETAILS & POLICIES
Can we have a full / thorough tour of the facilities?
It never hurts to see EVERYTHING all at once. Plus, you can bring this handy list of questions to check off during your visit.
What dates are available in the month I’m considering?
Ask if they have more than one wedding booked around that time, so you are sure you get the attention your day deserves. Also, ask about any renovations/construction/seasonal changes that may occur leading up to your wedding date.
What extra amenities are available (and is there cost associated)?
Ask if chairs, tables, linens are available from the venue. Also, ask about any extra areas (gazebos, pavilions, etc.) that might be available for your use, and if there is cost associated.
Are there any restrictions or guidelines for décor?
Some facilities have restrictions on the type of décor and placement/installation of these items or areas. Can you use real candles? Does the venue decorate itself for holidays already? Don’t forget to ask about power outlet locations, too.
How is the venue accessibility?
This includes many things; parking availability, handicap accessibility, access for taxis/shuttles, restroom facilities or if valet parking is offered.
Do you have a contingency plan for outdoor spaces?
This is HUGE, especially with the unpredictable Texas weather. Be sure to thoroughly go through any contingency options for inclement weather (hot, cold, rain or shine).
Do you offer on-site coordination?
Ask what services are included, if they offer day-of coordination and at what cost. This service can increase your chances for a stress-free day!
How long will I have use of the event space(s) I reserve?
Every venue is different. Ask if there is an overtime fee for staying longer and what the minimum/maximum rental time frame is.
Are there restrictions on music?
Meaning; noise restrictions, type of music and whether or not the venue can accommodate a DJ or live band.
Is security provided?
Inquire if the venue has security on staff, or if you need to provide your own.
Is there a coat check service, or designated area for guest’s personal items?
Guests will need a place to pile all of their belongings. Ask about a coat check service, or if there is an area you can use for that purpose.
Can we provide our own alcohol?
You should ask what type of alcohol you can bring, if permitted. If you cannot provide your own, ask if the venue is licensed to provide alcohol service and how the alcohol/service is priced (per person, by consumption, extra charge for bar staff, etc.).
What overnight accommodations do you provide, if any?
Some facilities offer discounts for booking multiple rooms, if available. Also ask what the nearest hotels are to the venue if lodging is not available on-site.
Can I hold my ceremony here, too?
Some venues are reception, only. Ask if you can hold your ceremony on the same site, and at what cost. Is the ceremony site close to the reception site? Is there a bridal changing area? How much time is allotted for the rehearsal?
COSTS / INSURANCE
What is the rental fee and what is included in the price (total bill amount)?
Ask about deposits, due dates for payments and whether any form of payment is refundable. Be sure to have them include EVERYTHING in the invoice (catering, discounts for off-season dates or Sunday-Friday, or any other additional taxes or service fees).
What is the cancellation policy and what insurance is available?
Ask the venue if there is a cancellation policy or if postponement insurance is available – in case of bad weather or other misfortunes. Some venues also offer liability insurance.