Are you trying to choose a wedding venue?
Booking your perfect wedding venue is one of the first and most important actions for a Bride and Groom. Asking the right questions when you visit helps you to avoid costly surprises. Jot down your answers for each venue and create a pros and cons list to compare sites. Make sure you take the time to properly look around and remember don’t be afraid to speak up!
- What is their availability, do they offer a discount for midweek/offseason and/or late bookings? Are your preferred dates free?
- Is there an in house wedding coordinator, how many planning meeting’s do you get and who will be there on the wedding day? How many staff members will be available etc?
- Is the venue exclusive and/or how many weddings are held in a day?
- Are there any changes planned to the building before the wedding (renovations, painting etc) or are any of the key staff planning to leave or holiday around the wedding time?
Ceremony and reception practicalities.
- What is the capacity for the ceremony, sit-down meal, reception and for additional evening guests of each separate area and which rooms are licensed to hold a ceremony?
- What are the times that you can hold the wedding ceremony? Once you have booked your wedding venue you’ll need to book your ceremony separately with the registrar. Knowing what ceremony times the venue can accommodate will make this easier. Are chairs and the registrar’s table provided?
- If it is a singular roomed building what is the changeover plan between ceremony and reception?
- Are there areas for the Bridal/Grooms party to get ready in the morning? Is their complementary accommodation for the Bride and Groom?
- Is there enough parking for all our guests, is this free, valeted and can guests leave cars overnight, if so when do they need to be collected?
- Does the venue have somewhere we can securely store our wedding gifts?
- Is the venue child friendly? What facilities are available for entertaining children?
- Is there a lift/facilities/access for the elderly and disabled?
- How many toilets are there? (You should have at least 10 toilets per 100 people.)
Food and drink.
- The venue may have recommended suppliers or in house catering, make sure you thoroughly look at the menu and drinks packages.
- If you are bringing a caterer in, will they have access to a kitchen, power, running water, etc?
- Are the packages flexible? Discuss all the choices, what is included i.e. are any toasts complimentary?
- What are the prices for children and do they cater for special dietary requirements i.e. Coeliacs? Vegetarians?
- Is a complimentary menu and wine tasting included?
- How much tea & coffee is included per person? (Important questions for grandparents!) Will there be water available on the tables?
- Does the venue have an alcohol license? Do they charge a corkage fee?
- Are there any additional charges for bar staff or waiting staff?
- What time are the canopies, wedding breakfast and evening meal served?
- Is the crockery/linen/cutlery/glassware provided as part of the package?
- What type of tables do you have (shape, size, top table)? Are there different layout options? Check chairs and tabled included.
- Is any décor/stationery provided (menus, centrepieces, cake stand and knife)? Are there alternatives available?
- What are your bar prices? And will guests be able to pay using card or is it cash only?
- How late will the bar be open and is there a charge for a bar extension? Discuss options and costs for a free bar.
- Who provided lunch to the staff?
- On the day of your wedding, your florist and those helping to get the venue ready will need access for setting up and for deliveries such as your cake. From what time will they have access?
- Does the venue have an events team who will lay out your table decorations and favours? If not what time can you start setting up and do you have access on the day before?
- Do they have any restrictions on decorations? Can things be moved around to suit your purposes?
- What kind of confetti does the venue allow, and will they charge you for the clean-up of afterwards?
- Is the lighting at the venue suitable for your photos? What areas are set for photography? Do they have an alternative space for photos/drinks for an outdoor reception in case it’s raining?
- Will the venue clear everything away after the wedding or will you need to organise this? When does this need to be done?
The sound of music.
- Does the venue have a public address system available for speeches?
- From when does the band have access to the venue, can they set up beforehand or is this done during changeover? What access is there for them? Are there any requirements (i.e public liability & PAT testing of his equipment)? Is there a sound limiter that the band/DJ need to be aware of?
- Does the wedding venue already own a sound system with adequate speakers or will that need to be rented? Can an iPod or laptop be hooked up to the sound system?
- Does anything have to be moved to create the dancefloor? Will the room need to be vacated for set up and what options do we have?
- How much will the initial deposit be and when is it due to secure the date? Is there a payment schedule? When do you need to make the final payment?
- Is VAT included in the total of the listed prices?
- Are there any extra charges for staff/cleaning/room hire that aren’t included in the price given to us? Can they provide a breakdown of all costs.
- Is there a payment schedule?
- Can the wedding venue confirm any arrangements in writing?
- Does the venue have public liability insurance? What are the policies and charges for breakages/spillage, fire regulations/evacuation etc.
- What’s the cancellation policy? What costs are incurred if the numbers on the day differ to the final numbers?
REMEMBER before you sign the contract, read it carefully!
Is anyone else planning a wedding? Can you think of any additional questions for venues? Is there anything that you needed to ask but didn’t?