Choosing Your Wedding Venue – Questions To Ask
You’ve been out viewing and choosing your wedding venue. The one you’ve got your heart set on is definitely the one and you’re over the moon! But wait! Have you asked all the pertinent questions to make sure it is absolutely the best for you? In an earlier post we looked at mistakes to avoid when planning your wedding, but choosing your wedding venue needed a post on its own. Ask the following questions to help you to avoid a costly mistake when choosing your venue.
This is one of the first questions you need to ask when choosing your wedding venue. If you are having a large wedding with 300 guests and the venue can only handle 100 guests then there’s a problem. You either choose another venue or you tailor your guest list to suit.
Is there a minimum number of guests? You may be having a wedding with just a handful of close friends and family totalling say 50 and find that the venue minimum is 75. Is paying for the extra 25 worth it?
Is there a dedicated event organiser or wedding planner? Is the person showing you around the venue that person? If not, can you meet them? It’s important when planning your wedding that you like and trust the people you’re going to be working with.
Many venues get booked up far in advance. So when choosing your wedding venue you may need to fit your date to the venue availability. Setting your date and choosing the wedding venue can be the hardest parts of the planning process.
Most weddings are on a Saturday. This is to allow as many guests to attend as possible if they are working during the week. However, venues are very often cheaper on days other than a Saturday. Additionally there are peak seasons for getting married. Late Spring, Summer and early Autumn are the most popular. The weather is more likely to be kind and the evenings are light for longer. Therefore a Saturday date during these months are likely to carry a premium. If you are struggling with budget then it’s worth considering a different day or month.
Entertainment and noise restrictions
What are the noise restrictions at the venue? At one wedding I attended there was a singer and a saxophonist. Every time they exceeded a certain decibel level the equipment cut out – the venue had a trip switch fitted to the power points used! Many venues have cut off times for music and entertainment. So when choosing your wedding venue this is an important question to have answered.
Is there enough room for your chosen entertainment? A DJ is likely to require less space than a band so this need to be considered when choosing your wedding venue.
Will yours be the only wedding happening at the venue on your chosen date? We all know that your chosen date is going to be chosen by hundreds or thousands of other brides throughout the country. No need to be a bridezilla about it, it’s gonna happen! But how do you feel about sharing your venue with one of them? If you’re not too bothered about bumping into another bride in the loos, etc., then ask if the venue hires additional staff to cover each event. You need to know that the staff can give their attention to your wedding.
Set up and break down timings
Leading on from exclusivity you need to know how early you or your venue dressing team can get in to set up the venue. And also how soon after the wedding celebrations you need to break down the venue dressing. This is an important factor to consider when choosing your wedding venue. If you’re sharing your venue it could mean that there are more restrictions on setting up and breaking down.
Paying for exclusivity
If the venue is unable to guarantee exclusivity and therefore your timings will be affected are you able to pay for exclusivity? Obviously the venue has to be perfect in every single way and be worth paying for to go down this route!
Decorating, vendors, catering and drink
Are there any restrictions on how you can decorate the venue? Are you allowed to use real candles?
Do you have to use the venues own or preferred vendors? I recently heard of a bride who was restricted to using the venues preferred decorating company. This was going to add a fair chunk onto her budget and she wanted to do her own decorating but was not allowed to.
Is there an in-house caterer that you are restricted to using? If not are you restricted to choosing from the venues preferred list? Are you restricted to having the venue supply the drink? You may well be able to bring in your own wine but check on the corkage fee per bottle. This can push the price of your cheaper bottles of wine over the price of having the venue supply it.
Payment, Cancellation and Changes
How much is the deposit and when is the balance due. Can you pay in installments? The deposit is normally due at the time of booking. There may well be a sliding scale of amount of money you will be liable for if you cancel between paying the deposit and the balance being due. For example: you pay a deposit in January for a September wedding with the balance being due in July. Something goes awry and you have to cancel in May. You may be liable to pay a proportion of the balance due to the fact that the venue has not been able to sell your date to another couple.
Along the same lines as cancellation policy, what is their policy on making changes to your wedding. For example a change in numbers or a change in date. There is likely to be a cut off date for making changes without charge.
How accessible is the venue for either elderly or disabled guests?
Parking for guests
Is there enough parking for your guests? How far will they have to walk from the furthest parking area? Is parking free?
Most hotels have plenty of toilet facilities. However if you’re having a different sort of venue you need to check what the arrangements are. For example if you’re hiring an outdoor venue space and putting up a marquee what are the arrangements? Are there permanent on site facilities or do you have to provide your own?