5 Major Questions You Should Ask The Venue Before Booking Your Wedding
Updated: Apr 13, 2020
Finding the perfect venue for your wedding can be challenging and time consuming especially when you aren't sure what to ask or what to look for. These 5 questions that everyone should ask when searching for their wedding venue are a great place to start in your journey to finding the perfect spot.
1. What items can we provide ourselves, what items does the venue provide and what items need to be rented?
It's always a good idea to get a sense of what the venue provides, what needs to be rented and by who. It's also important to know what items you are welcome to bring yourself. The ability to bring your own items like alcohol and dessert, for example, are a great way to save money. You also want to know what items the venue will provide, such as chairs and linens, or what type of audio visual equipment is already part of the venue (may eliminate the need to rent speakers). Finding out what items will need to be rented also helps to keep info organized and may be the deciding factor in what you serve. For example, knowing if your venue comes equipped with an oven is a pretty big deal. It's the difference between actually cooking items onsite, versus warming them up with a rented warming oven. You basically want to know who is doing what, so that you know who to direct your requests to.
2. What is the flow like?
This is a key question when narrowing down your venue choices. You will want to know things like where the kitchen is in proximity to where the dinner will be taking place, or where the washrooms are located and how many are there (and will they be enough for the number of guests you will have). From the moment your guests arrive for your wedding, you should know specific details about the venue. For example, where do they park, once in the venue where do they drop off their gifts, where do guests hang their coats, or get a drink? Imagine choosing a venue with washrooms located down a flight of stairs, or where the bar is located outside the main dining area. These would not be ideal in terms of ease and comfort. We recommend taking a full walk through of your venue like you are a guest attending a wedding, in order to see how well the flow works, and to ensure a seamless experience for yourself and your guests.
3. Is there a place for me to put my stuff?
The bridal suite is one of the most important things that you will want to look for in a venue. A bridal suite with its own washroom, even better! Your wedding day is going to be one of the most hectic and overwhelming experiences of your life. Throughout the day and night you are going to want a place where you can retreat to take a deep breath every once in a while. The ideal bridal suite should be lockable with a key only you, or your planner will hold. The bridal suite should be spacious enough to hold your wedding party, it should have its own washroom, and it should be safe to lock up valuables. Obviously not every bridal suite will come equipped with all of these things, but at the very least there should be easy and close access to a washroom, and there should be a safe. In the event you choose an unconventional venue (like the middle of a forest, or a farm) a bridal suite can always be created with a pop up tent and drapery. The point is, on the day of your wedding, a little space to take a breather every once in a while will go a long way in making your special day easier.
4. Who are the preferred and exclusive vendors?
This is perhaps one of the most important questions that you will want to ask your venue before you even consider hosting your wedding there. So whats the difference between a preferred vendor, versus an exclusive vendor. Preferred vendors are suggested vendors which the venue will push you to use, but you are not obligated to use. Preferred vendors can be anything from florists, to rental to companies, and usually have some knowledge of what it is like to work within the venue - which is a bonus (be sure to ask any preferred vendors if they have done work in said venue before). Exclusive vendors are vendors who must be used, or hired, and usually consist of audio visual providers and caterers. The positive aspect to having to use an exclusive vendor is that they will have experience working in the venue and will know what works best given the landscape. The negative is that you will not be able to use who you want to use, and therefore, you could be sacrificing on the overall experience of your wedding. One thing to look out for is a "Landmark Fee". Some venues will charge a 10%-15% surcharge on the total catering or audio visual bill, for example, to use a vendor that is not deemed exclusive by the venue. You will be able to use your own vendors, but it might cost you.
5. What is the venue's hold policy, cancellation policy and deposit requirement?
After you've done your due diligence in asking all the right questions and have taken a thorough look at your venue, you will then want to know what the availability is like. Let's say there are 3 dates that you are mulling over for the wedding, and you need a little more time to decide which date you want. Ask the venue what their hold policy is, and for how long you can hold a date or two. Some venues will let you hold dates until someone else wants it, at which point you will usually get 48 hours to place a deposit, or release the date. It's always a good idea to take a look at the venue's contract before you place any deposits if you are being challenged on a date. The venue contract should lay out things like exclusive vendor relationships, cancellation policies, deposit schedules, and venue rules. Regarding deposits, most venues will charge anywhere from 25% to 50% for the initial deposit with the remainder due no later than 1 week before the event, or on the day of the event. Please note that you will be hard pressed to find any venue, or vendor who will take payment after services have been rendered.
Good luck with your search for the perfect wedding venue! If you have any questions related to this post or any of our other posts, please comment below or drop us an email. It is our pleasure to help you on your wedding journey!