You're recently engaged, congratulations! Now you need to find a dedicated space to host your event. Whether it's a hotel ballroom, country club, or a garden there are definitely a few things YOU need to know before signing on the dotted line.
Pricing & Availability
Is my choice of date available? If not, are there surrounding dates that are available?
Pro tip: Try to visit venues before you’ve chosen an exact date. If you have a few options or a range of dates that might work, you’ll be more likely to secure a spot at the venue of your dreams!
How far in advance can I reserve my date?
What are rates for different days of the week and times? What about different seasons?
Is there a discount for booking an off season date?
How many weddings do you host in one day? On one weekend?
How many hours are included in the rental of the space? What do additional hours cost?
How much is the deposit? When is it due? Is it refundable?
Is there a payment schedule?
Pro tip: Most venues will have you pay a deposit upon signing the contract, and the balance in installments between the day you sign and your wedding date.
What is included in the total? Does it cover service charges, gratuity, and cleaning fees, or are those additional line items?
Pro tip: You may see a “++” on certain items on the bill. Called “plus plus,” that means you’ll be paying tax and gratuity on top of the listed cost.
What is the food & beverage cost on a per-person basis? What is the tax and service charge?
What is the cancellation policy?
When is the last possible date to make changes to our reservation?
Do you have a list of recommended vendors?
Do we have to use your approved vendors?
Do you have an in-house caterer or a list of "preferred" caterers, or do I need to provide my own? Even if there is an in-house caterer, do I have the option of using an outside caterer instead?
Is the site handicap accessible?
Are there noise restrictions?
Is parking available on-site? How much space is there? Will guests be charged for parking?
How many restrooms are there?
Do you provide a coat check service (especially important for winter weddings)? If not, is there an area that can be used and staffed for that purpose?
Does the venue have liability insurance?
What is the venues capacity?
Do you have your own sound equipment and speakers, or will those need to be rented or provided by the entertainment?
What is the backup plan for rain or inclement weather?
Are there any decor restrictions?
Pro tip: Ask about where and how things like lights and drapery can be hung, as well as whether you can use candles with an open flame or if you need to use LED candles instead.
When can vendors arrive for setup?
Will your staff be involved in setting up and breaking down the décor? In what capacity?
Is it possible to start the setup the day before?
How early can deliveries be made?
How much time will I have for décor setup?
Does the venue provide assistance getting gifts or décor back to a designated car, hotel room, etc. after the event has concluded?
Is there an outdoor space where my guests can mingle, and can it be heated and/or protected from the elements if necessary? Is there a separate indoor "socializing" space?
Are tables, linens, chairs, plates, silverware and glassware provided, or will I have to rent them myself or get them through my caterer?
Can we do a food tasting prior to finalizing our menu selection? If so, is there an additional charge?
Is there a food and drink minimum?
Do you offer on-site coordination? If so, what services are included and is there an additional charge for them?
Will the coordinator supervise day-of?
Who will be our point person on our wedding day?
Some More Tips:
If you really love the site, ask the venue representative to put together a proposal with all the pricing and policies—including the tax and service charge—so you have an idea of the basic cost.
GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. Your date is not officially reserved until you sign a contract and, in many cases, give a deposit—even if a site contact says you don't need to worry about it. Once you've found a venue you love, make sure you ask what is required to get your booking locked in and then follow through on satisfying those requirements. And don't assume that just because the site coordinator said you can have 4 votive candles per table you'll get them. Before you sign a contract, read the fine print and make sure it includes everything you and the site contact agreed on. As new things are added or changed in your contract, have the updated version printed out and signed by you and the site representative. Also, document all your conversations in emails and keep your correspondence.