Questions to ask your venue before you book

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Choosing a venue might be one of the single most important decisions you make in wedding planning, and it’s often one of your first. The rules and procedures of your venue will strongly influence how your vendors can bring your vision to life. Before you book, be sure to ask these questions.

Will there be any other events (weddings or otherwise) on my wedding day in the space(s) I’m reserving for my reception or is my event the only one taking place? How many events do you book per day and per weekend? These are really critical questions to ask because the answer will impact your set up timing, how your vendors are able to bring your design to life, their labor costs, etc. If you’re having an outdoor event, when deliveries need to be staggered over the course of a few days (i.e. your tent would come in on a Thursday or Friday, while your rentals would come in on Friday afternoon/Saturday morning), be sure to ask if there are any events prior to yours than will impact delivery windows and be sure to ask if there is an up-charge for early or multi day set up. Obviously so early in planning you may have no idea what the set up requirements of your event will be, but it’s important to ask in case you need the time. Be aware that some venues book a space two times per day during busy season. For example, there may be an 11 o’clock booking and a 4 o’clock booking, with a standard two hour set up window allowed for each. You don’t want to sign a contract that limits you to two hours of set up if you’re envisioning a great deal of customization in your event design. Likewise, you will want to know if other events or activities will be taking place on the property that could impact your event parking, load in and load out, etc.

When will my vendors be able to access the space to set up? Does your venue have any restrictions on set up (i.e. three hours prior to event) or are they flexible? Do they charge an additional fee if you access the space prior to a certain time?

Do you have a preferred vendor list? Am I required to work from that list or may I bring in my own vendors? Some venues have preferred or exclusive agreements with vendors and will suggest or require you to work with only those on that list. If you go off the list, there can be an up charge. Ask if it’s possible to go off that list and if there is a fee to do so.

What is included in the rental fee? If catering is included in the rental fee, inquire about minimums and ask for a sample quote. Does the venue offer tables, chairs? If they offer linens, what do they look like? What sort of existing lighting, power and facilities are available on site? How many people can the venue comfortably accommodate?

Are there any restrictions I should be aware of? Does the venue observe a noise ordinance? Are candles allowed? Can you bring in your own alcohol should you wish? Any other decor restrictions?

And finally: Do you require we have an insurance policy? Do you require a security damage deposit? May I see a sample contract? Will the venue undergo any changes or renovations prior to my wedding date?

photo patricia lyons 

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