While on the surface all venues appear the same as the saying goes ... The devil is in the detail. We all have heard stories of friends who only found out about nasty hidden costs associated with their venue only a few days before their wedding when they have little choice but to bite the bullet and pay the additional changes.
To make sure that you do not find yourself in this predicament we have put together a list of useful questions which should cover most scenarios whether you are looking for solely a reception space, or a combined ceremony and reception space or a venue for a weekend filled with activities.
As wedding planners, this is the level of detail we bring to every event to ensure you both know at the outset what costs are associated with your bug day. Another top tip we have for you is to make sure you confirm the answers to your questions in writing with your chosen venue. This will be your safety net if the venue changes their policies on some items closer to your big day.
While this list may seem extensive and somewhat unnecessary our advice and experience would be that not all venues are the same so best not to make assumptions.
So here it goes:
Do you have availability around our chosen date?
Are there different rates for mid-week and weekends? Can you explain these to us?
Are there any other events being held in the venue on this date? Or the day preceding and subsequent day?
What is the venue capacity? For accommodation and a seated meal?
Is it possible to hire the venue exclusively? If so, what is the minimum number of days for this?
Is there a minimum spend on catering or the bar?
Is there a venue hire fee or is this included in the rate per head?
Is there a wedding package you can offer us and if so what is included?
Can we mix and match from the packages or is it an a la carte option?
Are there different accommodation or marquee options we can choose from?
Is it possible to hold our ceremony on site too? Do you have a licence to offer this?
Can you explain the deposit/payment terms to us and advise on the cancellation policy?
Please confirm public liability insurance is in place?
How many weddings on average do you hold per year?
What options are available to us for a welcome/rehearsal dinner and a second day barbeque?
What is the last possible date that changes can be made to our booking?
How long have you worked with the venue?
Is catering available or do we need to organise our own catering services? Is there a charge for this?
Are there specific caters you work with?
What facilities are available for outside caterers in terms of kitchen facilities, tableware etc?
Can you cater for special dietary requirements?
Is a tasting menu available?
Can you confirm you have a liquor licence and what hours does this allows you to operate?
Is there a minimum spend in your bar?
Do you offer an open bar option?
Can you share your bar menu prices?
How long does the bar stay open? Can this be extended and what is the charge?
If we want to bring our own alcohol is this possible? Is there a corkage charge and what is it?
Where do you hold the cocktail reception?
Are there WC facilities adjoining the cocktail area?
Do you have a charge for bringing our own cake?
What are the beverage and drink spend obligations and what charges apply if not met?
What accommodation is available on site? Can you provide details?
Is the bridal suite included in the venue hire cost?
If accommodation is not available is there a room on site for the bride to prepare in before the ceremony?
Can you confirm availability for the accommodation for the night before?
Is there a special rate for rooms for guests or family members and is it possible to block book some?
Can you confirm accessibility for elderly or disabled guests?
What baby changing facilities are available?
Where is the smoking area?
Is parking available at the venue for our guests? Is there a charge for this?
Is there an additional charge for staff? Generally speaking, what level of staff do you provide?
Is there a service charge applied?
Who is the general manager or on site coordinator we will deal with on the day?
Can you explain the turnaround process and timing from the ceremony to the reception to dancing?
What AV, microphones or sound system is available to us and what is the charge for this?
When will we have access to the room for dressing it?
How will outside vendors access the room to dress it, is there a special area for them to park close to the venue? How early can they come to set up/remove the items?
Can we use our own outside vendors or are there specific vendors we must work with?
Are there any music restrictions?
What tables and chairs are available or do we need to organise our own? Will they be dressed?
What are the table arrangements? Round, long, number of people, location of top table etc?
Do you have a list of other items we would be allowed use to dress the room such as candle arbours, vases, candles, lighting etc?
Where can additional lighting, material, dressing items be hung from?
What lighting to you have at night?
We hope to have a fireworks display, ice cream van or kids activities is this possible?
Can you show where the dancing takes place and what space is available for the band?
Are there any decoration restrictions, in particular around the use of candles?
At what time will our guests have to leave the venue?
So there you have it our list of questions for your venue, if you are still feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the whole process please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss our services in more detail.