You’ve searched and searched for the perfect venue to host your wedding and you’re ready to put a deposit down – WAIT! You should have asked these questions, and if possible, have in writing, before you place a deposit. You’ll thank yourself down the road!
1. Are outside vendors allowed? For obvious reasons, this is very important as you will need to ensure that your photographer, DJ, caterer, rentals, etc. will be allowed.
2. What is the capacity? The capacity numbers are very important to know as it will determine if the venue is practical and will work with your guest list. Many alternative venues (private homes, museums, historic sites typically will limit your head count 125 people or less. Therefore, if you have a large guest list, these venues may not be suitable. At the same token, a beautiful grand room at a larger hotel may not work if your guest list is less then 100 people.
3. What are the rental costs and/or cost per person? Rental fees will vary significantly from site to site. For some hotels, they may waive the rental fee as they will charge a minimum food & beverage requirement. In some high-profile sites, they may charge you a flat fee just to rent the site. Be sure you understand what your venue is going to charge you and if possible, request it in writing. You can request a “Request for Proposal” (RFP) from the venue. If they are hesitant in providing, take that as a sign you should probably move on to the next.
4. What are the service charges, taxes & and other fees? To develop an accurate budget, it is very important to know the “hidden” costs of venue rentals. The service charges & taxes can account for as much as 5% of your total budget. In addition, be mindful of other charges such as cake-cutting fee, beverage corkage & overtime.
5. Are there any restrictions or special requirements? Some venues such as private country clubs, historic chapels and high-profile cathedrals may only allow those that belong to a certain association have the ability to rent the venue. Be sure to check out the “fine print” on their marketing materials.
6. How much time do you have for set-up? Last, you’ll want to confirm the amount of set up time available. You’ll need to know when vendors can come for set up, decor arrangements, table & seating arrangements, musicians, lighting and any other reception elements. Generally speaking, you should look for a setup time of no less then 4 hours. It is best to only work with venues that only schedule one event per day.
What have been some of the venues you have looked at? I would love to hear from you!
Until next time, happy planning!