10 Questions to Ask Before Booking Your Venue
words by | Eve Green
Your wedding venue sets the scene for your ceremony and reception. Before committing to a space, that usually requires a non-refundable deposit, make sure you ask all the right questions. As all that info can be overwhelming - be sure to take notes!
- Is my wedding date available?
Ensuring your wedding date is available is obviously the first step in securing a venue. If you are still early enough in your planning and are head over heels in love with a location, you may even consider changing your wedding date to secure your dream venue. If the venue is large, there is a good possibility that your wedding may not be the only event scheduled for that day. While this may not impact your celebration, it’s good to know in advance.
- Do the venues rates vary depending on day and time?
Many venues offer special rates for less popular times, days of the week, and peak dates. If a Friday evening wedding or a Sunday brunch reception sound appealing, choosing a non-traditional time and date may save thousands of dollars that could be put toward other wedding expenses, your honeymoon, or even a down payment on a new home! Alternatively, if you are planning your wedding to take place on a holiday weekend, check to see if higher rates will apply.
- How many guests does the venue hold?
The amount of guests your venue holds can have a huge impact on how many people you are able invite to your big day. If you’ve always dreamed of having a large wedding, finding a venue that can accommodate all your guests should be a top priority. Conversely, if a small, intimate ceremony is more your style, be sure the wedding party and guests won’t be rattling around in a too-large space.
- For an outdoor venue, is there a backup plan for rain?
Outdoor venues are frequently the most beautiful backdrops for wedding events. However, a solid backup plan for rain is essential. Don’t let the biggest day of your life be dampened by a downpour.
- Are there any restrictions I should know about?
Knowing the venue’s restrictions could make or break your decision to book there. Some venues have restriction on flash photography, noise, decorations, or lit candles. If you already have some of your vendors booked, like the photographer, DJ, or live band, you will need to coordinate with them to ensure they won’t be impeded by the venue’s restrictions.
- How much is the deposit, when is it required, and when is the final bill due?
Knowing your financial obligation is important. Read the fine print and ask questions so you are as clear as your wedding crystal on all financial details. Most venues and vendors require a deposit to book your wedding date. First be sure you know your entire financial obligation, along with when the final payment of your bill is due. Ask if the deposit is non-refundable, will be returned, or applied to your final bill.
- Do you provide a layout for us when making our guests seating chart?
Finding a venue that offers assistance in creating your seating chart can help simplify the process and save you a lot of time, effort and prevent frustration. We spoke with Leslie Bailey, general manager at The Pinnacle about how they handle seating charts with their couples. Leslie shared, “At The Pinnacle, we use an online event planning service called All Seated, which allows the couple to view a diagram of the room, upload their guest list, collect RSVP's, seat guests at tables on the diagram, and even create a timeline of their day, that they can then share with others involved in the planning.”
- Do you work with specific vendors and am I required to use those vendors?
Many venues have a preferred list of vendors with whom they work. If you have your own vendors in mind, find out if use of the venue’s preferred vendors is required. Keep in mind, however, that utilizing the venue’s preferred vendors could simplify some of the planning. In addition to preferred vendors, ask the venue representative whether they offers or require use of their in-house catering and alcohol services.
- Is there an on-site venue coordinator?
Having an on-site venue coordinator can be extremely helpful, especially for brides who haven’t employed a wedding or day-of coordinator. Venue coordinators are experts in planning events at their specific location and they will help guide you through the planning process. Most importantly, they will help coordinate your wedding day so everything runs smoothly.
- Is there a cancellation policy?
Before signing on the dotted line, it’s crucial to find out whether or not your venue has a cancellation policy. Life happens and it can be a relief to know you still have the option to cancel your event up to a certain date.
Asking all the right questions before booking your venue may leave you feeling overwhelmed when it comes time to choose the perfect place for your big day. It’s inevitable that more questions will pop up even after you have committed to a venue, but as long as the venue manager is helpful and responsive to your questions it’s likely you found the right place.