So we are having a wedding. And my goodness a lot goes into it! I’ve decided on designating a whole section of the blog for wedding inspiration, planning and tips & tricks for other brides out there – our Rose Tinted Wedding. I have a whole year and a half until we get married but I plan to make good use of that time and make sure everything runs smoothly.
The first thing the cop and I decided we wanted to nail down was the venue. Yesterday I gave you an overview of the spaces we looked at, today I’ll give you a little information on some of the questions we asked. Some were obvious, but a few I’ll admit had never occurred to me (Cake cutting fees? Seriously that’s a thing?). What can I say – this is my first (and only) wedding! From trial and error I pulled together for my readers a list of things to ask your wedding venue before you book. Just a preliminary guide for you to use when you approach your wedding! Download the free printable below to add to your wedding planning binder!
Download the free printable here: Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue | Rose Tinted Home
Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue
Start with the basics….
- How many guests can you accommodate?
- What dates do you have available?
- What time can my wedding start at and run until?
- What other events might you schedule in this space that weekend?
- Do you hold dates?
- How much does it cost?
- What sort of deposit is required?
- What forms of payment do you accept?
Then get down to business….
- Do you have a facility director? Will that person be there the day of the wedding? A venue director is there to take care of any day of responsibilities. You want it to ideally be the same person you’ve been working with in the time leading up to the wedding, so that they know you and your family’s specific needs. Be sure to get a list of this person’s responsibilities and confirm their attendance before and at your wedding before you sign a contract.
- Can we do a tasting prior to finalizing the menu selection? If so, how many people can attend and is there a charge? I don’t know about you – but I tend to remember 3 things about the weddings I attend. The space. The food and drink. The music. Sometimes I remember other things that really stand out (a fabulous bridal gown, those out of this world (and out of my budget) centerpieces, an amazing dessert display – but for the most part those are the things your guests care about. Needless to say the food is pretty important to me. I really don’t want to be serving my guests bad banquet chicken. Do a little research on menu options and be sure you like what you are getting ahead of time.
- Can I bring in a cake from an outside bakery? Is there a cutting fee? Can we bring in end of the night food/snacks from an outside vendor?
- How early can we get to the site to set up? If you are bringing a multitude of accessories and decor items, it may help to know when you can drop those items off and when they will be set up in advance. That way you can include those times in your wedding week itinerary and delegate tasks as necessary.
- Are you allowed to bring in table wine? If so what is the corkage fee? For my sister’s wedding, they saved money by bringing in their own table wine for each table during dinner. Given that the cop’s father imports wine, I thought it would be a nice touch if we could bring in our own wine for dinner. Be sure to ask about this in advance for planning.
- What is the server/table ratio? How long does it take for your staff to serve dinner to 200-250 guests? How does your staff dress for the reception? Make sure there are enough wait staff/bartenders/set up people to keep things running smoothly and on time. Also it doesn’t hurt to ask how their staff will be dressed. If you are having a black tie wedding you don’t want the wait staff to be in polo shirts and khakis.
- What chairs/silverware/plates/linens will be included or available? Are there any options that come with extra fees? Do you have any decorations you make available to your wedding parties? I tend to always spot an upgrade and want it. Knowing me I’ll want the more expensive chair option, the more expensive linen option, the better china option. Venues charge more for those options because of people like me. Now if only I could afford all of those upgrades.
- What is the parking situation? Do you offer valet? What is the fee? Some of your out of town guests may take taxi cabs or use the transportation you provide, but many of your local guests will have their own cars. If your wedding is a downtown location, be sure to inquire about parking ahead of time. Some charge by car, some charge by guests (i.e. even if 5 people arrive in 1 car they charge by the person).
- Is there a private bridal party room or bathroom? Some venues have a private bathroom or room set to the side for the bride to use. I’ve been in multiple weddings that offer this and it really is a nice feature. You’ll find that after hair and makeup around 9 or 10 am, pictures with the bridal party, the church ceremony, then pictures as a couple, you’ll want some time and privacy to freshen up. Once I went to a wedding and the bride was in the bathroom in the middle of the reception having a guest curl her hair. It was simply awkward. I’m sure she would have appreciated being able to do that in private (also a reason why you should wear your hair up – who wants to have to touch up their hair during their reception?)
- How many restrooms are there? Will we share the restrooms with another event? Rule of thumb: There should be 2 restroom facilities per every 50 guests. Find out who else will be using the facilities, if anyone, and decide if that is something that bothers you.
- Who is responsible for setting up and tearing down the decor, and when will it be completed? The last thing I want to worry about (or make my family worry about) the night of the wedding is taking down all of the decorations and packing them up. Check to see if there is anyone at the facility that will take charge of this.
- At what time do my guests need to leave the facility? Beware hidden fees – some venues charge a fee if guests linger after the close of the wedding.
- Are there any additional costs-cleaning fees, overtime fee, insurance-fee waivers, etc.? Get it all in writing ahead of time so that there are no surprises.
Other questions you may want to consider if they apply to you….
- For a fall/winter wedding: Do you have a coat check?
- For an outdoor wedding: What is the rain plan? Are there noise restrictions?
- For guests who may need accommodations: Is it handicap accessible? Do you offer vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free menu options?
- For weddings in a museum or historic building: What are the restrictions on photography or decorations? Can we have open flames? Are there extra insurance fees?
- If you have a band: Where would the band set up? Do you provide any sound system or lighting or would they need to bring their own equipment
I hope this is helpful to any of you planning a wedding! Let me know if you’ve had an experience where other questions came up!