One of the most exciting parts about wedding planning is touring venues and looking for your oh-so-perfect ceremony and/or reception location. But not so fast -- before you sign your life away, there are some important questions you should be asking the venue!
First and Foremost
First and foremost, ask them if your wedding date is available. The last thing you want to do is tour the venue (and fall absolutely in love with it) to find out your date is already booked. Sure, you can pick another date, but nobody likes to that, especially if you're already set on it. Another thing to consider is how many weddings they do in one day. Most venues can only accommodate one wedding per day, but there are some venues that have the capacity to host multiple weddings in one day, which really isn't all that ideal.
Now, on to the financials: Ask them how much it costs to rent out the venue (note that Fridays and Sundays are typically less expensive than a Saturday). Another thing to consider is the payment schedule and how much money is required up front to book the venue. Then, it's time to get into the nitty-gritty -- you'll definitely want to ask if there are hidden fees such as service charges, gratuities, cleaning fees and overtime charges. We all know that life happens, so it's important to ask what the cancellation policy is.
Logistics + Vendors
Regarding logistics and vendors, it's important to find out if they have a list of preferred vendors that they often work with. It's definitely a plus to hire a DJ who has been to this specific venue multiple times and knows his or her way around. On the other hand, it's possibly you may want to bring in your own DJ or photographer, so it's important to ask if you can bring in your own vendors as well. A few other things to consider is parking, on site restrooms, and if there is a coat rack/coat check available for guests to use throughout the day. One of the most important questions to ask is what is the earliest time your vendors can arrive on set for set up. While most venues allow your vendors to arrive as early as 9am, some venues are very strict on timing. We've seen some venues in particular that won't let their vendors in for set up until 1 or 2pm afternoon -- imagine if your ceremony is at 4pm! Also, find out what your on-site coordinator is capable of doing. This could include set-up/tear-down, overseeing vendors and so on, but be aware that sometimes it's important to hire a day of coordinator to help tackle some of these wedding tasks.
Food & Drinks
Finally, you'll want to find out if there is an in-house caterer or if you can select someone off-site. Also, be sure to inquire about alcohol. Some venues allow you to bring in your own alcohol, while others have a strict policy that you cannot do this. Other things to inquire about are corking fees and cake cutting fees (trust us, those can add up fast!)
For a full list of questions which we encourage you to print and bring with to your upcoming venue meeting(s), check out this great article from Here Comes the Guide.