Finding the perfect location for your big day is generally top of the to-do list when it comes to planning a wedding, but it's easy to be so overwhelmed by the beauty of a new space that you miss out on all the important details during the initial tour. Rather than waiting until it's time to sign the contract to read the fine print, asking questions of the venue representative on day one will keep you informed and help avoid unwanted surprises down the line.
What is your rain contingency plan?
Everyone loves an outdoor wedding, but if the weather report is less than ideal, it's crucial to have a backup plan. A little rain shouldn't ruin your big day--even if an outdoor site is your preference, make sure the venue has an indoor space that you'd be satisfied with in the case of a rainstorm. By the way, a little rain on your wedding day is considered good luck!
Do you have a food and beverage minimum?
This is an important question to ask if the food is being made in-house. Many brochures and pricing sheets, affordable as they may seem, conveniently forget to mention that the venue's contract requires that you spend a specific amount. This can be a game-changer for a smaller guest list or a tight budget.
Will taxes or service fees be added to the cost?
Taxes and service fees can add up quickly, so it is crucial to find out whether they are included in the rental cost or will be listed as additional fees. Even if a service fee is added, keep in mind that it usually covers administrative fees or hourly wages and does not count as a gratuity for the staff.
Do you have a required vendors list?
Many venues prefer to work with vendors they know, so they require that couples choose from their pre-selected list. Hiring vendors that are familiar with the space can be beneficial to the overall flow of the event, but if you'd like the freedom to look elsewhere, you may need to choose a venue that does not restrict vendors to their chosen few.
Does the venue have liability insurance, or do you require us to obtain our own?
All venues should have an insurance policy, but many require that couples obtain their own day-of liability insurance. Generally, this can be easily obtained online from one of many event insurance providers and will run in the $100-300 range.
What is the time slot, and does it include set up and clean up time?
This one may seem fairly straightforward, but keep in mind that vendors will need ample time for load-in and set up, and the wedding party will need time for hair, makeup, and getting dressed. Venues that only allow for a six or seven-hour time slot will likely require that hair and makeup happen off-site.
Am I able to schedule a food tasting, and if so, is there a charge?
Ask any married couple what they loved about wedding planning and the tasting is likely to be at the top of the list. Sampling potential food options will help you decide what goes on the wedding menu--and it's fun! If your venue includes catering in-house, ask about the tasting process before signing the contract. Many venues will include a complimentary food tasting a few months prior to the big day. If you want to taste the food before booking, it is possible that you will have to pay a fee.
Are we able to access the venue the day before for a rehearsal?
Many venues will allow time for a short run-through of the ceremony in the days leading up to the wedding. Holding a rehearsal at the venue will give your officiant, family members, and wedding party the chance to become familiar with the space and know exactly what to expect on the big day. Practicing the entrance and exit as well as knowing where to stand can help ease day-of jitters for everyone.
What is your policy on cancellations and postponements?
This is a question no one likes to think about, but it is important to be prepared for anything, especially when planning a wedding during an ongoing pandemic. Asking upfront questions about what would happen in the worst-case scenario will help avoid confusion down the line.
Planning a wedding is all in the details, but sometimes it's hard to know the right questions to ask. Opening a dialogue with the venue representative will help narrow down the search by giving you a sense of whether or not the space fits into your overall vision for your day. Once a venue is booked, all of the other details will start to fall into place. Enjoy!