Wedding Venue Finding Made Easy
The location in which you say and celebrate your “I Do’s” is an important choice. It will be host to an incredible, beautiful moment that clearly marks the beginning of a new chapter.
It is understandable that bridal couples do not take choosing a venue lightly and choices of where to marry are plentiful. Apart from the lucky few who have wanted for years to tie the knot at their local church or have their heart set on the golf and country club down the road, for other couples it can prove an even tougher decision than initially thought. After all, the location not only needs feel right and meet a checklist of expectations, it needs to be right financially.
Here are few pointers of what to ask your venue that may help with that difficult decision.
For the more unusual wedding settings such as museums, parks, gardens, woodland settings, theatres or historical buildings, to name but a few, it is always a good idea to ask if the venue has been host to a wedding before. This will give you a good idea as to how prepared they will be and if they work with any local wedding suppliers.
Always ask to see photos of other weddings or events and make full use of any in-house wedding planning service offered. Photos of previous events may give you some great ideas for your own, while on site wedding coordinators are your venue experts. They know what works, what can or can’t be done and what the possibilities are for your wedding. They will offer great planning advice, creative suggestions and are often in contract with fabulous local suppliers, so if they can’t provide something, they know someone who can.
Generally venues that serve alcohol regularly will not require you to obtain an alcohol license but it cost to double check. This is particularly important if you are bringing in caterers. Outdoor spaces may also have very different licensing restrictions to the bar areas and additional permits may be required for events that are likely to continue into ‘after hours’ or early morning. It is always better being safe than sorry.
If you are having a large party with live music and lots of guests, don’t forget to ask about cut off times and noise level limits. You don’t want to have to turn the music down at midnight if the party only just got going.
Of course you have discussed wedding packages but it is also worth noting what the deposit is to book the venue and if there a corkage fee if you or someone else brings a special bottle of bubbly. For open bar services, check pricing structure for both regular and premium brands and ask if cocktails and shots are included or if these will incur an additional fee. It is best having all the cards on the table so you don’t get caught out later on.
Vendors / Supplies
Ensure that you always get a quote ahead of time and double check it includes set up and breakdown costs. You don’t want any surprises at the end of the night.
Ask if it is ok to provide your own suppliers or is there a preferred vendor list. Some venues will be able to supply a range of services and offer great in-house deals but it is worth weighing up all your options.
Does the venue offer menu tastings and are these complimentary or is there a charge as for some venues, it may depend on the number of wedding – don’t just assume. Also investigate what kind of provisions they have for vegetarian, gluten free and specific allergy requirements. For those eco-friendly brides, you may also want to ask about sustainable and locally sourced food. The Chef should be able to put your mind at rest without any problem.
If you have planned to bring in your own caterers, ask from the very first visit if this is something the venue will allow. If they do, is there a kitchen or set-up area they can use or does this also need to be arranged. Finding out as much information as far in advance as possible will help your caterers know that to prepare for. It may be that they will have to do a site inspection of their own.
Some venues automatically offer exclusivity….others, however, do not and there could be a minimum number of guests required. If you do not wish to pay this minimum fee, ask if arrangements can be made for as much privacy as possible. If you don’t get the entire venue, ask which areas do you get exclusive use of and is there a separate entrance.
Always ask a venue how well equipped they are for live music or a DJ. Most entertainment vendors will bring their own equipment but it is important to note on their behalf if there is sufficient room for them to set up and where the location of the power points are, especially if it is an outdoor location. Don’t forget to also ask if there is an additional fee if the reception goes over a certain time and as previously mentioned, if there are any volume restrictions.
Stages and Dance Floors
If your venue of choice doesn’t offer an in-built stage or dance floor area, ask if they provide one and what the pricing structure for that is. If you are required to source your own, do your homework first. Dance floor hire along with transportation, set-up, breakdown and lighting equipment can significantly weigh on your budget.
If a venue permits open flames such as candles, is a question that regularly goes unasked. It would be slightly strange that it wouldn’t but you never know and it doesn’t hurt to find out.
Always check if there are any decor limitations. You might have your heart set on draped walls and fairy lights but if the venue simply doesn’t allow it or isn’t equipped for this kind of set-up, you will either have to find one that does or bring in a wedding stylist.