Post # 1
Hi bees, I could use some help from some women who have been-there, done-that.
On Monday, my FH and I are going to (officially) start the wedding planning process. We have appointments at a few possible reception locations. Because this is our first time out, I am not sure what to expect. We plan to visit several venues, narrow it down, and then take my parents out to see our top choices. But I want to be as thorough as possible the first time. So….what questions should we ask while we are there/what information is important to know in determining your reception location?
A few background details on our wedding: We are still about two years out (we are aiming for a date in July 2011) and we don’t have the guest list completely figured out yet, but we estimate it being between 150 and 200 people.
I’d love to know what BIG and SMALL questions we should be asking! Thanks so much!
Post # 3
FI and I went to 5 venues before we chose "the one". I found that one of the first things they will ask you is how many people you’re expecting or inviting, so that’s something to keep in mind. For the places we went to, they all started out by taking us on a tour while describing all the details, and then we’d sit down with them after to talk numbers. For the most part our questions were answered during the tour but here are some questions we did ask:
-what is your maximum capacity
-how many weddings do you have at one time
-is there a coordinator available to help or do i have to hire one separately
-when they discuss pricing, we needed to ask about the cost of children
– also when discussing pricing,if we were remotely interested in the place we’d ask what we could take away or omit in order to cut costs, and also what dates would be less expensive
-do we need to use any specific vendors (some won’t let you use outside ones)
Hope this helps! I’d also suggest bringing a camera, it definitely is helping me with my planning.
Post # 4
Find out all the extra fees…ie cake cutting, equipment usage, ceremony onsite fee etc. Find out if they insist on select vendors or if you can use whoever you want. Find out if you have to set up/take down the same day or if you have extra time, if there’s a safe onsite to store your cards/envelopes, check out the bridal suite. Good luck!
Post # 5
Tippy and sparkle, those are great ideas! I wouldn’t have thought to bring a camera or ask about a bridal suite or a few of the other things you mentioned.
What else do people find to be invaluable information when deciding such an important factor of the wedding??
Post # 6
Gemstone, try googling the venues you’re considering for reviews. And also see how willing they are to create a menu for you or to deviate from their standard menus in case of special needs i.e. diabetic guests.
Post # 7
Ask if there is a food/drink minimum,
If you can bring your own alcohol and if so, is there a corkage fee or can you bring your own bartender too,
If they require a security officer to be on site (a lot of places in Atlanta do, at your cost)
Do they have tables/chairs/linens, anything you can use and if so if it’s free or $$$,
Ask if you can come see a wedding in action or being set up. A lot of venues will let you do this.
Post # 8
- Wedding: October 2009 - Ceremony: The Kraine Theatre, Reception: Midtown Loft & Terrace
One of the big questions we always made sure to ask was what their policy on candles was. A lot of the places we saw didn’t allow open flames and that was a deal-breaker for us!
Also find out what hours you’ll have available to you. For us, we only have 10 hours. Period.
The other ladies have made really great suggestions, too.
Post # 9
- Wedding: July 2010 - The Tower Club
Bring your camera!
Also, I found it was helpful to look for photos of weddings that had happened at the venues I’d chosen. Seeing them in the context of a wedding was really helpful. You can google it; most often I’d find them on local photographers’ websites.
I found a list of questions here and another one here.
Post # 10
If your venue has a food/drink minimum, find out what goes toward meeting that minimum. For example, my venue allows any linen or chair upgrades and the ceremony fee to be applied in meeting the minimum.
Post # 11
Things to ask about:
1. If there is gratuity involved? Sales tax?
2. Bartender fee?
3. Cost for open bar vs. cash bar. Champagne toast included with meal?
4. Who will be there on the day of the event? Director of Catering? Coordinator you are signing contract with?
5. Cost of food. Plated cost vs. buffet.
6. Do they have packaged deals for Hors D’Oeuvres? Will it be cheaper to get a cheese platter or vegetable platter?
7. Cost of doing morning vs. evening dinner. Will it be cheaper if done on a Friday or Sunday?
8. Cost minimum to have the room fee waived.
9. Number of weddings on-site on any given Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
10. Venue deposit fee?
11. Discounts for relatives that fly in from out of town (if you are doing your wedding in a hotel).
** I got free premium open bar for having mine on Sunday morning. It may be early but I got my ceremony fee for almost half price, free valet parking, half price on all food, free changing room for the bride and groom, a complementary wedding night stay, an extra hour free of cost so that I can extend my reception out for an hour. You just have to negotiate. (But I also got a massive discount because I work in Human Resources and am also in charge of all the company parties. So she gave me a great deal if I could work out a Christmas Party there). So use all your resources and good luck!
Post # 12
What great tips! I compiled your questions into a list with questions of my own, and ended up with about two pages of questions to ask if needed. Our first day of looking went well. We went to three places, and we liked two of the three. So that is a good start. You all definitely helped me feel prepared for our first day out! Thank you!