What are the important questions to ask at your venue appointment?

posted 3 years ago in Venue
Post # 3
Member
905 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

Hello, my name is Phamnomenon, and I have a bit of an obsession with lists.  Exhibit A:

Timing
-Is our preferred date available?
-How many events do you host in a day?
-How long is our event allowed to last?
-Is there a fee if we want to stay later than the standard time?
-What time can my vendors start setting up on the day of the wedding?
-Will there be somebody there to accept deliveries?
-Can we do any set-up on the day before the wedding?

Staffing
-Is there an event coordinator who will help us before and on our wedding day? Is there an additional cost for using their services?
-Is there anybody who can help get us get all of our decorations and gifts to one place after the event?
-Does the venue have liability insurance? Are your health department and insurance certificates up to date?

Capacity
-What’s the maximum number of guests you can accommodate?
-How many people does the venue seat comfortably?
-What is the maximum number of people permitted by fire code?

Costs
-What is the site fee?
-What does that include? Consider cleaning fees, insurance fees, etc.
-Is there a service fee to cover staff time?
-Is there a discount for booking at a certain time of year, on a weekday, etc.?
-Does it cost extra for anything we’ve seen today?
-How much is the deposit?
-When are payments due?
-What’s the cancellation/refund policy?

Rentals
-Who provides the tables and chairs? What do they look like?
-Who provides the linens, like tablecloths and napkins?
-Who provides the table settings – plates/glassware/silverware, etc.
-Do we have flexibility in determining the floor plan?

Accommodations
-Is there somewhere for us to get ready, or will we need to do that at home?
-Are there any areas we won’t have access to?
-Do you offer a special rate for our guests? If so, how many rooms at that rate?
-Do you offer a complimentary room for the bride & groom?
-What is the contingency plan for bad weather?
-Is there a place we can put up a tent if necessary?
-Do you have a coat check service, or is there an area we can use for coats?
-Is there an outdoor space where our guests can play lawn games, and is there an extra cost for using this space?
-How many restrooms are there?
-Is the facility handicapped-accessible?
-What sorts of climate-control are available if it’s very cold or very hot?

Parking
-Will our guests have to pay to park?
-How much space is available for parking?
-Is there somewhere for our shuttle bus to wait?
-Is there valet parking?
-Can you assist with setting up a shuttle to/from the hotel(s)?

Alcohol
-Can we bring in our own beverages?
-Is there a corkage fee if we bring in our own beverages?
-Are there any restrictions on the types of beverages allowed?
-Are you licensed to provide bar/alcohol service?
-How do you price beverages and bar staff?
-Do you offer different types of bar services?
-What is the tipping protocol for the bartenders?
-Is there a minimum amount we must spend on beverages?

Food
-Can we choose the vendors, or do you work exclusively with a certain set?
-If we use our own caterer, can you provide kitchen space?
-Can we bring in our own cake, or must we use one that was baked on the premises or by an approved baker?
-Is there a cake-cutting fee?
-Do you provide cake-cutting tools?

Entertainment
-Will we need to bring in our own sound & lighting equipment?
-Is there a noise ordinance we should be aware of?
-Are there restrictions on the types of music we can play?
-Can you accommodate a live band or a DJ?

Decorations
-Are we allowed to bring in our own decorations?
-Are real candles allowed?
-Are there any restrictions for hanging/attaching decorations?
-Is there anything we aren’t allowed to move?
-Who is responsible for tearing down the decorations? Can we come in the next day to help clean up and take things home?

Ceremony
-Can we hold our ceremony here, too?
-Is there an additional cost if the ceremony doesn’t take place in the same room as the reception? How much time is needed to switch the room over from ceremony to reception space?
-How much time do we get for the rehearsal?

Post # 4
Member
3756 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

@Phamnomenon:  Wow… excellent! I was just going to say ask about extra expenses, like a security fee, we have to pay $300 for security that’s required by law. Ask about any additional fees that come with the venue. But I think Phamnomenon got that covered!!

 

Post # 6
Member
2865 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

The only thing I would add is just a general prefered vendors list.  Does the site have a perfered photographer, DJ, band, videogrpaher, florist, baker, ect?  Some sites have a certain list for all of these things. 

If you are having a dance, ask how big the dance floor is. 

Post # 7
Member
6859 posts
Busy Beekeeper

In addition to the above,  a few things I can think of off the top of my head:

Number one, and I can’t stress this enough, I would always ask for referrals of people who have most recently had affairs there.  In my experience, a lot can and does change in this industry.  Caterers or chefs, contact people etc.  can and do move around frequently.   Just because you went to a great party there last year, don’t assume it’s the same place except for the physical location.  Asking for recent references also means there is less chance they will cherry pick names sure to give a glowing review. 

Questions to ask references include how responsive is your coordinator to questions and concerns.  How quickly do they return calls?  Did your affair go smoothly and professionally, as planned?  Was the transition from one part of the affair to another handled seamlessly?  Were there any glitches on the day?  Anything you’d change if you were doing it over again?  How was the food?  If you are having a cocktail hour, did they replenish stations or  have enough platters to go around?  Any special recommendations on the menu?  How professional and attentive were the servers?  Was dinner served all at once or was there a big gap in timing?  

Ask for recommended vendor lists and who they would use if they were throwing the affair.  

Who is the caterer or caterers and who will be your contact for planning the event?  How long have those people been associated with the venue?  What is their background?  Again, is there any chance that there will be turnover in key staff before then?   If there is an on site caterer, I  would ask to have a food tasting.  Some places won’t offer unless you ask. If they do offer, some will not charge if you end up booking there.

On the subject of food, does the venue or caterer insist on asking guests to order their dinner in advance or are they adept at estimating?   A pet peeve of mine, for me as a host, not as a guest, are those  check off the meal RSVP cards.  I know it’s not always possible, but just know that not every venue demands this.  They may not offer you the option unless you ask.

I would ask about their policy on  tip jars at the bar and the bathrooms, if an attendant is present, and insist that none be present. Guest should not be digging into  their own pockets.

I would also  ask about the number of servers, their background and training,  and options to increase the numbers, if necessary. 

Do you have a secure place or lockbox for gifts that are brought to the wedding?  

Any recommendations or potential for on site child care? 

Post # 8
Member
6859 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I read one of the linked threads below and it reminded me of another biggie,  which is to be SURE and ask if there are any planned renovations planned for before or anywhere near  the date.  Projects are often delayed or can create scenarios such as blocked entrances, construction sites, or noise.  A sibling had  to change venues just months ahead for this reason.  

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