Post # 1
My venue FINALLY emailed me back and I’m going in next week to talk shop. This is my first (and basically only) choice venue, so I’m about 90% sure this is the one no matter what, but for my own and other bees’ benefit–what are the important questions to ask at your venue meeting? What did you NOT ask, then wish you had? I’m not talking like “make sure you know how many people they’ll fit,” I’m thinking more nitty-gritty details that people might forget, like “is there a cleaning fee if you use their tablecloths” or “is it okay to stake balloons in the ground” or something like that.
Post # 3
I have a meeting with my top choice venue next week as well and am very interested in seeing what people say! I am so bad with coming up with questions to ask and know I will forget or not even think of some big ones! I want to see what people say! 🙂
Post # 4
Make sure EVERYTHING is written down & down assume anything.
Important questions: what is provided (be very specific,) and example would be they say tables are included, you need to specify- what kind? does this include a guestbook table, desset table, buffet tables, etc?
Be sure to clarify set up & tear down and cleaning policies.
Again on anything they say they can include, just as very specific follow up questions for each item.
Post # 5
If it helps, @Miss.GrahamCracker: here’s what I’m already planning to ask:
- Where are the different places on the property could we have the ceremony/reception? How many people is there space for? (Might want to clarify “how much room if we do this arrangement,” “how much if we do round tables,” “how much if we have a dance floor,” etc.)
- What is the rain plan (we want to have it outdoors) and is there an extra fee to reserve the rain location just in case?
- How long can we reserve the space for–minimum time, maximum time? Do we have to pay for extra time to do set-up?
- Who’s responsible for setting up and taking down–us, or the venue? When can we do that (the day before, or only the day of?)
- What about the rehearsal–can we rehearse in the same location as the ceremony? Is there a cost for that (I’m on a tight budget so I want to make sure I don’t have to spend more than I’m planning!)
- Does the cost vary if we have the wedding in the morning vs. the afternoon vs. the evening? What about on different days of the week (week vs. weekend)?
- Is there a point person, event manager, day of coordinator, or similar included? Do we need to/can we bring in our own coordinator?
- What’s included with the ceremony–chairs? Altar set up? Anything? Or do we have to rent it all ourselves? Are there “upgrades”?
- What’s included with the reception? Tables, chairs, tablecloths, tent, lights? Or do we rent it ourselves?
- What about sound equipment?
- What’s the outdoor electricity and bathroom situation?
- What’s the food situation? (Our venue has a caterer we’ll be required to use if we have the reception there, but I think we can have our cake from somewhere else.) What can we bring from outside vendors, and what do we have to purchase from the venue?
- What’s the alcohol situation? Can we have it? All alcohol, or just beer/wine? Do we purchase our own, or do we get it through the venue? What about bartenders–do they have one, or do we hire one? Or can we pour our own drinks? (This might be a city or state ordinance that you can’t get around. I think some places require you to have a licensed bartender.)
- (If you have to use their caterer) Is there a separate catering manager for me to talk to? Who? (There are other questions in this situation, too, like: Can I do a tasting? Can you do vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free/organic/whatever meals? Is there a “kids meal” option? What are the food options (just dessert, hot appetizers, full plated meal, buffet, whatever)?)
- And of course with all of these, how much will that cost? How much will that cost? How much will that cost?
I’m sure there’s more to ask, but this is what I’ve amassed based on the internet’s help.
Post # 6
This is stupid, but my one question I wish I should have asked (since I basically asked all others through email and they were well documented, answered speedily, and executed) was that the napkins be folded over my menus. LOL.
That’s a small detail that drives me CUHRAZY in pictures.
Another detail that is important if you have a venue with its own catering that is providing you with the meal is if you can bring in outside food for the favors (if you have a food favor). There are often liability concerns if they are baked outside premises, so make sure if you want those food favors, you get in writing that it’s ok.
Also, while thinking about this, I realized that I never asked how many hor d’evoures would be served per person on estimate. I was not really present during cocktail hour and most people seemed satisfied with it but I still want to know if it was bountiful or if people were chasing down waiters and waitresses for small morsels. I am hoping all was ok!
Post # 7
Can the rentals be picked up the following day. The rental company will charge a “stand by fee” if they have to come at the end of the night and remove the rental items.
Post # 8
@mholden: Thanks! I printed off a bunch of questions from herecomestheguide so I am hoping that I cover it all or they just tell me everything I need to know haha I am just so anxious to see the venue in person finally! I am planning long distance so I am sure there will be a ton of communication/coordination done via email
Post # 9
This a great thread! I am meeting with my venue tomorrow!! Thanks for the list mholden! And to all the other bees for posting their thoughts so far, too!
Post # 10
The ONE thing that I should have asked is who is in charge of handing out the champagne for the toast!!! The BM said his toast we look down and no champagne! My MOM was PISSED and she never usually speaks up but she did for this. Supposedly the hall’s waitresses were supposed to and they were not told when? Um that’s like one of the first things. That really pissed me off.
Post # 11
Going to my venue meeting in an hour–thanks for the help!
Post # 12
One big question…is just to generally ask about ‘extra fees’. A corking fee per bottle. A cake cutting fee if it’s an outside vendor that is doing the cake. Sometimes they charge for this.
A fee for using a credit card to pay the venue as opposed to cash/cheque.
Also if there is a cost difference for having options for meals. Say they charge 79$ a plate for beef but you also want to offer chicken or fish, is there a cost per person to give the option. At my venue this was an issue, but we are only going to offer a meat and a vegetarian option. Not a biggie, but it’s important to know.
Can you put tape/tacks, etc to hang decorations?
What happens if there’s a fire/flood/etc at the venue, do you have an alternate solution if the venue is unusable for the wedding?
Does your caterer cover vendor meals (photog, videog, dj)?
Definitely get everything in writing! 🙂
Post # 13
Ask about open flames policy if you want candles, and set up and break down times (in writing). At my MOH’s wedding we were told we could come set up the night before (they didn’t say it would cost us) and then they made her pay for room rental when we got there.
Post # 14
Make sure you read through the contract very carefully (ask to have it sent to you to look over before you go in to sign). Remember that you can ask them to make changes (I’ve found that vendors are generally pretty cool with adding more detail to their contracts ).
There has been some turnover at our venue so the person that we are dealing with now is not the same person who we dealt with when first looking at the venue and signing our contract. We spent a lot of time asking them to add and clarify items in their contract and I am so so grateful that we did, because we have already had several situations where the new contact person is telling us differently than the last person did. My only regret is that we did think of more items to add to the contract
Mostly we had them clarify some areas that were poorly written, but there are afew things that I am very glad we added and another I wish we had:
-specify exactly which space you will have (I’ve heard of venues showing you the biggest ballroom when you book, but then bumping to a smaller ballroom if a bigger group comes in later)
-Our venue has a food and drink minimum (which I think is pretty common, but we were not informed of this before being given the contract so it came as quite a shock). It turns out that the 26% gratuity and tax is included in the minimum which makes a huge difference so we asked that this be specified in the contract. Since they have changed their tune on several other things I’m sooo glad this one was added!
-We were told that when they do a wedding that is the only function there that day and I wish I had thought to ask them to add that to the contract. When it came to specifying the starting time we weren’t really sure what to put since it was so early in the planning stage. They told me it was just a place holder so I made the best guess I could at the time. When we went back and ask to change it later we were told we could not because there was another function earlier in the day.
Post # 15
Be sure you are aware of the service charge and tax. It can catch you off guard and have a huge increase in the overall price you’re paying!!
Most venues here have service charges ranging from 20 to 24% plus the 6% state tax. So, if your total food and beverage comes out to be $10,000, essentially, you will be paying an additional $2,600 to $3,000. Something to be aware of.
Also, some venues will not let you bring in your own cake, they expect you to use their cake or else they charge a fee per person. In most cases the fee is so expensive that you have no other option than to use their cake.
Post # 16
I just thought of something I should have asked about: parking. I should have asked how much room we’d have for parking and how far the walk would be from the parking lot to the ceremony space. Obviously usually you can usually figure this out when you visit, but there may be weird things going on. For example we want to get married at our college, but since I didn’t ask, now I’m worrying that they’ll want our guests to park in one of the farther lots–and that walk is not grandma-friendly.