Post # 1
This weekend, I am doing my first real tour of venues. Since I am living in Massachusetts and am getting married in Maine, I’m trying to fit in a few venues over the weekend. I am excited and for some reason, slightly nervous!
I have a wedding planner book that comes with great questions, but I just thought I’d extend things out to the experienced bees so I don’t miss the chance to ask some good questions or miss some things to look for.
So bees: What are some definites to ask? Some things you wish you would have asked but didn’t? Some lesser known things to ask? What are some things I should be looking for (other than if I like it)?
Two of the venues (one is a wedding “barn” and the other a resort) have wedding packages of varying rates, and the third venue is a restaurant that I’m not sure has done a winter wedding before.
Post # 2
So I asked questions I didn’t think were relevant just in case. Like childrens meals cost and whether we are allowed edible favours. Also ask for a list of extra costs. Our contract states corkage for wine and sparkling wine but omits it for beer. When we asked for prices they couldn’t give us one and then plucked an outrageously high figure out of thin air. We negotiated it because they hadn’t put it in the contract. Also worth asking for a draft timeline.
Post # 3
Are you on a budget? I’d ask for crystal clear numbers. For example, my venue is $80/head but after the service charge and state tax, it is $110 which definitely was big once multiplied by 100 guests.
Ask about what they are doing food-wise for anyone with dietary restrictions (vegan, gluten free, nut allergies, etc)
Sorry if this doesn’t apply to you, but my ceremony is outdoors so I asked about what they would do if it was raining.
Post # 4
I can list a few of the important questions we asked at our venue tours!
- How many hours are included and when can you come/when do you have to leave by?
- Can you use any vendors or do you have to use an approved vendor?
- Parking/bathroom space – especially important for a barn that the bathrooms are nice!
- Are there any decoration limits? Can you hang stuff from ceilings, have candles, etc.
- Do they take care of clean up/set up?
- How many weddings/events will they host in one day?
- How large is the space/dance floor? Can it accommodate the guest count you expect?
- What is the tax/gratuity, and is there a room rental fee? These can kind of be ‘hidden costs’ that can really drive up the overall price.
That’s all I can think of off the top of my head but I think that’s most of the important stuff!
Post # 5
Here’s the list I compiled when we were venue shopping (some assume the venue is also providing catering, so ignore if that’s not relevant):
- what insurance is required?
- do we have to use preferred vendors (Caterer, florist, etc)?
- any corkage/cake cutting fees?
- what hours will we have the venue for? when can vendors arrive to start setting up?
- can we have equipment/supplies delivered the day before/picked up the following day or does everything have to be out of the venue by a certain time?
- is tenting permitted, and does it require a permit?
- what backup plans are available in case of inclement weather (tenting, space heaters, etc)
- what is the parking situation for guests and for vendors? (ie, is valet required)
- do you offer vendors meals?
- how much do you charge for children’s meals? are they chicken nuggets of half-size portions of the regular food?
- is there a minimum catering spend?
- is there any decor not allowed? (ie, throwing rice/birdseed/rose petals, open flame/candles, hang stuff from ceiling)
- what restrictions exist for the noise level for the band/DJ/any amplified sound?
- what is included? (chairs, tables, etc). Can they provide linens, china, glassware?
- do they permit alcohol? if so, hard liquor or beer/wine only? can we bring our own booze?
- what additional fees do they tack on?
- what is the cancellation policy?
- is the venue handicap accessible?
- will we need to rent additional bathrooms (ie, bathroom trailers)?
- will we have exclusive use on the day of?
- is it accessible via public transportation/how hard is it to get a taxi or uber (thinking about getting people home safely if they drink too much)
- is there a coat check? secure storage for wedding gifts or valuables?
- any photography restrictions (ie, no flash photography)
- will we need to put down a dance floor?
- what happens if the venue goes out of business/burns down?
- can they accomodate a rehearsal?
- if your vendors want to do a site visit, how easy is that to arrange? (ie, can they jsut call and make an appointment any time or only on the 3rd Tuesday of the month between 1-2pm?)
Post # 6
Thank you all SO much! I wrote down every single question here and definitely felt more prepared at my appointments than I would have otherwise. Thankfully, I loved two out of the three venues I saw. Unthankfully…I love them both equally for different reasons. UGH! I’m sure I’ll be posting another thread soon with how to pick one!
Post # 7
Things that were important to me were:
1. Are pets allowed (we plan on bringing our dog)
2. Does the venue rental price include any rehearsal time
3. How early can we come in to set up
4. Do they have any preferred vendors
5. Do they have any chairs & tables or are you alone to find your own
6. Is the flow of the building good for what you want? Cocktail hour -> ceremony -> dinner -> party
7. Bridal Suite?
9. Will your amount of guests feel comfortable in this space or is it too cramped
10. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the venue too to save a few bucks!!
Post # 8
where did you look in Maine? I am trying to find a Miane venue but not having any luck fitting my needs. Which ones did you like or not like and why?
Post # 9
I suggest asking if they offer custom packages. Don’t assume that the price is firm and there isn’t any wiggle room. Good places that want your business will negotiate with you. I negotiated my entire wedding package and we got a damn good deal 🙂