Post # 1
Mama CoCo, Future Mother-In-Law, and I are headed down from the A to Savannah this weekend to hopefully pick a venue! I have appointments set up with a potential planner, and 5 different venues + inquiries out to 2 others so we have a packed Labor Day weekend.
My question to all of you is, what types of questions should I be asking to make an informed decision? Were there any “extras” that caught you off guard that you wish you knew about in advance? Any restrictions you wish you had been aware of? I want to make a top ten list so give me the dirt!
Post # 3
Once we got the package laid out I was very very very insistent we knew all the fees, gratuities, taxes etc that would be tacked on.
I also made sure the prices we were paying for were being locked in. The contract says they may go up but we got this cleared up IN WRITING!!!
We got all the information about what’s allowed and NOT allowed :/
Who sets up/cleans up.
What our vendors need…in our case a business license and insurance…
We basically found a list on the internet…took from it questions we thought we needed and then asked one by one and took notes on our tablet.
Post # 4
Make sure you get the final price per person with taxes and gratuity included.
Is the bar open during dinner? How many bartenders?
Do you pay a lower price for people under 21 (since they can’t drink) and kids 12 and under (usually offer kids meals)?
what time can you go in to set up? What time can your vendors get in?
Post # 5
I’m going to be in Savannah this weekend too! Not sure if Forsyth Park is on your list of venues to visit but there’s a wedding on Sunday afternoon if you want to take a peak. . .not crash, just a peak. 🙂
Good luck on your search!
Post # 6
Two things that caught me off guard with our venue I wish I would’ve asked about:
1. Ask whether there’s any planned construction on your date or if they would consider starting a construction project between now and then when they have your wedding booked. Our venue has some surprise construction going on, and I was kind of unhappy.
2. Ask how long you get the room for. We are only guaranteed our reception space from 2 hours before our event, meaning, from the time our ceremony is supposed to be. That means neither me or my family or friends will be able to decorate the space…it’s all up to my florist and the venue’s staff!
I also second what @icetea said about what is/is not allowed. We found out our ceremony venue does not allow flower petals, bird seed, balloons, or candles of any kind, and our reception space does not allow open flame (meaning no taper candles).
Other things I’m glad I did ask: if they have liability insurance, whether there are fees for going overtime, cake cutting, uncorking, etc., who cleans up afterward, where you can get ready, whether gratuities are included (different from service charge), how many bartenders/servers you get, how many weddings they book, what the rain plan is if it’s outdoors, and whether you will have a site coordinator assigned to you. We had a long list of questions, but I’m glad I had it and got it out of the way.
Post # 7
@icetea: Great tip with the locking in of prices, with us booking kind of far out I could see that being important. Thank you!
@GroovyHippieChick: Gotta <3 the taxes + gratuities. I’ll be sure to get that from them, thanks for the suggestion!
Post # 8
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
Martha Stewart has a great checklist for venues and other vendors (these were are helpful with our photographer and caterer searches):
Post # 9
Ask if they require you to get insurance coverage for the evening of your wedding. Somehow our venue failed to mention that when we met with them.
Also ask about access to the venue for your rehearsal the day before. Some places aren’t very accommodating or require you to do it early in the day.
Post # 10
Looking back at our venue disaster, I would also ask for a timeline of what happens when. Things like scheduling the tasting, layout, event scheduling, and what happens if these are not done “on time”. I would also want it included in my contract.
I say this because my venue NEVER contacted me and the several times I called I was told I was calling to early, not to worry the caterering manager would call me. Well, I had to find a new venue six weeks before my wedding (we still had NOTHING figured out, including what time the event started), and had to fight with them to let me out of my contract. Plus I still lost my hefty deposit, and I had to scramble to find vendors. I wish I had gotten this in writing, I may have gotten my deposit back on top of it.
Hope This Helps
Post # 11
@anemonie: Great suggestions! I LOVE candles so that will be really important to me, I’m gonna steal all of these 🙂
Post # 12
We visited venues with all street parking = probably will need parking service and/or security guards. Do you have to use their company? How much is it?
and venues that share public parking with local parks/beaches/etc. = will it be super packed at the day/time of your wedding? Will your guests be able to find parking? Ours shared parking with a public park/beach and I literally was panicking bc when we showed up, there was no parking. Luckily, it did clear out by the time our wedding was due to start so none of our guests had parking problems and the venue did assure us that there’s no issues with parking. They failed to tell us that it will looked packed until a certain time when the locals clear out.
and venues that shared parking with a local festival/event = pay per spot. can get $$$ plus it is a PITA.
and venues with parking that is normally paid (e.g. hotels) = will you comp your guests’ parking or will they have to pay themselves? Is it valet or self park?
In our area, venues that are located near homes had an earlier curfew than venues in industrial/urban areas or hotels. So if you have a party-hearty crowd, you may not want a venue with an 11:00 p.m. curfew.
A waiting room/area does NOT equal a bridal prep room. I learned this the hard way. Many venues that normally do events of all sorts, rather than focusing on weddings specifically, often do not have bridal prep rooms or it will cost you extra. Most places will have a place for you to wait about 1 hr to 30 minutes before the ceremony/event so you’re not in full view of your guests but this is not a place for changing/MU/hair.
This is a consideration if you have anything outdoors. You’ll want to know if it is windy or if the weather can be temperamental. This will affect other issues, like flowers.
Post # 13
@rebwana: Love the link! Martha’s always got her ish together hahaha
@MrsBot: That’s a good one to consider as well. A lot of the places we are considering are historical sites so this could be pretty important, thank you!
@dallasbride2012: I’m so sorry to hear you had a rough go of it with your first venue, but glad you were able to work it out someplace else! What was your experience like with the second?
Looks like the overall theme here, is get it in writing. I do a lot of reading contracts and negotiating in my work so I’ll work extra hard to make sure everything is included!
Post # 14
On my venue’s website they said the venue is $1,600 but they are forcing us to get a large tent for our outdoor wedding and now the cost is $2,600, WTH? Gah! So ask about all of their fees, services they provide, gratuity and taxes, ask about their catering services or caterers they like working with and are familier with their site.
If you are having an outdoor wedding ask them what they are willing to do if rain comes, gotta be cautious!
Ask about their PA system or about their general music systems so if you’re going to have an iPod or a DJ make sure that they have some kind of a system set up to help. Also, ask about decorations some places have a really big BUT in their contracts i.e. no tape, no tacks in the walls, so be careful.
Post # 15
@infinity092813: Very interesting, I didn’t see this before! We are staying at the Hilton DeSoto, not that far from there. About what time might I want to take that “peek”?
Post # 16
@lilbluebird: nothing ruins a party quicker than no place to leave your ride! I will definitely check that out!
@JoJoDahling: That is crazy, an extra $1000? And I love the fact that you say Gah! ’cause that is one of my favorite expressions, lol.