(Closed) What to know when signing a venue contract — any good advice / ideas?

posted 5 years ago in Venue
Post # 3
512 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I would not put a deposit down and THEN review the contract at home! I asked my (now signed) venue for a sample contract once I was interested. They got the deposit when I signed the contract! Things I looked for off the top of my head:


  • how much is tax, tip
  • are there limits on alcohol (eg no shots allowed at our place, which is a deal breaker for some, but was a deal MAKER for us!)
  • is there somewhere to put the gifts/cards safely locked away for the night
  • when does the bar close
  • when does the venue itself close
  • are things you’re thinking of doing (e.g. photobooth) allowed/not allowed
  • rules on children (some places are actually adult only)
  • menu prices (discounts for vendor meals, children)
  • when do they need your head count by and what info they need re: allergies, etc. and will they accomodate those allergies!
  • what kind of decorations are allowed
  • what kind of decor is included in the price (centerpieces, linens)
  • recommended vendors (hotel, dj, photographers)

I had a bunch more but I cant think of them right now, a lot were more physical observations of the place, but google things to ask and you’ll find tons of Q’s! ๐Ÿ™‚




Post # 4
295 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

For my venue, the policy was to give the deposit first, and then they supplied the contract, which we had to sign within 2 weeks to guarantee the reservation.  My venue is owned by the local government, so this process wasn’t sketchy or anything.

My venue doesn’t provide any food or much in the way of service, so a lot of the advice on what to look for in a contract didn’t apply to me.  My main advice to is to read the contract over very carefully.  Ask about anything that seems questionable.  For example, if you were told that your reception has to end at midnight and your vendors will have an hour to clean up and the contract says that everyone including vendors has to be out of there at midnight, ask about that.  Also, if there is information that is not included in the contract that you think should be in there, ask about that.  Don’t settle for any wishy-washy answers- make sure everything is clear to you before you sign.  See what the contract says about what happens if there is a problem with the venue (power outage, natural disaster, etc.).  Make sure that you get a copy of the contract, and keep it somewhere safe.  Good luck!

Post # 7
512 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

You should be good! You sound like me ๐Ÿ™‚ Our venue was great at answering all our questions too, just make sure their answers/numbers match the contract is the key! Ours were spot on, so I had no actual clarifications required when I was reading the contract “They said x, and the contract says x, sign sign!” Good luck! and yes, does not hurt to ask for a sample contract!

Post # 8
3885 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

First, any deposit you pay should go on a credit card.  You can pay the balance off right away so you can avoid interest.  A credit card in most cases is going to give you FAR better consumer protection than writing a check. If you put a deposit down by check and the venue goes out of business, you get in line with all the other creditors and wait for ages to maybe possibly get a few pennies back on the dollar. If you pay with credit card, you just file a form with the credit card company and they reverse the charge, and it becomes their problem, not yours.

Other details to consider, which may or may not be important to you:

-Access rules for times other than your booked event. If you want to do a rehearsal, when can you do it? Is there an extra fee?  How about setup and breakdown time?

-Who is responsible for setting up and breaking down?  Is there a fee?

-Is there any sort of cleaning fee? what kinds of situations would incur a cleaning or damage fee? 

-What is the cancellation penalty? If it is less than the deposit, what is the timeframe for getting your money back and how is it issued? Check? Refund to credit card? If it is more than the deposit, how and when are you expected to pay?

-Is there personnel available to accept deliveries, such as flowers? If so, what hours? This might not actually be a contract clause but you need to know in advance if their policies work for you

-How early can the vendors  or your party come to set up?

-What other situations or conditions can lead to penalty fees?

-Is the deposit transferrable to another date? To another bride/groom? Any fee associated with that?


Post # 10
135 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Ask for a list of “preferred vendors,” and ask if you’re bound by this list…especially if your venue isn’t a restaurant, hotel, banquet hall, or anywhere else that does their own food.  Some of the designated reception halls in my area have a list of “preferred caterers,” and they’ll flat out refuse to work with anyone who isn’t on their list.  Note that this might apply to bakeries as well.  Ask if the list covers a variety of price points, and then do your own research.

It’s kind of a big deal – the venue itselff might be in your price range, but the list of caterers and bakers they work with might be too expensive.

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