#1 WHAT IS THE VENUE CAPACITY?
Depending upon your guest count and the style of event you would like to execute, the venue capacity is one of the most important questions to ask. You need to know if your venue will be too large or too small. Always ask if scaled floor plans of the space are available. This will give you a better understanding of what you have to work within the venue.
#2 WHAT ARE THE TIME LIMITATIONS FOR THE VENUE RENTAL?
Most venues have a set number of hours that a client is allowed to utilize the space. It’s important to know the specifics of loading-in/out and if there are additional fees for not meeting the set timeframe.
#3 WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE VENUE RENTAL?
Venues that are completely blank or empty can be wonderful because you’re not bound to any certain design style and your imagination can run wild. Make sure you ask what isn’t included because you don’t want to have any surprises along the way.
#4 WHAT IS THE ALCOHOL POLICY?
Bringing in your own alcohol can be a HUGE money saver, but make sure all your bases are covered. Specifically, ask about: the set up, the execution, the breakdown, if bartenders are included, and if there’s a corkage fee. If the venue provides the bar, you’ll need to know if there is a bar minimum, if barware is included, and if the bar is based on consumption versus an open bar package. Always ask if there’s a service charge.
#5 WHAT IS THE CATERING POLICY?
Similar to the alcohol policy question, you need to know if you can bring in your own caterer or if there is an approved caterers’ list you’ll be required to choose from. Make sure you understand the staffing logistics and always make sure you are aware of what the service fee will be- standard fees range from 20-24% industry wide.
#6 CAN I HOST BOTH MY CEREMONY & RECEPTION IN THE VENUE?
Since most venues can house both your ceremony and reception, consider these questions if you plan to keep everything at the same venue:
Does the capacity change?
Is there a fee?
Where will your guests go during the transition?
If a “flip” is taking place, is there a change in how many guests the venue can accommodate versus a reception only event?
If one of the spaces is outside, what is the rain/weather back up plan?
#7 ARE THERE ANY VENUE RESTRICTIONS?
You may want to have that picture perfect sparkler or confetti exit, but does the venue allow it? Open flames (votive, pillar, or taper candles) may have specific restrictions, i.e. must be in a glass vase for safety or might be prohibited all together. If your venue is outside or near a pool, there’s a possibility that glassware could be restricted and special hard-plastic glasses, called symglass, may be required. If you’re bringing in some of your own décor, ask if you can hang, nail or glue items in the venue. Is there a fee for damages? Is security required? Can you bring in your own vendors?
#8 IS THERE PARKING AVAILABLE AT THE VENUE?
Parking is the number one question guests want to know when attending an event. Don’t assume the venue has free parking or, parking at all, for that matter. Some venues require you to use valet or to purchase spaces for your guests. Be sure to ask the venue about ALL of your parking options.
#9 DOES THE VENUE REQUIRE EVENT INSURANCE?
Most venues require a Certificate of Liability (COI) naming the venue or venue-management company as an additional insured. Different venues have different levels of required coverage. Be sure you know those levels before you purchase your event insurance. This COI will be great coverage for situations like food poisoning, falls or injuries within the venue and intoxicated guests. Sometimes “day-of” insurance can be added to your current homeowner’s policy, but be sure to ask what is and is not covered. We recommend checking out WEDSURE (www.wedsure.com) to purchase the plan that’s right for you and your event.
#10 HOW MUCH OF MY BUDGET SHOULD I ALLOCATE TO THE VENUE?
In some instances, the venue could be all-inclusive. In this case, plan for the majority of your budget to be allocated to the venue. However, if the venue does not offer any services, your budget will be spread out between your venue and vendors. We encourage all our clients to think about what’s most important to you on this special day. We always recommend having your overall budget in mind when venue shopping. When discussing your budget, it’s imperative to be very upfront with the venue staff, contact or the event planner you’re working. This will make it a seamless effort to find the venue that best suits your needs and your budget. Also, to help maintain budgets and contract multiple vendors and hiring and event planner is highly recommended! Leave the stress to the professional and allow your event to be enjoyable to not only your guests but you as well!