When booking your wedding venue, it's important to know exactly what you're letting yourself in for so you can determine if your chosen wedding venue is right for you. With so many gorgeous wedding venues out there, it's easy to find one you like and just book it without actually knowing what it entails. The reality is that each venue has their own rules, their own hours of operation and their own way of doing things so it's important to ask the following questions to avoid any disappointment and to make sure your day runs smoothly.
1. Do you have my date available?
The first thing to establish is whether or not they have your chosen date available as this will certainly determine whether or not you want to book with them, especially if the date you've chosen has a particular meaning to you as a couple.
2. Will it fit my guest list?
If you're planning on having 150 guests attend your wedding and your chosen venue can only cater for a maximum of 50 guests, it'd probably be easier to find another venue than to try to cut the guest list by 100 people.
3. Okay, so you can fit up to 150 guests but how many of those guests can be seated?
Sometimes, wedding venues have a number of allocated seats and the rest of your guests will have to stand up so it's important that you understand exactly how many people can be seated when booking your venue. The last thing you want is to have your guests leaving early because they're in pain and need to lie down.
4. What is the hire fee and what does it include?
When asking how much it is to hire your chosen venue, make sure you understand exactly what it involves. Some venues will just hire out the room meaning you still have to arrange a caterer, alcohol, decorations etc. Where as other venues offer a package where food, drinks, entertainment, flowers and everything is included. This option may sound a bit pricey at first but weigh it up as it might actually work out a lot cheaper.
5. Does the hire fee include VAT?
Again, this is another very important question. You don't want to think you've got yourself a cracking deal and then later find out that you have to pay an additional 20% to cover VAT.
6. What is excluded from the hire fee?
Make sure you ask what's excluded from the hire fee. Although you may think you have everything covered, your venue specialises in weddings and they may mention something you hadn't even thought of. It will give you the confidence you need on the run up to your big day knowing that everything is covered.
7. How many hours does the rental rate include?
Make sure you understand exactly how many hours the hire price includes. The last thing you want is to find out that you've only hired your venue until 7pm and it's going to cost you £40 for each additional hour.
8. How much is an additional hour?
Probably the most obvious next question but one that's important to ask. If your chosen venue does charge you for each additional hour, make sure you understand the exact cost for each hour so you can factor it in to the overall cost.
9. What hours do you operate?
This is another very important thing to consider when booking your venue. If you plan to have alcohol being served and music playing until the early hours, make sure your venue accommodates it. Some venues only have a license to serve alcohol till a certain time and others have noise restrictions that will limit how late you can party. Make sure you get a copy of their 'Hours of Operation' policy so you understand exactly what is and isn't allowed.
10. How much of a deposit is required and when is the overall balance due?
Depending on which venue you choose and what's involved may mean you end up with a pricey (but well worth it) bill. First, find out how much the deposit will cost you and then work out how much is remaining. As soon as you know when the balance is actually due, you can divide the overall amount by the months leading up to your wedding and break down that cost into affordable monthly instalments.
11. Do you have a cancellation policy?
Make sure when booking your wedding venue that you understand and obtain a copy of their cancellation policy if for whatever reason, you need to cancel your booking. Make sure it includes their refund policy also so that you know exactly what you're letting yourself in for. It's also worth noting that a lot of venues won't actually secure your date until they've received your deposit and they have a signed contract in place.
12. Are there any restrictions on use of space?
Some venues won't allow you to have open flames, loud music or decorations that hang from the ceiling so make sure you ask whether or not they have any restrictions as this might alter how you envisaged having your wedding.
13. Do you have to use the venues vendors?
Some venues like you to use their own vendors where as other venues allow you to bring in your own which is a great way to cut costs and you can have absolutely anything you want from BBQ and hog roast caterers, to paella pans, Greek and Cypriot cuisine, mobile pizza ovens, crepes and so much more!
14. Are there two separate suites on site for the bride and groom?
If you're planning on getting ready at your choice of venue, it's important to know that they have two separate spaces on site for you and your future husband to get ready in.
15. Is there on site accommodation?
Some venues have rooms for you and your guests to stay in where as others don't. If your choice of venue doesn't have any accommodation on site, it's important to know how far away accommodation is and whether they also have availability on your wedding day. Ideally, you want somewhere that's local and within walking distance so your guests can have a few drinks.
16. Is there ample parking?
If you have 150 guests attending your wedding and there's nowhere to park, it's going to cause a bit of a problem. Make sure you ask whether or not they have enough parking spaces and if not, find out where else your guests will be able to park.
17. When can I begin to set up?
Setting up the table plans, seating arrangements, centrepieces and decorations takes time and you need to know when you can begin to set up. You don't want to be rushing around trying to set up on the morning of your wedding when your meant to be having your hair and make up done so make sure there's plenty of time the night before to set up.
18. Is there cover if it starts to rain?
The last thing you want if the heavens do decide to open is your guests getting absolutely soaked! That's no fun for anyone so if you're planning on having an outdoor wedding, make sure you know that there is cover available should you need some, especially for the photos.
So, there you have it, 18 important questions to ask your venue so that you have confidence on the run up to your big day that your wedding will go exactly they way you've always envisaged.