VENUE TIPS

THE BASICS

QUESTIONS TO ASK

  • Is your date available?
  • This is probably the most important factor. It is always good to keep some date options open and be a bit flexible, so you can get the location of choice. Also try to plan about 1 year in advance to secure your wedding date.

  • What are the available rental times?
  • If you are looking at an afternoon- typically 11-4pm would be available and then an evening slot would be 6-11pm. You will need to find out if there could be 2 weddings scheduled on your date.

  • What is the price for staying later then the time allotted?
  • What is the price for renting the entire day? If you have a large setup/décor plan, your vendors may need more then 2 hours of set up time.
  • Can the venue also hold the Ceremony in another room indoors?
  • What are the fees associated? Are chairs included? How many extra hours do you get if you reserve a ceremony space? Is there a bridal room or a place the bride can put her dress on?

  • What is the venue capacity for both the ceremony and dinner?
  • Keep in mind that about 80% of your invite list of guests will be a good starting estimate

  • Does the venue have a specific suppliers list they would prefer you to work with?
  • Some venues charge a fee if you don’t utilize one of their referred vendors. Some also have a list of vendors they know do a good job at their location and they like working with. This does not mean you have to work with them, it is a great starting point though!

  • What is your food and beverage minimum?
  • Once you find this out, also ask if tax and gratuity is included? What is the gratuity fee or service charge? Are there any other fees or rentals you would need to know about?

  • If the venue has its own caterers does the price include a tasting?
  • Many times, if a venue does not do in-house catering, it will have a list of caterers you can choose from that are allowed in their venue. Tastings are a must and we suggest having one prior to booking. Find out the details for this and if there is a fee. Many times, they do charge but if you end up booking they will credit your account for the tasting.

  • How flexible is the catering to suit your wedding style? Will they customize the menu for you? (family style, BBQs., formal dining, street food, buffet, etc.)
  • Are you allowed to bring in your own rentals?
  • Some venues will not allow you to bring in your own rented chairs (ghost chairs or chivari Charis) as well as your own linens. They require you to go through them. Many planners and florists are also able to coordinate your rentals. Coordinators will always try to find you your best pricing options. But before trying to save some money, make sure the venue allows you to do through another professional.

TIP
Be happy with the entire space – see all rooms available for your wedding party and make sure each one suits your wedding style.

LOGISTICS

QUESTIONS TO ASK

  • Will there be a turnover time of rooms and where will your guests go during this time?
  • Is there a policy about children attending and at any time does the venue need to be child-free?
  • Will you be able to hold a walk through on the day prior to your wedding day?
  • Is there ample parking for your guests?
  • Are there any local events happening on the date of your wedding?
  • Can the venue give you an example of a wedding day timeline?
  • Does the venue require liability insurance from the wedding professionals that will be working on the wedding day?
  • When can you come back for a second visit?
TIP
Spend some time getting to know the area. It’s great to make recommendations to your out-of-town guests wanting to make a weekend of it!

ACCOMMODATIONS

QUESTIONS TO ASK

  • Are there overnight accommodations for guests? If so, how many rooms are available?
  • Will the venue offer any discount on hotel rooms reserved by your guests?
  • Is there an attrition (financial obligation) that you will be responsible when blocking rooms?
  • What is the maximum amount of rooms you can block if there is not an attrition?
  • Typically, this will be about 15-25 rooms maximum and guests must make their reservations for the special rate prior to 30 days before the wedding. Typically, at that time they drop the block and open to public if they have not been booked yet.
  • If the venue does not have accommodations, then where does the venue recommend for guest rooms nearby?
  • Does the hotel offer any free shuttle within a 3-5-mile radius of the hotel?
TIP
-It is nice to offer your guests a choice of 2 hotels but if you are providing transportation for your guests- one hotel will be best!
-Don’t forget to ask about a room for your wedding night for the 2 of you!!

PLANNING THE DETAILS

QUESTIONS TO ASK

  • Does your venue have an in-house wedding coordinator and what do their duties involve- especially the day of the wedding?
  • Is it fine if you hire your own wedding planner to use for our planning?
  • Does the venue allow confetti, dance floor smoke/fog, or bubbles indoors?
  • What is the policy for lit candles in the venue?
  • Does the venue have any noise limits or times music needs to stop?
  • Can you have a professional firework display at your venue?
  • Are sparklers allowed at your wedding- for an exit?
  • Does the venue have any restrictions to photo locations around the premises?
TIP
Ask to see photographs of previous weddings and the kind of style/detail they had at the venue. If your venue is a blank canvas this can also start to help you see and feel your own wedding.

INDOOR /OUTDOOR

QUESTIONS TO ASK

  • What are the weather contingencies at your venue?
  • Is there an option to get married outside?
  • Can the venue also hold the Ceremony? If so, What is the price?
  • Are chairs included?
  • How many extra hours do you get if we you host a ceremony?
  • Is there a bridal room or a place the bride can put her dress on?
  • Does the venue have a separate area for cocktails and is there an outdoor option in case of good weather?
  • **It is lovely to have the option of a separate cocktail area- this provides a bit more time to get the ballroom ready for the big reveal!

  • If the facility has gardens or flowers- what color are they and will they be in bloom in your wedding month? Ask to see photos so you can visualize, especially if you are visiting out of season.
TIP
Always have a rain plan! Especially in Ohio. And if you are having your ceremony there and you are doing a rehearsal for your outdoor ceremony- be sure to run through the rain plan area for your ceremony too.

FINAL DETAILS

Check the fine print – it is smart to ask each location you are interested in for a full proposal and compare apples to apples at each. This way you will get a complete write up and cost sheet with all details, so nothing is to be missed!
Venues Costs/Contracts – ensure you both understand the costs for the venue before signing on the pretty dotted line. Read your contract! What happens if the event must be canceled or postponed for any reason?

GET ORGANIZED

Create a spreadsheet of venues to visit – I think 4 in one day is the max as it can become overwhelming.
Be careful not to take too many people on the venue visits – remember this day is about two people.
Feel free to talk to people – it’s a great way of sorting through your own thoughts and getting other opinions!