Once you and your fiancé have chosen your venue, you will need to sign a contract. Be sure to cover your bases where this is concerned. Ask all the questions and read the fine print! Unexpected surprises and expenses cause a lot of undue stress and hurt your budget. Before you sign on that dotted line, it is time to get into the minutiae. We are going to be sure that task does not seem so daunting to you.
In case you missed Part One and Part Two in this three part series, read Before You Choose Your Venue and Choosing Your Venue.
- Confirm the date and time of the event.
- What is the rental fee? List everything included in the rental fee. Are tax and gratuity included in this price?
- How much is the deposit? When is it due? Is it refundable?
- What is the payment schedule for the entire event? When is it due and what forms of payment are accepted?
- Is there a cancellation fee?
- What if we need to change the date of our event? Is there a fee associated with that or a deadline to make that change?
- Is there an overtime fee?
- Do you have liability insurance?
- Do we have a point person as we plan our wedding and will he/she be on-site on our wedding day?
FOOD AND BEVERAGE / CATERING SERVICES
- If the venue is providing the wedding catering, can we do a food tasting before we finalize our menu selections? Is there an extra cost associated with this?
- Is there a food and beverage minimum?
- What is the tax and service charge for food and beverages?
- If I bring my own caterer, is there a kitchen available for them?
- Do the caterer and the venue have a relationship? This isn’t necessary, but can be a significant value-add if and when any issues or questions arise with logistics.
- Clarify specifically when vendors can arrive and begin setting up the event, delivering food, etc. and when it all has to be finished.
- Are tables, linens, chairs, plates, silverware, and glassware provided or do we need to rent those ourselves? If they are provided, what are the options and cost associated with that? If we want to bring in our own, is there a fee to do that?
- Can we bring in cake from an outside baker or do we have to use the cake made on-site? If we bring in our own cake, is there an extra fee associated with that? When will the baker be able to deliver the cake?
- If we bring our own cake, is there a cake-cutting fee? Clarify if the venue provides the cake, whether they will charge a cake-cutting fee also. Ask if that can be waived if they provide the cake.
- What is the beverage plan? Does the venue provide all the alcohol and the bartenders?
- What fees are associated with the beverage plan? Do they charge a flat fee? Do they charge by the drink? Here are some tips when estimating how much your guests will drink at the reception.
- How is the alcohol priced? Is there a bar minimum?
- Can we provide our own wine, beer, champagne, and spirits? Is there a corkage fee or extra fee for providing our own beverages?
- If we bring our own bartenders, do we need a permit or license for that?
- Do you have a recycling plan, should you be environmentally responsible.
- What are the options available to us for serving our meal and the costs associated? The main ways to serve a meal at your wedding reception include: buffet-style, plated, sit-down dinner, serve-yourself food stations, family-style, cocktail-style, and food trucks.
DÉCOR and VENUE SPACE
- Are we permitted to bring our own decorations?
- Do you have a list of preferred vendors to assist with décor?
- How big is the dance floor? I’ve been to a number of weddings where people are so crammed in they can barely breathe!
- What does the venue have as its own inventory that is available to us and is there a cost associated with that?
- What options are available regarding the layout of the venue? Can we move things around? Can we bring in extra tables, couches, photo booth, etc.? Can we add string lighting? Can we hang things from the ceiling? Discuss as many possibilities regarding décor and refer to ideas you have to see how amenable they are to them.
- Is there a separate space for a cocktail hour?
- Do you have a coat check? Do you provide staff for this? Is the cost included?
- How many restrooms and do all provide a handicap accessible option?
- Will staff be on-site during the event to ensure the restrooms are maintained or is that an extra fee?
- Is there valet parking? Is parking complimentary?
- Are cabs and ride-shares easily accessible from the venue? Is there a specific address or marker our guests should use when locating the venue on GPS?
- What are the handicap accessible options?
- Do you provide signage to direct our guests?
- What are the inclement weather plans?
- Will the venue assist with getting gifts to a designated car or location after the reception?
- Is there audio-visual equipment available for speeches and/or a video? Is there an added cost associated with this? If we have to utilize an outside resource, do you have a recommended list of vendors?
- Can they provide special lighting? Depending on your venue and theme/styling, lighting can be a big difference.
- What space and set up is available for a live band or a DJ? Is there a noise ordinance that determines when music must conclude?
After you have gone through this very thorough checklist, you should feel assured that all the bases are covered regarding your venue. Now go ahead and sign on that dotted line and get started on planning the wedding of your dreams!
We wish you all the best on your upcoming nuptials.
<< Part 2: "Choosing Your Venue"
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