When I was a little girl, I used to fantasize about my future wedding. I would watch Disney movie after Disney movie, and daydream about finding my Prince Charming and how our happily ever after would play out.
I’d watch Cinderella run down the steps of the castle after her beautiful ceremony filled with candles and flowers, and I’d think to myself, “…one day.”
more than I care to admit a few years later and here I am in the midst of planning my very own wedding! After kissing my fair share of frogs, I have found my Prince Charming and my happily ever after has come true!
Now, if only planning a wedding was as easy as the Disney movies made it seem.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it – planning a wedding can be stressful. There are a million and one things to think about and plan for, and to be honest – it can be overwhelming.
One thing I’ve found that helps me with keeping my sanity is to make lists. And I don’t just mean lists of what has to be done. No, no, no. I mean lists of questions to ask possible vendors!
By creating a list of questions, you’ll be able to make sure each vendor meets your specific needs and requirements. Once a potential vendor doesn’t meet some of your must-haves, you can take them out of the running.
Trust me. Keeping yourself organized through the chaos that is wedding planning is HUGE.
This list thing came in handy big time when we (I) was researching venues for our upcoming nuptials.
I knew a few things that our venue just had to have/offer. Like, we knew we needed some sort of outdoor space. We knew we wanted to bring in our own alcohol and bartenders. We knew the venue had to fit a certain amount of people comfortably. Amongst other things, of course.
So, I got to work. I compiled a list of questions I asked each venue I spoke with. I eliminated quite a few, and in the end – Mike and I only did a site visit to two venues…one of which we booked same day!
Whether you’re planning your own wedding, have a friend planning theirs – or you just want to be organized for when it comes time to plan yours…see the list of questions you have to ask venues before booking your wedding!
Questions to Ask Potential Wedding Venues
- Is your date available? TIP: If you can, be flexible with your date. If not – you will likely have to be flexible on venue options because woweee – they book up in advance! Also – if you’re looking to save a few bucks, winter weddings are definitely a more cost-effective route and just as beautiful as a summer wedding! Or you may want to also consider doing a Friday or Sunday wedding, as there may be some savings there as well.
- What is the accommodation limit? Does this include vendor/serving staff?
- How many hours does the rental fee include? What’s the cost (if any) if the party goes a little later?
- How is the payment plan set-up? Deposit percentage? What’s the refund policy on the deposit? What is the cancellation policy?
- Is there an additional cost to have the ceremony there?
- Can the space be used for rehearsal? What about a rehearsal dinner?
- Is there a bridal suite? What about an additional area for the groom + groomsmen to get ready?
- If it’s an outdoor space, what’s your weather contingency plan? Is there an indoor space you can move to if the weather doesn’t work in your favour?
- Is there any insurance coverage included in the rental fee?
- Is the venue handicap accessible?
- Is there an in-house caterer or list of preferred vendors? If you bring in your own caterer – are there any additional charges?
- Is there a kitchen on-site for the caterer?
- Is there a minimum spend on food and beverages?
- Besides tax (confirm the %) – are there any additional charges? Service fee? Tip? Landmark fee?
- If the caterer is in-house, can you arrange a tasting?
- Are tables and chairs provided with the venue rental? Linens, plates, glassware, silverware?
- Is there a cake cutting fee?
- Is the venue licensed to serve alcohol?
- Is the outside area licensed for alcohol consumption as well?
- Are you able to bring in your own alcohol? TIP: It’s a bit more time consuming doing this, but this is one way to save LOTS of money on your wedding!
- Is there a corkage fee?
- Will the venue provide bar staff, or the catering company?
- Is there a separate area for the cocktail hour?
- What decor items (string lights, candle holders, vases, etc.) are included in the rental fee? Can you bring in additional decor items?
- Will there be any decorations up in the venue, non-wedding related? (For example, if you’re getting married in the winter – will there be Christmas or holiday decor up?)
- Can you move any of the decor items that are in place in the venue already? Pictures on the walls, etc.
- For outdoor venues, or venues with an outdoor space, are heaters and/or umbrellas included in the rental fee?
- Does the venue offer an area for coats?
- How many restrooms are there?
- Are there any restrictions on decor items? (For example: sparklers, candles, confetti, etc.)
- Do they offer a list of preferred vendors, or can you bring in your own DJ/band/florist/etc.?
- Is there an on-site coordinator? What services are included with the rental fee?
- Can the venue arrange for gifts/guests to get back to their hotels after?
- Does the venue offer security services?
- Can the venue accommodate a live band or DJ? Both, or just one?
- Does the venue come with any sound equipment? Microphones for MC and speeches?
- Are there any noise restrictions? Does the party HAVE to stop at a specific time because of restrictions and/or bylaws?
- Is there parking on-site? If so, is it complimentary to our guests? If not – where should guests park?
- If you’re looking at hotels, bed and breakfasts, or anything along those lines – is there a discount for booking multiple rooms? Complimentary room or upgrade for the newlyweds?
- What are the nearest hotel accommodations available? Do they have any partnerships with local hotels that will offer your guests additional savings?