Once you’ve narrowed down your choice of venues to those that are available on your selected date and can accommodate your number of guests, it’s essential you visit each venue in person and meet with the dedicated weddings coordinator to discuss the details.
Here are five key questions you need to ask before you decide to book.
What exactly is included in the price?
Make sure all the prices are clear and transparent so that you know exactly what is included. Some venues will provide catering as well as all the necessary equipment (tables, chairs, linen, cutlery, menus, chair covers etc), while others offer only the room, requiring you to take care of hiring in some or all of the table decorations yourself. If you’re hoping to have a civil ceremony at the venue as well, find out if there’s an additional charge for this too. Make sure the venue also provides a dedicated wedding coordinator who will be present on the day of your wedding at no extra charge. Ask for everything in writing so that there are no surprises later on.
How long will you have the room?
Understanding the timings of the day will help you to plan more efficiently. It’s worth knowing how long in advance of your ceremony start time you or your chosen suppliers will be able to access the room so that they have plenty of time to set up before the celebration gets underway. Equally important is finding out the time at which your guests are expected to leave. Some venues impose a non-negociable finish time whereas others will consider extending the end of the party by prior arrangement and often, for an additional fee.
Is there a food and drink minimum spend?
Ask whether the catering is done in-house or whether you are required to source your own caterers. If the venue can provide their own in-house caterers, they may require a minimum spend per person. It’s a good idea to find out how that minimum spend can be allocated – it may be that you can put it towards much more than just the wedding breakfast, such as teas and coffees, drinks from the bar and more. A great way of keeping costs down is to bring your own wine, so ask your venue if they will allow you to do this and if so, what their corkage fee is.
How will the room be set up?
If you have a preferred seating style, ask your venue if they can rearrange their rooms to suit your needs. Make sure that you ask about all the room layout possibilities and whether you can have a choice of size and shape of your top table. Some venues can offer civil ceremonies and wedding receptions in the same space, so make sure you’re clear on how the room will look for each part of your day.
How accessible is the venue and is there car parking available?
If you’re planning a large wedding and the majority of your guests will be arriving by car, it’s important to know whether there is car parking available close to the venue and whether or not it is free. That way, you can warn your guests in advance to allow extra time and to make sure they have enough change for car parking if necessary. It’s also a good idea to make sure that any elderly or less mobile members of your wedding party are able to enter and move around the venue comfortably.