Congratulations you're engaged! Let the planning begin.
Choosing your wedding venue is one of the most important and exciting parts of your wedding planning journey. Once you have chosen your dream venue you can start to imagine how your big day will look and run.
Before signing along the dotted line, there are all sorts of details and information you'll need to find out. This will help you make your decision and make sure its right for you and your requirements.
Here are my top 15 questions to ask at the initial enquiry stage and at your site visit.
1. Is your desired date available?
Although this question seems to be an obvious one, you’d be surprised how many couples arrange a viewing with their dream venue not knowing if their date is actually available. Finding out this basic information first will save you a lot of potential wasted time.
2. How many guests can they accommodate in the day and the evening?
This question is extremely important to ask from the get go. There is no point visiting a venue if in fact they can't accommodate your desired number of guests. This is definitely a question that should be asked at the initial enquiry stage.
3. Is the venue licensed for civil ceremonies?
If you're planning on having everything under one roof, then this information is crucial from the get go. Not all venues are licensed to hold civil ceremonies.
4. Can you provisionally hold your date and how long for?
If you have found your perfect dream venue, it’s important to provisionally hold your date to avoid being disappointed. Some venues let you hold a date for free until they recieve other enquiries for that date, while others will ask you to pay a refundable or non-refundable deposit.
5. Is the wedding venue available for exclusive hire?
Venue's may host multiple weddings per day. One thing to remember is hotels and historical landmarks will be open to the public or other residents if an exclusive option isn't available or chosen.
6. Who will be the point of contact in the lead-up to the wedding?
You will want to know who will be your point of contact within the planning stage, to answer any queries you may have. On your wedding day the likelihood is that it will be a member of the operational management team who will be your point of contact, so it is a great idea to meet them prior.
7. Do you have to use their recommended suppliers?
Most venues will supply you with a list of recommended suppliers, who they regularly work with and trust. It can be helpful if you’re not sure where to start with your search for a wedding photographer, cake supplier etc. However, some venues will request that you stick only to their recommended suppliers, which can limit your choices and potentially not work within your budget.
8. Are there any décor restrictions?
If no naked flames are allowed then you definitely won’t be walking down a candle-lit aisle, although there are some great artificial flamed candles available. Restrictions are heavily applied to more historical venues, like a castle or national trust venues. That's definitely something to think about.
9. Are fireworks/confetti allowed?
Not all venues allow fireworks or confetti, so make sure you check this. More and more venues are open to allowing biodegradable confetti.
10. Do they offer complimentary menu tasting?
Sample and try out the wedding breakfast ahead of time. This will allow you to not only taste the dishes, but also check the presentation. Most venues will allow you to make small alterations to the dishes, but do check. Some venues may charge a fee to sample your menu. I would recommend opting for this to manage your expectations, and to make sure its exactly what you want to be served on your wedding day.
11. Are crockery and linen included in the price?
You may be surprised but not all venues include crockery and linen within their package price, make sure to check. It is also worth asking what the crockery and linen look like as they may not go with your theme and you might want to source your own.
12. Can they accommodate a live band?
Not all venues will allow a live band, especially if its a non exclusive venue or a venue that’s in a built up area. If they do, they may have restrictions attached, for example the size of the band or a sound limiter. Make sure to check this before booking your band.
13. What are the bar prices?
Its definitely worth checking the bar prices at your venue. Some hotels and popular wedding venues are typically higher priced than your standard high street bars. If the venue’s bar prices are overpriced, you might be able to negotiate a special price for one or two different drink types to try and ease the cost of the night for your guests.
14. How much will the initial deposit be and when is the final payment due?
Every venue will require a deposit to secure your wedding day. This may be a fixed sum or a percentage of your estimated quote. With your final payment you will be under contract. It is imperative that you know when this is due, and make sure it is paid on time. Another great tip is to find out if you can arrange a payment plan with your venue to help spread the cost.
15. What’s the cancellation policy?
If for whatever reason you find yourself having to cancel your wedding you'll need to know what the policy is. If you cancel far enough in advance, most venues can return your full deposit. However, you may not get it back after a certain date or you may in fact find yourself having to pay a percentage of your estimated quotation.
If you would like help sourcing your breathtaking wedding venue and planning your dream day, make sure to check out our services section on our website.