Questions to ask when looking for a Venue

Information Courtesy of Lisa Messer – Wedding Event Planner

 

 

We know you have a wide variety of wedding venues from which to choose here in the St. Louis/St. Charles area.  From lavish gala aficionados to barn locations, there really is something for everyone.  The following list of questions and tips will help you navigate your options.  Print this list out and use it as a guide, and add questions that might relate to your unique situation.  Make sure that you get everything IN WRITING in your contract.  In 2014 BrideStLouis.com will be showcasing a wonderful new service, a video review of venues that you can view from BrideStLouis.com – all from just one site.  Enjoy visiting top venues from the comfort of your couch and save hours of time.  We are really excited about this new addition to our web site.  But, in the meantime, here are your questions that you still need to ask:

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  • What is the facility rental fee?  How long can you use the premises?
  • Is there a discount for booking an off-season date or Friday/Sunday wedding?
  • How much is the deposit, when is it due, and is it refundable?  What’s the payment plan for the entire bill?
  • Is there a bride changing area?
  • Is the site handicap accessible?
  • What is the cost for food?  Can you bring in your own food?
  • Can I do a food tasting?
  • Is there a cake cutting fee?  Water service fee?   Any other hidden fees?
  • Can I provide my own cake from a private cake bakery?
  • Are gratuities included in the quoted fee?
  • Do you provide the tables, chairs, linens, etc?  China and Glassware?  Table Centerpieces?
  • What is the cost for the alcoholic beverages?  Can you provide your own liquor?  Is there a corkage fee?
  • Are you licensed to provide alcohol service?
  • Is there a staffing fee for bartenders, waiters, etc.?  Extra fee for more than one bar?
  • Do you have an in-house caterer or a list of “preferred” caterers, or do I need to provide my own?  Even if there is an in-house caterer, do I have the option of using an outside caterer instead?
  • If I hire my own caterer, are kitchen facilities available for them?  (Caterers might charge extra if they have to haul in refrigerators and stoves.)
  • Do you provide a coat check service?
  • If you can have your ceremony there, is there a charge?
  • Is there a setup or break down fee?  Is it a lump sum or per guest charge?
  • What time can my vendors start setting up on the day of the wedding?    Can I hire my own vendors or must I use a “preferred” list?
  • How much time do I have for décor setup?
  • Is there a sound system with adequate speakers or will that need to be rented?  Do they provide a microphone, a cordless mike or a lapel mike?
  • If this is an outdoor location, is there a backup plan for rain or inclement weather?
  • Do I decorate or does your staff?  When do I need to take down and pick up decorations?  What restrictions are there?  Can I use real candles?
  • Are there restrictions on what kind of music I can play, or a time by which the music must end?
  • Can your venue accommodate a live band or DJ?
  • How many restrooms are there?
  • Is there an outdoor area where my guests can mingle?
  • If doing your ceremony at the site, do they charge for rehearsal?
  • Does the venue provide onsite coordinators?
  • What is the cancellation policy?
  • How many people can this location accommodate?
  • What security measures do your offer?
  • Do you have liability insurance?
  • Is there adequate parking onsite?  Do you offer valet parking?
  • Are there hotels nearby?
  • Do you have signage or other aids to direct guests to my event?
  • Do you have a recycling policy?

 

One thing I also suggest is to visit the site, if possible, when the site is set-up for a wedding.  Bring a camera with you to take photos to jog your memory and document your conversations.  Because the reception generally represents about 50% of your wedding budget, due diligence will keep you a happy bride.

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