Wedding venue shopping tips
questions to ask your venue before you book
Top Questions, tips, & tricks for selecting the perfect venue
13 Questions to Ask while on your tour
While touring is the best time to get the low down on information from your potential venue. Preparedness is key & arriving full of questions will allow you to get so much more out of your tour.
- What is the list of inclusions in the package?- As a standard rule of thumb most venues include tables & chairs in base packages for x number of guests. However, its worth asking the question to make sure you fully understand the fine print of exactly what is included. The biggest financial needle movers of inclusions are tables, chairs, and event insurance. Which would be hundreds of additional dollars to rent them individually if not provided by the venue. Its also worth asking what type of tables are included so you can begin figuring out layout & seating arrangements for example 60" tables seat 8 guests comfortably, 72" seat 10 guest comfortably.
- What does the venue staffing look like on wedding day & what will their responsibilities be? Determining many dedicated staff members from the venue will be onsite during wedding day offers a glimpse into how involved the venue will be at executing day of tasks
- Are set up & tear down fees included in the base price? Make sure you understand if the venue is responsible for full set up and tear down of if you will be
- Is there an exclusive, preferred, or recommended vendor list? Here's the breakdown of vendor lingo....make sure you understand these differences because vendor lists often mean more $$$. Exclusive vendor means you MUST select these vendors in order to have your wedding at the venue. Make sure you understand this policy and research the vendors on the exclusive list as their pricing could impact your ability to choose the venue. Preferred vendor means the venue may provide a list of preferred vendors & you must pay a fee to use anyone outside this list. Recommended vendor means the venue has a list of vendors they have previously worked with, had a good experience, and recommend to other couples without a financial implication on your decision. Open vendor means you have the flexibility to choose any vendor you like.
- What is the venue seated capacity? This is good information to know for your maximum number of guests. It's also worth making the distinction of "seated" capacity, some venues include standing room only as part of their capacity which could potentially be misleading. Also make sure that number is calculated separate and won't interfere with designated dance floor, cake table, etc.
- How many guests are included in the base price? This question could have a big impact on how many make the cut on your guest list
- Is there a bad weather backup plan? Texas weather can change by the minute, so its important to have a solid backup plan in the event of rain or high winds. Ask your venue how they make the determination of "bad weather" & what the process of changing the game plan looks like from a venue perspective
- Are there any mandatory financial obligations NOT included the base package pricing that are required?- Some common examples include security guards, host liquor license, TABC licensed bartenders, professional coordination services & event insurance
- Are there any venue restrictions I should be aware of?- Common examples include reception must end by a certain time, local noise ordinances, must be out of the bridal suite & grooms suite by a certain time
- What is your alcohol policy? Is there a fee to bring in outside alcohol? Is guest BYOB allowed? TABC licensed bartender policy?
- What is required to get the security deposit back & when will it be returned?- Most venues have a departure cleaning check list that details everything required to ensure the full security deposit is returned- ask them for this list so you can gain better insight into what is required at the end of the event in terms of cleanup. Its also important to ask their policy on returning the security deposit, most venues return deposits less any damages within a week or two of the event date but some can be up to a month later.
- What percentage of couples get 100% of their security deposit back?- Do they have a regimented, strict, cleaning check list where one item out of place forfeits the security deposit? Or are they relatively lax in their requirements?
- Do you offer a cleaning fee charge in lieu of completing a cleaning check list?- Some venues allow couples to opt to pay a base cleaning fee instead of cleaning themselves. Find out how much this fee is so you can later determine if its in your budget.