Several factors will influence your decision when booking a venue. It may be the location, the style of venue; Barn vs. Hotel, the endless photo opportunities in the beautiful grounds or simply the delicious sounding Wedding Breakfast menu that ticks the box. There will always be extra details to consider when booking so here are a few useful questions to ask your venue before securing your date.
1. How many licensed areas are there?
So you’ve seen the PERFECT place for a ceremony. Great! But what many couples don’t realise is that a license for civil ceremonies doesn’t extend across an entire venue; licensing is done on an individual location basis. Other important choices to consider are if you want the ceremony indoors or perhaps you have your heart set on an outdoor ceremony. Good to remember to enquire about outdoor chair hire, as this may be something you have to organise or an additional cost to factor in. Good to check with your venue how they have adapted to the relaxed licensing rules, which provide more flexibility with ceremony locations to incorporate more covid safe spaces.
2. Is there space for a drinks reception?
When booking a venue, the two things on most couples’ minds are ceremony location and Wedding Breakfast location. But what happens in between? Always ask about what spaces are available for a drinks reception; a chance for your guests to mingle after the ceremony and relax with refreshments while you’re off having your photographs taken. What provisions does your venue make for your favourite Jazz playlist or live Sax and Singer combo? And let’s not forget what drinks are available…Gin bar anyone..!
3. Is there any on-site accommodation?
If you live locally, or you’re getting married in a big city with plenty of hotels in the area, you may not have considered staying at the venue overnight. However, if guests are travelling, or you’re planning lots of fun and games, consider that some people may feel more comfortable and relaxed knowing they can get their head down at the end of the night in a luxurious onsite Manor House for example, exclusively available for hire to the wedding party.
4. Can we sample the menus?
If the venue is providing the food for the reception, they should invite you to a tasting, allowing you to sample the possible menus and make your decision. Ideally, this should take place a few months before the wedding, so that any issues can be ironed out, and alternative dishes can be agreed on for those with dietary restrictions or allergies.
5. Can we have an engagement shoot on-site?
While wedding venue hire will usually always include the rights to have your wedding photography on-site, not all venues permit engagement shoots. Many will, however, as long as you have paid the deposit and signed the contract. As there is limited time on the big day, many appreciate the more relaxed pace of an engagement shoot. It is a good idea to book the shoot a year in advance of your date to fully experience the venue in season and optimise a plan for your Wedding Day photography.
6. Who will be running things on the day?
Most venues will assign an Event Manager to each event. This person will be separate from any private wedding planner you use, and will be in charge of venue-related tasks on the day. Knowing who’s responsible early on can help things go smoothly as you’ll have opportunities to ask questions and iron out issues in advance.
7. When do guest numbers need to be confirmed?
There’s no standard rule for when guest numbers need to be confirmed, so this is an important question to ask. Some may require numbers 4 weeks in advance, while others may ask for final confirmation one week before. Be sure to ask about last minute changes, and any fees that may need to be paid for changes to guest numbers.
8. What’s involved in setting up on the day?
If you want to stick to the time honoured tradition of not seeing your partner before the ceremony, it is important to make sure that you have someone to do all the morning set up on your behalf. On many occasions, an Event Stylist or Florist will be appointed to do this and often couples ask friends and family to lend a hand too. Always enquire is previous day set-up is available, as this can take some stress out of the morning of your wedding.
9. Can items be dropped off at the venue in advance?
Some venues – particularly larger ones – will have storage available for couples to drop off decorations and other personal items before the event. Smaller venues, however, may not have the space. It’s important to know what the situation is early on so that you can arrange for any items to be delivered to the venue at the right time.
10. Who packs up at the end of the night?
As part of the contract, most venues will require the reception room to be emptied out by a certain time to enable the cleaning staff to perform their duties the next morning. Vendors will take their own items, but you will usually need to clear out your own items, like centrepieces. If the venue requires this, ask friends to help.
Bridal Boutique: TalaDaniel; @taladanielbridal