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Friday, October 7, 2011

Your Venue Voyage

When searching for a venue for your wedding and/or wedding reception, the better prepared you are the smoother everything will go on your wedding day.  You don't want to receive any unexpected "You can't do that's" in the middle of decorating, or realizing that you have more guests than what the fire department has deemed to be safe.  The list goes on from there.

Here is a general outline of what you should know to ask when you look for a venue. I know I'll forget a few, but these are the ones that come right off the top of my head.  One key thing to remember that is in "venue speak" provide does not always mean something automatically comes with rental package.  It may mean that it can be acquired for you usually with an additional rental fee.  

Here is your list of questions!
  1. Who is the contact person that I will need to speak to the most.
  2. Who is the backup person I would speak to in case that person isn't available?
  3. What are your business hours?
  4. Do you have 2 phone numbers (landline & cell) that I can call if I have a question?
  5. When do you not want me to call?
  6. What is you Fax number?
  7. What is your mailing address?  (Is it different than your street address?)
  8. Is your facility handicapped accessible?
  9. Do you have an elevator to get to the reception?
  10. What is included in the price of the rental?
  11. Is AV equipment and or sound system available?  If so how much does it cost?  Is it maintained properly?
  12. Do you know of any other community events taking place on the day of our wedding?
  13. Do you know of any road construction that might be happening around the time of the year we want to have our wedding?
  14. Are there any competing noises such as planes, trains, sporting events, or concerts?
  15. What if you rent some of your space out to a group that might not like being near a wedding reception?
  16. If I get a professional Wedding Coordinator do you give them discounts that they can pass on to me?
  17. Rental of Venue:
    1. How do you determine the cost of the room fee?
      1. Do I need a minimum amount of food ordered?
      2. If I meet the minimums, can I get the room for free?
    2. Rehearsal:  Does that cost extra?
      1. What day do you usually schedule rehearsals?
      2. How much time do you allow for a rehearsal?
  18. Catering:
      1. Do you allow outside caterers?
      2. What if I want to bring in my own cultural cuisine?
      3. We have our own restaurant, does that make a difference?
      4. Is gratuity included in the price?
      5. What about feeding my vendors?  What are my options?
      6. Do you make cakes or a can you do a dessert bar?
      7. Does a dessert bar cost extra?
      8. Will you cut the cake?
      9. Do you provide the knife and server?
      10. Will there be plates there when we cut the cake?  Can we bring our own?
      11. Do you have a container that we can put our cake top in?
    1. Bartenders:
      1. Can I have an open bar?
      2. Can I have a closed bar?
      3. Can I bring in my own alcohol?
      4. What types of alcohol can I bring?
      5. Do you have and how much is the corkage fee?
      6. What will you do if someone appears to have too much to drink?
      7. What about event insurance?  Do I need that?
    2. Tables
      1. How many and what sizes do you have?
      2. Do you have special tables for the gifts, guest book, DJ and other vendors?
      3. Will the guest book table and gift table be outside of the room?
    3. Tablecloths and Napkins
      1. What color?  
      2. What size?
      3. Black, white or tan only?
      4. What if I want another color you don't have?
      5. Do you have napkin rings?  Colors, costs, etc.
    4. Do you have all of the glassware that we will need?
      1. Water glasses
      2. Coffee cups
      3. Toasting glasses
      4. Do any of these have to be rented?
      5. Do you provide beverage napkins?
    5. Flatware and China/Dishware
      1. What does it look like?
      2. What if I would rather have another pattern?
      3. Can I bring in my own dessert plates?
    6. Do you have a dance floor?
      1. How big is it?
      2. Does it cost extra?
      3. Can the DJ be close to it?
    7. What can I do for decorating?
      1. Table Decorations:
        1. Open-flame?
        2. Votives?
        3. Enclosed flame?
        4. Floating Candles?
        5. Party-Lite Candles?  Any particular type?
        6. Battery operated only?
        7. Can I have confetti or glitter?
        8. Do you have any other limitations on table decorations?
      2. Walls
        1. Can I use:
          1. Tacks, 
          2. Tape, 
          3. Nails, 
          4. Putty, 
          5. Quake wax, 
          6. Glue,
          7. Staples 
          8. Magnets?
      3. Ceilings
        1. What can I hang up?
        2. Am I allowed to do anything on a ladder?
        3. Will you decorate for me?
        4. If so, how much will that cost and how soon would it be done?
        5. Can we hang anything from the chandeliers? 
        6. Can we drape anything across the room?
          1. Do you have hooks already set into the walls for this?
          2. If so, what type of fabric is allowed?
      4. Floors
        1. Can I use a runner?
        2. How will you let me attach it to the floor?
        3. Can I tape our monogram (removable) to the floor?
        4. What else should I know?
      5. Balloons
        1. Are they allowed?
        2. What types?
        3. What if some get lost up to the ceiling?
        4. Can I have an arch if you won't let me have other arrangements?
      6. Chairs
        1. How many come will fit into the room for the size of the tables that you have?
        2. How much do extra chairs cost?
        3. Can I rent chairs that I like better?
        4. Do you have chair covers that fit them?
        5. Do you have chair sashes?
      7. Signage:
        1. Will there be signs outside?
        2. Will there be signage and directions inside?
        3. Can I make my own signs?
        4. If so, are there any restrictions
      8. Parking:
        1. Do you only have street parking?
        2. Is there a fee for parking?
        3. Do you have handicapped accessible parking?--(some don't)
        4. Do you have access to a parking lot close by?
        5. Do you offer valet parking?
      1. Music:
        1. When is the cutoff time for the music?
        2. How soon can a DJ set up?
        3. Can we bring in our own music and just use an iPod?  I have to insert an Eeeks! here.
      2. What is the amount of the damage deposit?
        1. When is it due?
        2. Will you do a walkthrough with someone to make sure we get our deposit back?
        3. How soon would we get a damage deposit back?
        4. Do you just keep a credit card on file and then charge it in case there is damage?
I hope that these help you or give you some insight on what you can expect.  Again I know that I've probably missed some points, but this will get you ahead of the game.  Assumptions are made on both sides that can cause problems.  Those being the venue and also the client.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  They love it when you know what to ask.  In this situation when I've been hired as a Wedding Coordinator, I've found that the client loves it when they don't have to ask the questions and just have their Coordinator ask the questions.  Chances are a Coordinator knows a lot about many different venues as far as what they allow and how any particular venue operates.

Wishing you the greatest of days!

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You may use this article if you give credit to Janis Flagg of Greatest of Days

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