Once you’ve broken the news of your engagement and let on that you’re seriously planning the ceremony, one of the first questions you should expect to hear is, “Have you booked a venue?”
In the modern day, there are a variety of different venues you can choose from, including country clubs, art galleries, museums, hotels, sports stadiums, libraries, and more. Essentially, any space that will allow a group to gather is an option. However, wedding receptions often have special concerns. When you’re in the process of booking a wedding venue, be sure to keep these seven questions in mind:
- How many guests can you accommodate? If you’re holding a huge shindig for hundreds and your local library will only host 80, you’re going to have major issues. Make sure to clear this up ahead of time.
- Do you have an in-house caterer? Are there limitations on outside caterers? There are basically two kinds of wedding venues: full service and not-full service. Full service venues often come with florists, caterers, linens, and table and chair rental – the whole nine yards. Not-full service venues only provide the space and you provide the rest. Full service venues take a lot of the stress out of coordination, but they take away your chance to shop around for the best deal. At some full service venues, you can use your own private vendors, but you’ll need to pay a fee to the in-house vendors on top of paying your private vendor.
- Is the site handicapped accessible? Depending on the needs of your wedding party and guests, this is an essential question to remember. Even if nobody in your party is legally handicapped, having elevators and ramps can help elderly guests move about far more easily.
- Who is responsible for setting up and taking down the décor? Some venues will have a clean up crew ready to help for an extra fee, and others will leave it entirely up to you. You may be able to pay your private vendors extra to help, if necessary.
- How early can I/my vendors arrive at the site for set up? If you’re having your party at a reception hall, generally you can get in very early to start preparing. However, if you’re partying at a museum, library, art gallery, stadium, or other public venue, your time may be limited.
- How many weddings will occur on my day? It’s unlikely your wedding will be the only wedding going on at an event space, particularly if you’re tying the knot during a popular time of year. Make sure that you know what else is going on that day and that you get the time for which you paid.
- What time do my guests need to leave the building? Knowing how much time you have to set up, celebrate, and then clean up will make logistics a lot easier. Additionally, some venues will levy heavy fees on receptions that go past their time allotment (think up to $500 an hour), so not knowing the limits could be costly.
Understanding the details of your wedding venue will make your party much smoother and more fun. Be sure you’re in the know when it comes to the details surrounding your wedding venue.
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