When searching for a deal, you should be somewhat skeptical when you find one. There is a good chance that if it sounds too good be true, it probably is. But that shouldn’t discourage you completely. I found an amazing venue for a great price and it seems legitimate. But I did ask all the following questions to verify that I wasn’t missing anything.
Venue Restrictions: You should guarantee that you/your vendors have a full understanding of your venue’s restrictions. Ask questions about the venue’s restrictions regarding decorations, noise, smoking and drinking. Venues can have rules about what decorations are permitted. This particularly important when wind is involved and you plan on having items like rose petals, sparklers, confetti, etc. Most venues will have some form of noise restrictions and these are important to know when dealing with DJs and bands. Live music is sometimes not permitted. Given the changing rules about smoking, it is worth asking about the venue’s rules about this. Some may have designated areas for smoking that you and your guests should be aware of. Drinking regulations are usually fairly standard, but you should check about insurance in the case of accidents and property damage.
Time Slots: If your venue has a time slot that you can rent it for, be sure to have a full understanding of what that means. For instance, does the time slot include set up and take down? If not, how much time do you/your vendors have for this before and after? Are there fees for running over on your allotted time? What are the fees? Is there a wedding before/after yours? If so, what are those time slots and what safeguards are put in place to ensure that there is no overlap? In the event of an overlap, how are you accommodated?
Facility Details: Get information about what is available at the facility and what isn’t. Are there areas that are off-limits to your guests? Are there areas that will be accessible to people that aren’t involved in your wedding? Are restrooms available on site? If you are having your ceremony and reception in the same place, ask for details about the procedure. If you’re venue is providing items like linens, table settings and chairs, you’ll want to review all their options. Verify whether you can have your rehearsal at the location prior to the event. If you can, ask what steps you have to take to set it up. The more you can rent from your venue, the more convenient your set up will be, so ask about what they can provide and how much it would cost. Ask if they have photos of previous events to help get a feel for what your event will be like. Do they have a place for vendors to eat?
Insurance: You should ask your venue about their requirements in this area. Some venues may require that you get insurance while others may carry their own. Get a clear understanding of what they are providing and what they are requiring you to get, if anything. If you feel you need additional coverage, you can look into wedding insurance on your own. If the venue is requiring that you get it, get a price estimate for this so you know what the final venue cost will actually be.
Consultants/Coordinators/Planners: If your venue includes a consultant, coordinator or planner make sure you find out exactly what their role in your event will be. Some consultants will be full-service and available to you before, during and after the event while other will have minor coordination responsibilities during the event. Knowing this will help you decide if you need to hire your own planner or not.
All these details will help you assess the real costs and savings of a particular venue and whether it will work for your needs. Remember that you are the client and they should want to satisfy you (Within reason, Bridezillas!). Feel free to negotiate with them on pricing and details of their contract. Even if you don’t end up changing it, you’ll know you didn’t miss out on an opportunity to do so.