Published September 15th, 2020
Planning a wedding can be quite an undertaking, with a lot of important details to consider. With so many moving pieces, care must be taken with the planning to ensure things line up to provide the desired outcome. This is especially true when booking a wedding venue – there is so much more to the perfect wedding venue than just the aesthetic and how it looks. Logistics really matter in a venue. You want to make sure that the venue offers the non-negotiables that you need for your big day, while remaining within your budget.
Prepare yourself and ask the correct questions when touring and before booking. We’ve put together a list of the top 7 questions to ask a wedding venue before reserving.
1. What features does your space offer?
The vibe and style of a venue is arguably the most important part of making your decision: can you picture yourself getting married here? Does the aesthetic align with your vision? The features of an event space can either work with or against this vision. For example, if you want a rustic wedding, you wouldn’t choose an upscale hotel in a city for your reception. Make sure you get the full tour of the venue, or review the virtual tours completely, and take in all the features provided, whether it’s incredible interiors, acres of nature preserve, stunning views, architectural details, and so forth. It’s also important to note that some venues may already have décor built in that contributes to the aesthetic, while others are blank slates that will require you to provide your own décor. That can offer a major benefit.
2. What is the guest capacity?
How many guests you plan to have will be a big decision-making factor when it comes to choosing a venue; most have strict capacity regulations, set by the Fire Marshall, that you’ll need to keep in mind. If you think your guest list will be too high for a certain space, it may not be the right space for your wedding. Alternatively, if you fall in love with a space that can accommodate fewer guests than you planned to have, you’ll have to decide which is more important to you – the venue or guest count.
3. Does the venue have an option for lodging onsite, or are there hotels or other accommodations nearby?
Consideration for your guests’ accommodations, especially if many of them are traveling a distance to attend, could impact your decision to book a venue. Is there a place for guests to stay on-site? If not, are there hotels or other lodging nearby that could be utilized? Will they easily be able to travel to this location from wherever they are staying? This could be a non-issue if you choose a wedding in your hometown or close to the majority of your guests, but if many are traveling, this factor is important.
4. What kinds of services are available to choose from?
Asking about amenities and services offered is one of the most critical questions to ask a wedding venue before booking. This has a huge impact on not only your budget, but also whether you’ll need to bring in rentals, vendors, or even a wedding coordinator to help organize. No two venues are exactly the same, so comparing amenities can be challenging.
Some details you’ll want to inquire about include but are not limited to:
- Will there be other events occurring at the venue during your wedding?
- What is the back-up plan for all parts of my celebration if the weather doesn’t hold up?
- Is there catering required/provided in-house, or can we choose our own providers?
- Does the space have a liquor license? If so, is bar service provided? Can we hire our own bar service?
- Are there locations for photographs?
- Is there space to hold both the ceremony and reception, or the other events of the weekend like the rehearsal dinner, welcome reception, or farewell brunch?
- What are the guest parking/transportation options?
- How many restrooms are available for guest use?
- Is there a dressing room for wedding preparation or outfit changes?
- Is there a safe area to store wedding gifts, flowers, and cake/dessert?
- Are there options for childcare or babysitting?
- Is the facility ADA-compliant and accessible for elderly or disabled guests?
5. How long is the reservation term?
Knowing how long your rental at a venue is will help you plan further details, including vendor set up (many vendors often need at least two hours), what time your guests should arrive, and when to call it a night so vendors can wrap up. Venues will typically charge overtime if you’re not out in time, so this should be included in your questions to ask each event space.
6. What are the details of your regulations, refund policy, cancellation policy, deposit schedule and insurance requirements?
This may be one of the most important questions to ask a wedding venue before booking. Having a full understanding of each venue’s financial & insurance requirements, including what you’ll need to pay for a deposit and their refund or cancellation policies will prepare you and help you avoid any surprises. Most professional venues will provide a copy of their contract terms as a matter of full transparency before reservation. They want to provide surprises as much as you do throughout this process.
7. Are outside vendors allowed?
It’s common for venues to practice restriction when it comes to vendors that are allowed to work on their property due to liability and the overall success of your event; many locations offer a list of pre-approved or provided vendors for you to choose from. If this is the case, you’ll want to make sure you’re comfortable with these vendors before booking. If you have your heart set on a specific caterer or DJ, this is something you’ll want to clear with the venue or continue looking until you find one that allows you to bring in outside vendors.
Contact French’s Point
French’s Point is an oceanfront venue on Maine’s stunning coast, offering 20 waterfront acres and surrounded by more than 100 acres of State Preserve land. With multiple event spaces and on-site lodging, our visitors can enjoy a complete private sanctuary to celebrate their special event with loved ones. Create an experience that reflects your unique style and vision. To learn more about our property, please contact us today.