In today’s episode of Ask the Planner, I’m revealing the fourteen crucial questions you're probably forgetting to you ask your wedding venue.
From storage to service fees, hidden costs, and exclusive vendors, these are important questions that can significantly affect your planning and your wedding budget.
Whether you’ve booked your venue or you’re searching for one, this episode will be helpful no matter where you are in the process.
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HIGHLIGHTS FOR THIS EPISODE: 14 Crucial Questions You Forgot to Ask Your Wedding Venue
Today’s topic is an important one because your wedding venue affects so much of your wedding planning and your wedding budget!
Whether you’re just starting the venue search or you’ve locked in a venue and are further along in the process, this is a crucial episode to listen to so that there aren’t any surprises after you’ve signed the contract with your wedding venue. Whether it’s services that you thought were included or additional vendors or fees that you didn’t plan for, this episode will help prepare you with all the right questions to ask to avoid costly mistakes.
In the episode, I talk about:
- Wedding day storage and storage fees [7:53]
- Vendor load-in time [8:06]
- What happens if your venue hosts multiple events 8:31]
- Vendor load-out requirements and overnight storage [9:15]
- Noise restrictions and sound ordinances [9:39]
- Floorplan construction and dance floor size [10:04]
- Service fees [12:14]
- Transportation requirements [13:07]
- Rentals [13:44]
- Exclusive vendors [15:07]
Links Mentioned in the Episode
- Wedding Vendor Email Templates and Interview Questions Bundle
- ASK THE PLANNER Resource Shop
- @AskthePlannerPodcast on Instagram
- Book a 90-minute Clarity Call to get wedding planning help specific to your unique situation
- 20 Most Overlooked Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue
Thank you to our podcast sponsors!
If you prefer to read, here's the text . . .
14 Crucial Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue
If you’re near the beginning of your planning, it’s important to ask these questions ahead of time so you get the entire picture. And if you’ve already signed the contract, it’s totally fine. You can make sure you have the answers to all of these questions as you continue your planning so there aren’t any big surprises on the wedding day.
This podcast episode is an expansion of one of my previous blog posts, which you can find at verveeventco.com/weddingvenuequestions. That post actually links to a freebie I have called 20 Most Overlooked Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue.
And, if you want to make your life SUPER EASY, you can visit my Resources shop and purchase the Wedding Vendor Email Templates and Interview Questions bundle so you ALWAYS know what to ask each vendor when you’re interviewing them. Plus, I include some helpful tips and things to know when it comes to booking hotels, caterers, and transportation.
If you’ve ever emailed a vendor and then frozen because you weren’t sure what you needed to ask them, or felt like you should be asking them a bunch of questions but didn’t really know what to say, these email templates were written for you.
LOGISTICAL WEDDING VENUE QUESTIONS
First, let’s talk about logistics. The flow of your day is profoundly affected by everyone’s comings and goings. So let’s talk about storage, arrivals, departures, etc.
The questions you need to make sure you ask are:
- May we store items at the venue prior to our wedding day? And is there a storage fee?
- At what time are my vendors allowed to access the space to begin setup? I like to arrive no later than 10 am. But if you’re at a property like a hotel, they might try to squeeze in a morning breakfast into the space before your vendors can set up, which might cost you extra if they have less time to set up than they normally would.
- Going along with that, if they’re a larger property, ask them how many other events could be happening simultaneously with yours? Do they have multiple weddings happening? If so, how do they space them out?
- Is it possible for guests from other parts of the venue (public spaces or other private events) to mix with yours? Maybe there’s a restaurant on the property that’s open to the public, or a swimming pool, or something else.
- If you want an exclusive feeling event, you’ll want to avoid this. You also want to make sure the property’s staff can give your wedding enough attention while you’re there.
- At what time do we and our vendors have to vacate the space? May we store items overnight or do we need to take everything with us that night?
- Are there noise restrictions we should be aware of? At what time does the event have to end or by when does amplified music need to be turned off?
Now that we’ve talked about the logistics, let’s talk about the space itself. A huge part of your wedding venue is the layout of the space. What I mean by this is how the event flows when your guests arrive. Where things are set up. Where your tables are, etc.
Make sure you ask your venue:
- Do you have a floorplan that’s to scale of our event spaces with the number of guests you want to invite that’s similar to what you envisioned in terms of tables?
- How big is the dance floor with the number of guests we expect and do you think that’s big enough?
When picking a venue, it’s not just about how many people the space can fit – but the layout! Some intimate venues might say they can fit 150 guests, but they’re spread out in separate rooms, maybe some of your guests on the balcony or on the patio.
Are you okay with that?
Other venues might hold 250 guests, but the only way they can do that is if they have twenty-five 6’ rounds of ten, but you were really hoping to have lots of long tables of 8, but that wouldn’t work with the way the space is configured.
So make sure you ask about potential floor plans and layouts if this is important to you or you’re concerned about having enough space for all your guests.
No one wants to feel like squashed sardines either at their tables or on the dance floor.
So now we’ve talked about the logistics, getting in, setting up, storage, and getting out, as well as the flow of the space.
The next category of questions pertains to additional fees or charges that might not be mentioned during your venue tour but will definitely affect the cost of having your wedding here.
Make sure you ask the wedding venue these questions:
- Are there service fees on top of any of your venue rental fees? If so, how are they calculated?
- Do we need to hire a valet service or transportation company or can all of our guests fit in the parking lot?
- If the venue doesn’t have its own chef or caterer, or you’re allowed to bring in an outside caterer, ask them where does the caterer prep, do they ever need to build a kitchen tent or can they use kitchen space at the venue?
The venue will probably tell you that their rental fee is something like $5,000 or $7,500. But they won’t mention that there’s a 20% service charge on top of that. Or that they charge a service charge of 15% and an administrative fee of 3% on catering. Those charges can really add up!
Some venues have limited or no parking, so that will require you to either hire a valet service or a bus company. This can cost a few extra thousand dollars, and that’s not insignificant.
In terms of catering, venues are all totally different. Some have a small prep kitchen on site, but if you want grilled tenderloin, the caterer will need to set up a kitchen tent to gril the steaks. Others have bigger kitchens, but they only allow their chef to use it and want caterers to set up elsewhere, so make sure you understand how the food is prepared, where, and how this could affect your budget.
Going along with additional fees related to the vendors, you’ll also want to ask your wedding venue questions around the rentals, this means the tables, chairs, etc. Items that are needed for your event to happen that they might provide but not always.
Make sure you ask your wedding venue these questions:
- What tables, chairs, linens, glassware, china come with the venue rental? And may we see them?
- Do you have any exclusive or required vendors, such as caterers, decor, etc.?
You might need to adjust the total cost of the venue based on the tables, chairs, and china that come with it.
For example, you might think one venue is less expensive than another but discover later that the tables and chairs they provide are not quite to your liking, so you have to rent them anyway. But another venue you liked was more expensive, but they already had pretty chairs that you preferred.
Another venue might have an exclusive relationship with a specific vendor. Usually, this is a good thing because it means that this vendor is there often and they trust them to do a good job. But they might also be more expensive than other vendors, so it’s important to know how that exclusive relationship will affect your budget.
Important Wedding Venue Questions to Ask
And that’s it for today’s episode!
I hope this short episode gave you some insight into important questions you should be asking your wedding venue.
It’s important to ask your wedding venue questions about how the event is set up and run, specific vendors that you might need to contract, and additional fees that will significantly affect your budget. These questions will also affect the flow of the day and how smoothly the day will go from setup to tear-down.
If you have ANY questions, I’m more than happy to answer them!
Send me a DM me on IG at @asktheplannerpodcast. I respond to everyone – usually with voice texts!
If you want more help asking your venue and vendors the right questions, make sure you grab my Wedding Vendor Email Templates and Interview Questions bundle so you ALWAYS know what to ask each vendor when you’re interviewing them. Plus, I include some helpful tips and things to know when it comes to booking hotels, caterers, and transportation.
As always, if there’s something that you’re looking for that’s not in the shop. Please let me know. I want to create resources that you want and that will help you!
If you want even more help with your wedding planning, I’m only a phone call away, and you can set up a 90-minute clarity call with me at verveeventco.com/clarity.