Planning your wedding typically starts by selecting your venue/date. Your choices of venue could be location, style, budget, available date, food, gardens, inside décor, the list can go on and on! However there are some key questions you may want to ask prior to signing your contract, here are my top five:
- How much time do we have to set up and break down the event? This is an important question as some locations only provide you with one hour before and one hour after, for any couple truly looking to personalize your event this is typically not enough time. You may be able to pay for extra time, so the next question would be can you and what is the cost? However, if you can’t you may wish to try a venue with more flexibility and set up and break down time. Now let’s take this one step further, Can I get ready on property? This goes back to the timeline, some couples assume that hair and make-up and getting dressed is always ok on property, they also assume you can do your pre ceremony photos on property with no worries either. This is not a great assumption, again if you only have one hour to “flip” the room for your wedding this often means there is another event in the facility before you and you can’t get ready on property, so again ask prior to making any final decisions.
- Do you allow for vendors to be used off your preferred vendor list? Every venue offers a preferred vendor list, (So do all planners), but the concern here is that some venues may require you to use only people off their list. I am not at all a fan of this practice. I would always want my couples to have the option to hire in any insured vendor that they choose to ensure their sense of style and personal needs are being met. Some locations do include a cake in the package, from several local bakeries, as long as you do a tasting this often works out in your favor as part of the package price.
- Can we select the five hour time frame we have the building or do we fit into a day wedding or night wedding schedule? This becomes important when you have a church wedding, the church is often very specific with your time for your ceremony, if there is a gap after the ceremony you now have to consider where your guests go after the ceremony if the venue is not available immediately after the ceremony. For example if you have a 2PM ceremony that ends at 3PM and then ½ hour drive to the venue but the venue won’t let you on property until 7PM Reception where do you tell your guests to go? Some people will skip your ceremony and only go to the reception so they do not have to deal with this concern, and then some of your guests are missing the entire point of your day, the wedding ceremony!
- Can we bring in any food from outside vendors or family? For years families, especially the Italian ones, would want to bring in cookies or pastry that family members or certain bakeries created for your wedding. Do not assume this is ok! Often today you can bring in items from bakeries that certified kitchens and insurance but NOT from family members, so always ask if this is important to your day. Even having a food truck as fun addition to the party may seem like a totally acceptable idea, but you should ask first before you book this additional expense.
- What décor restrictions do you have? For example, did you know many venues do not allow candles anymore? You have to use battery operated LED candles instead. Did you know many venues do not allow sparklers on property? They are considered Fireworks and not allowed at many of today’s venues as they are deemed a fire hazard. Did you know that tiny crystals and or Mylar sparkled on the tables is often not allowed due to the mess it leaves behind and they clog and or break the vacuums? So many examples on this subject as well, probably warrants its own top 5!