Wedding Venue Queries: What, Who, When and How to ask!

Published: 07th March 2011
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Organising a wedding – even a relatively simple one – is no mean feat! And without the right venue, pulling together a perfect day of celebration could prove incredibly troublesome.

The first, and perhaps the most important thing to pay close attention to is first impressions. The bride and groom will only be able experience that initial response once, so make it count! Whilst it’s not necessarily essential to abandon venue hire plans based on an iffy first impression, it’s worth being honest about venues and their compatibility to a couple’s wishes. It’s also worth assessing first impressions of a venue’s wedding coordinator – clashing personalities do not a happy wedding plan make!

Initial Phone Calls
• What dates are available?
• What are the basic prices for venue hire/catering/accommodation? What packages do they offer?

It’s best to ring round a few venues and get an idea of fair pricing. A lot of wedding and reception venues are willing to negotiate, particularly in the cases of larger wedding parties.

The Wedding Ceremony/Reception
• What’s included in the hire cost? Asking for a detailed breakdown at this point is a good idea.
• What’s the capacity seated/standing?
• Will the venue be open to non-wedding party customers at any point during the day?
• What are the provisions of staff throughout the day?
• What types of seating/table layouts/decorations are on offer? Ask to see photographs and client reviews from as many weddings as possible – for inspiration as much as anything!
• What budget options are available? Wedding coordinators are likely used to the fact that every wedding event is open to cutting costs if possible. Moving the ceremony flowers through to the reception area to cut florist costs, thriftier menu options etc. It’s essential to be up front about the budget, but never be afraid to try and negotiate a little!
• What are the facilities like? Grubby toilets, dirty kitchens, messy corridors and badly sorted cloakrooms are a definite NO!
• What are the parking provisions for the wedding party/guests?
• How are disabled guests catered for?
• What are the musical arrangements? E.g. do they have a sound system etc?
• What are the catering provisions? Is there an in-house kitchen or can they produce a list of approved caterers?
• Is the venue child-friendly? E.g. are there any areas kids aren’t permitted? Gardens, the bar etc.
• What are the prices/limits/staffing details of the bar?
• In the event if inclement weather, what provisions can be made indoors?
• Is there a recommended accommodation list if the venue doesn’t have its own rooms?
• What’s the entertainment like in the local area? A few quiet pubs, parks or children’s play areas could prove a godsend in terms of occupying young guests or those without close accommodation to take a stealthy pre-reception nap in!
• What’s the overall cost of the wedding including extras?

It’s not unreasonable to sit down with a helpful wedding coordinator and plan a detailed financial breakdown of the day. Some couples feel a little rude doing this without committing to a venue, but confidence pays off in the end!

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