What to consider when choosing a venue – The Ultimate Checklist!

what to consider when choosing a wedding venue 1
Choosing a venue is probably one of the first things on your wedding timeline that you will have to attend to. It is one of the most important aspects of your wedding day as this is the place that the whole day will be held in, where you guests will enjoy themselves immensely and where memories will be made. Visiting countless venues and deciding that again this one isn’t for you can be tiring and down-heartening for something that is meant to be so much fun. My suggestion is to make yourself a ‘Venue selection checklist’ that you can list what are the most important features for you and your groom for your day and does it have the facilities that will be needed by your guests. This will make the selection much easier as you won’t have to be wracking your brain trying to remember which venue had what! Below are important aspects I would consider when choosing a wedding venue. You can pick out which apply to you according to the type of wedding that you would like.
Here is an example of the questions you should ask and the information you should gather when you are viewing the venue:

Contact Details

Venue name
Contact person
Address
Telephone
Fax
Email address
Website
Date, Time and Location
  • Is the venue available on the required date and for what time?
  • If not are there any alternative dates?
  • How many weddings or events take place per day at the venue?
  • Are there another weddings or events scheduled for the required date if they allow for more than one function per day?
  • How far in advance could you have access to the room(s) in order to begin decorating/setting up for the ceremony and/or reception?
  • Can the venue be used for the rehearsal (if you are having a civil ceremony at the venue)?
  • How many hours will the venue allow for the reception?
  • Is there a particular time that the reception should finish?
  • Do they have a late license for the bar? Is there an additional charge for this?
  • Is the venue easily accessible for guests? Is there any public transport/preferred taxi companies?
 
Legalities
  • Does the venue hold a license for a civil marriage ceremony?
  • If so, which authority do they fall under?
  • Do they have the contact details for a registrar/officiant?
  • What are the insurance requirements for the venue?
  • Do they hold an entertainment license?
 
Facilities
  • Which rooms/facilities would be available on the required date?
  • Are there separate rooms for the ceremony and reception?
  • If not, what arrangements will be made to accommodate guests while the ceremony room is set up for the reception?
  • How many guests can each of the rooms accommodate?
  • Do they have floor plans available for you to see as well as table layouts?
  • Does the venue supply the seating for the ceremony?
  • Does the venue offer the option of a marquee?
  • Are there any outside locations at the venue?
  • Is there a room available for the bridal party to use during the reception if there is no accommodation at the venue?
  • Is there a room that could be used as a crèche, if necessary?
  • Are there any special facilities for children (including highchairs)?
  • Is there a quieter area where elderly guests could escape the noise of a band or DJ?
  • Is there a room available for the storage of wedding presents?
  • Does the venue insurance cover for loss or damage to wedding presents?
  • Does the venue have disabled access?
  • Are there adequate cloakroom and toilet facilities (bear in mind your guest numbers)?
 
 
Venue Costs
  • What is the cost of hiring the venue for the ceremony and reception and the cost per head?
  • What does the venue cost include? Clarify and obtain a written quotation.
  • What kind of deposit is required?
  • What are your payment options?
  • What is the cancellation policy?
  • What are their wedding packages and what is included?
  • Does the price include VAT and will a service charge be added to the final bill?
  • Is there an additional charge for the wedding rehearsal?
  • Is there an additional charge for the menu tasting?
  • Is there an extra charge for renting chairs and tables (e.g. historic venues)?
Catering
  • Does the venue insist on using in-house catering?
  • What are the catering options (drinks reception, buffet, sit-down meal etc.)?
  • Can you see a list of menu options?
  • When can they arrange a menu tasting?
  • Do they make provision for special dietary requirements? For example vegetarians/coeliacs?
  • If in-house catering is not an option, does the caterer have to be selected from an approved list of caterers?
  • Could the venue recommend a reputable catering company?
  • Are the kitchen facilities adequate for outside caterers (e.g. refrigeration in a community hall)?
  • Is a cake stand and cake knife supplied?
  • Is there a cutting fee for the cake?
  • Do they have a preferred order of service (e.g. speeches before or after the meal)?
  • How many waiting staff will be provided? Ratio of waiting staff to guests?
  
Alcohol and bar service
  • Does the venue provide the alcohol (wine and champagne) and bar service?
  • Do they require a cash bar or is an open bar an option?
  • Does the venue supply bartenders?
  • Is there a charge for unopened bottles after the reception?
  • Is there a corkage fee?
  • Are there any restrictions regarding the type or quantity of alcohol to be served?
 
Décor
  • Ask to see photographs from previous weddings
  • Are there any decorating restrictions?
  • What are the table settings liuke? Candelabras, napkins, table covers etc. are they included or are they extra?
  • Does the venue supply menus, place cards, seating plan etc?
Entertainment
  • Do they have a Public address (PA) system that could be used for speeches?
  • Could they recommend a DJ or Band?
  • Is the dance floor big enough to accommodate the guests?
 
Accommodation
  • Is there first night accommodation (honeymoon suite) for the bride and groom?
  • Is there overnight accommodation for guests?
  • What is the cost of overnight accommodation?
  • Is it possible to make a block booking with a wedding discount?
  • Do they have special arrangements with, or details of, local hotels (or other accommodation options) for overnight guests?
Parking
  • How many car parking spaces are available?
  • Do you need to hire a parking attendant?
  • Coach parking?
  • Cost of parking?
  • Are there any other events in the area on that date that may make parking difficult for guests?
 
Restrictions
  • Music and ceremony content (vows, readings etc.) restrictions for civil marriage ceremonies in approved premises?
  • Do they allow confetti or rose petals to be thrown at the venue?
  • Do they allow candles/sparklers to be lit in the reception room?
  • Do they allow professional fireworks at the venue?
  • Can wine or other alcohol be given as favours (liquor by-laws)?
  • Where is the smoking area?
  • Are there any photographic or videography restrictions?
 
 
Miscellaneous
  • Does the venue have a Wedding Day Co-ordinator and what duties does he/she have?
  • Do they recommend a wedding planner if the venue doesn’t have one?
  • What additional equipment (e.g. cutlery, crockery, linen, chair covers etc.) would have to be hired for ceremony and/or reception?
  • Are these equipment rentals included in the cost of hiring the venue?
  • Who are the preferred suppliers for the venue?
  • Does the venue have air conditioning?
  • Can the lighting be dimmed?
  • Does the venue have any refurbishments or construction work planned for the date of the wedding?
  • Is there a contingency plan for poor weather?
  • What photographic locations/suggestions do they have?
  • Do they have arrangements with local taxi companies that offer a reliable and reasonably priced service?
Photo Credits: Couple via Castleleslie.com, Bride on staircase via Village at Lyons, Couple at lake via Sneem Hotel, Kissing couple via onscreenweddings.com, Couple lying down via diamondsbyeyal.com.

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