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saweddings.co.za

Are you on the hunt for the perfect wedding venue?

Hunting for the perfect wedding venue is undoubtedly one of the most exciting stages of the wedding planning process, however it's important to take in as much information as possible. If you don't ask all the questions and you are just admiring the view, you could end up missing a key element or worse-a hefty associated cost you weren't aware of! So before you put pen to paper, sit down with your fiancé or wedding coordinator to hash out the following questions:

1. Is my chosen date available?
Ask flat out if your wedding day is available and whether or not there are any other weddings book on that day. Its good to start with this question as you can avoid disappointment earlier.

2. What are the venue rates and wedding packages?
This is important to as weekends are always more expense than week days, the same goes for summer versus winter seasons. Also keep in mind whether there might be any hidden costs.

3. Is there a payment schedule?
Nobody is expected to pay their venue costs upfront - you can organise to pay your deposit and then a monthly instalment over the year you are planning your wedding.

4. Ask if there is a cancellation policy.
This is definitely required as anything can go wrong, any time. Some venues will be lenient to you if you have to postpone your wedding, you might just lose your deposit.

5. Is there a final day to make changes?
Find out when the last possible date is that you can still make changes. In most cases it's usually the week before your wedding day.

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6. Are there specific set-up and breakdown times?
Most venue contracts states that your set-up will be from 08:00am of the day of your wedding and breakdown will commence after 12pm that same evening, unless otherwise arranged. If your venue is open to the public and has public operation hours they might not permit set-up until those hours are over.

7. Sound Restrictions?
This is a common misconception at weddings and events. Many venues fall with residential areas and this can come with grumpy neighbours and potential complaints. Always keep in mind the possibility of sound restrictions when planning your big day.

8. Decorative restrictions?
Open flames can be an issue with venues, especially if there is draping (fabrics) involved. So ask about having candles on display- as flames are not always a welcome element at every venue anymore.

9. Will there be a venue manager onsite?
Your wedding coordinator should not be tasked with running your wedding as well as the actual venue, the venue belongs to the venue manager. They are definitely needed on the day - they know the space and flow of things on-site the best.

10. Point of contact before and on the day from the venue?
You need to know who to bother with last-minute added questions, but this responsibility usually falls to the venue manager.

11. In-house catering?
If you are an absolute foodie - be careful as your choice of caterer can be venue-specific. You may be subjected to your only choice being the in-house catering as part of the venue agreement.

12. Catering Limitations?
This means that with a set budget you can only be afforded certain menu options. For example choosing between having canapés or midnight snacks on offer for your guests.

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13. Preferred service providers?
Adding in with the above, your chosen venue might persuade you to use their preferred suppliers over yours. It's usually because they have a positive working relationship and said service providers already know the venue like the back of their hand.

14. Liquor License.
Your venue will of course have one! But be sure to clarify what time the venue will stop serving alcohol as per liquor laws.

15. The Bar.
You will need to decided if you would like a cash bar, a running tab or both. It can be a difficult decision. Some couples chose to cover all the wines, where guests are then asked to pay for the hard tack!

16. Another important question to ask pertaining to the bar setup, is whether there is a corkage free - let's hope not!

17. Will there be enough parking for the wedding party and all your guests? You don't want to have to walk a mile in your wedding shoes after all, theres plenty dancing to come!

18. Does the venue offer security?
Just in case you know, a guest tries to steal the wedding cake...

19. Staff.
Remember to ask the venue if staff is included in their quote.

20. Finally is there a CONTINGENCY PLAN?
Don't ever forget about a back up plan for your big day, you can never trust the weather man!

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