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 and wedding coordinator to hash out the following questions:
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 rather earlier than later.
It's important to know what's included in your venue hire costs and the extras you'll need to either pay for or outsource. Keep in mind that prices vary for weekday vs weekend weddings and the different seasons.
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.
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, unless the venue is able to book another wedding on your date.
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, so it's always best to check upfront.
This is a common misconception at weddings and events. Many venues are situated in 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.
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.
Your wedding coordinator should not be tasked with running your wedding as well as the actual venue - this task belongs to the venue manager. They are definitely needed on the day as they know the space and flow of things on-site the best.
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.
Adding in with the above, your chosen venue might recommend you to use their preferred suppliers over yours. They have an established positive working relationship and said service providers already know the venue like the back of their hand.
If you would like to bring in your favourite bottles of vino, check with the venue if they allow this and what the corkage fee will be.
Just in case you know, a guest tries to steal the wedding cake...
Remember to ask the venue if staff is included in their quote. And if you require extra staff, what the cost per staff member would be.
Don't ever forget about a back up plan for your big day, you can never trust the weather man!
If you're on the hunt for your perfect wedding venue, be sure to check out our Wedding Venues Throughout South Africa