10 Questions to Ask Before Booking a Wedding Venue
Before you pick flowers or sample cake, you’ll have to choose a wedding venue. Some venues offer everything
from coordination assistance to chair coverings. Other venues haphazardly piece together an event that may,
or may not, be worth your cash. No matter how great a venue looks from the outside, signing a contract before
asking the essential questions is never a good plan.
1. Rental Fee
First and foremost, find out how much any given venue will cost to rent. Pay special attention to the
items included in a rental fee. Some venues consider items like chairs and tables part of the overall
rental fee, while others may charge extra.
2. Staff Fee
You’ll need someone to serve food, pour drinks, and usher guests towards the right table. Staffing fees
aren’t uncommon, but knowing how much you’ll have to pay is always ideal.
3. Set-Up Fee
Unless you plan on asking your wedding party to set up and take down tables, chairs, and centerpieces,
you will have to pay a set-up / take-down fee. This fee can be quite high depending on the size of
4. Drink Cost
Ask about possible bar packages before you book any venue. In most cases, you can select from a full bar,
non-alcoholic bar, limited bar, or cash bar. Furthermore, they may charge corkage fees if you source your
own alcohol, or prohibit sourcing your own alcohol altogether.
If your venue is located in a busy metropolitan center, your guests may wind up paying for parking. Find
out if the venue you have selected offers some kind of valet parking, or ask about renting out a large
parking area. A shuttle service is also a nice alternative.
6. Overtime Fees
Weddings can run later than you originally expected. If your guests stay two hours later than planned,
you may wind up with a large venue bill. Ask about any overtime fees, and try to work these fees out
of your contract. Also, be sure that staying late is even possible - nothing kills a party more than being
forced out the door right when you get in a groove.
7. Food Costs
Most weddings include some kind of meal. Whether snacks, a buffet, a large dinner, or light brunch, food is
often the most expensive part of renting any venue. Inquire about various food packages and whether or not
you can bring in your own caterer.
8. Service Fees
Do you plan on getting married on-site? If this is the case, uncover any hidden service fees before you
say your “I Do’s.”
Brides often need a place to change, and guests may need a place to lounge. Large venues tend to come
with many different amenity options. Smaller venues may not have as many options, but this is something
that you can speak to an on-site manager about.
10. Coordination Fees
If a site offers a wedding coordinator of some sort, think about hiring this person. Weddings seem
simple enough, but lots of confusion can happen mid-event. A wedding coordinator may save the day!
Keep in mind that any package, rate, or plan can be negotiated. Most venues thrive off of large events
such as weddings, which gives you an upper hand. If you can’t haggle price-wise, try and include china or
place settings in your package deal. You’ll find that most venue managers are more than accommodating.