While the aesthetics of a venue are a huge YES, there is a lot more to the venue than just good looks! So, before you sign the contract with the venue make sure you have clarity on the following things.
Consider having this article with you or keep the important points handy when venue hunting!
1. Pricing Factors
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Usually, it’s a good idea for you to go venue hunting before deciding the date, that way you’ll be able to get a venue relatively easily. I understand our dates cannot always be flexible. If so, you’ve got to check whether the venue is available on the date(s) you want it for.
- Is the Venue Available on the date or alternate date(s) you want it on?
- Can I book a month in advance? Or How much before time can I book the venue?
- Are the rates for weekdays and weekends the same? Or are they different? (Very often weekend prices are higher than weekday ones)
- Are the rates for morning events the same as those for evening events? (Just as the day can have an impact on pricing, so can the timing, often pricing for evening/night events are higher than for events which are held during the day)
Seasons also impact prices of venues, especially in India where we have an entire season dedicated to weddings!
So, if its not wedding season the pricing is going to be much lower than when it is wedding season! High demand, equals higher pricing, remember that.
- Always check the timing and hours included in the rent so that you have an idea as to when your crew can arrive at the venue and how long can you stay there. “What timing is covered in the rental?”
VENUE HACK: Ideally, your event should be the only event happening on that venue site at that particular time, this avoids confusion for guests, the event crew involved in setting up and gives you more venue access, so find out if your event is the only one happening, if not, ask them the cost for a complete buyout and if that’s not possible, make sure to ask how the staff is going to manage multiple events together, and how much experience they have at it!
2. Money and Time – Payment Structure
- Do you have to make an advanced deposit? How much is the deposit?
- Is there a structure to the Payment – Instalments, before the event, after the event etc.?
Most venues want to ensure that they receive the payment before the event has taken place. If not the whole amount then at least a huge chunk of it.
So they have you pay a deposit right after signing the contract, and then slowly through instalments later on, before the actual event takes place. This is to ensure that their payments aren’t at risk.
- What all services are included in the package? Are the service charges, gratuity, cleaning fee and other such things covered in the deal? Or are they charged for separately?
Tip: There are certain items you see a “++” on in the bill. These are those items on which you will be paying tax and gratuity on top of the listed cost.
- In case the event gets cancelled, What is the venue’s cancellation policy?
Tip: You want to ensure you know, how much in advance can you cancel, so you can get all or some of your money back, just in case a cancellation is required.
You also want to know the last date you can make changes to the reservation on. So, remember to ask that too.
3. Venue and other Vendor Services
- Does the venue have a list of approved/ recommended vendors, who can help you out with the wedding?
- Can you bring in your own vendors instead of using those empaneled with the venue? Does the venue have any guidelines which your vendors may have to meet?
Tip: If the venue doesn’t provide vendors, and if you also haven’t found a vendor for yourself yet, it’s a good idea to ask the venue for recommendations. This helps both you and the venue because there is a high probability that the vendor they suggest is going to be comfortable with their venue and this is going to make your planning process a lot smoother, plus the vendor is already aware of the venue guidelines.
4. Easy Accessibility
- Is the venue handicap friendly and accessible?
- Do they have any restrictions, for liquor, loud music etc.?
Tip: A chunk of venues are right in the middle of the city and can be under noise ordinances which would require them to adhere to timings for music. They could also have restrictions of their own. So, ask them till what time the music can be played, does it need to be turned off, or can it be played at a lower volume after that point of time?
- Are there enough washrooms available? Are they hygienic?
- Is there a parking lot available on the site? Is the space enough to accommodate all the guests? Do the guests need to pay for parking?
Tip: Sometimes the parking fee is included in your rental fee for the site, sometimes it isn’t. So again, ask what their guideline is and if the parking fee isn’t covered, how much would it cost for you to host your guests?
5. Venue Specifics
- How many guests can your venue host – capacity of the venue?
Tip: Ask for the capacity including the band/ DJ since these things and the dance floor will require space too.
- Is the sound equipment available or will it have to be rented? Or would the entertainment vendor provide it?
- In case there is rain or change in weather, do they have a backup plan?
Tip: It’s a good idea to have a look at the backup plan too. In case it rains, you want to love site B as much as site A.
- Are there any restrictions on decorations?
- Will the venue staff be helping with the décor or not?
Tip: Some places ask to have non-flame candles or led candles, so check with them if you can use flame candles or not.
6. Catering – Food and Beverages
- Does the venue provide catering? What are their catering charges? Are they included in the package?
- Do they have a minimum number of guests that they’ll serve to? Or is there no bar on the number of people required?
- If they don’t provide caterers, do they have recommendations?
- Can you bring in your own liquor or do you have to source it from them? In this case, if they insist on you buying liquor from them, know that their prices are going to be higher than that of the market, so check if they will be providing bartending services etc within the same cost or will charge extra for that too.
Tip: Venues usually have a minimum amount requirement – basically they require you to spend a minimum amount on food and beverages, if you don’t meet the number of guests required, ask them what all upgrades can they do to the menu to meet their minimum total amount.
7. Production Staff
- Who is going to be your point of contact from the venue for both the wedding planning and on the day of the wedding? And in case they are unavailable is there an emergency contact?
- Can you meet the person in charge today?
Tip: If the person is different from the one giving you the tour, you should try and meet them that day itself, so you know who you are going to be dealing with and whether they are someone you can work with or not.
Keep your mind open, this is a general guideline of questions to ask, there may be things which pop up there and then while you are checking the place out, you should ask those questions too, ask without any hesitations!
You May Also Like:
- How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Planner
- Ideas to Style Your Wedding Venue
- Here are some guidelines for choosing Perfect Wedding Venue
- Wedding Vendors and 5 Elements Influencing their Prices!
- 5 Mistakes to avoid when choosing a wedding venue
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