- Can the venue accommodate all my guests? Be sure to ask about the largest wedding held at the venue and if there are any pictures of previous weddings hosted.
- Are there rooms for the bride and groom and guests to freshen up?
- Are any other events or weddings booked for the same day? Some venues may only book one wedding a day while other reception locations may book two weddings back to back. You need to know exactly what time you have for décor set-up, and when you’re expected to clear out after the wedding.
- Would you accommodate us should we run late and exceed the given lime limit? This is important to check as some venues can go so far as to turn off the lights when your time is up.
- How many hours prior to the event are the air conditioners switched on?
- The cost: how much is required to reserve the date, and is it a deposit or a retainer? There is a difference! A deposit is a down payment, and in most cases is fully refundable. A retainer, on the other hand, cannot legally be refunded to you upon cancellation of your event; it’s just the vendors’ way of protecting themselves from cancellations.
- When is the full balance due, and what forms of payment do you accept? Sometimes putting everything on a credit card that earns points or miles (and paying card’s balance in full as you go along, if possible) is a great way to earn free tickets for your honeymoon, or at least a 1st class upgrade.
- What are the hidden costs? Are linen and glassware included? What is the corkage fee? (When you purchase your own alcohol for the reception, a corkage fee is sometimes charged for each bottle of liquor opened and served).
- Is parking readily available? Would you need to hire additional parking attendants? Are there other major events or activities in the vicinity on that day that could lead to parking or traffic issues?
- Would we have a venue contact on site or easily reachable on the day? Try to meet this person before you sign the contract.
- What’s your cancellation policy? Most places will refund the deposit if you cancel well in advance. Remember, it’s not unheard of for them to cancel on you either, so ask about that too.
Once you’ve been faced with the reality of planning your wedding getting down to the details can be daunting. A good place to start is to envision the event—decide whether you’re going to have an intimate celebration or a grand affair. Then, figure out what you can afford to spend to realize your vision. That’s right, you need to determine your budget.
It’s important to sit with all the people who will financially support your wedding and discuss what type of wedding you envision and how you and/or them would share the costs. Your families may look at your budget and offer to pay for the catering and drinks, for example, or they may set an amount they can contribute. If they can’t afford to contribute or can only contribute a small amount, say ‘thank you’ and revise the budget accordingly or find more creative ways to finance your wedding. Remember that some people don’t like discussing financial details in a group setting, so consider meeting with your families separately.
TIP: Open a separate account for your wedding expenses. This way you can both keep a close eye on the numbers and make sure you don’t go over your budget.