After getting engaged, picking your wedding venue is usually the first of many important decisions. A venue is not only one of your larger expenses but carries the added weight of hosting one of the most important days of your lives. You want to be sure that the location is the perfect fit for you as a couple, meshes with your wedding ideas, and can adequately fit your guest list. Here are a few topics to keep in mind before booking your spot:

Availability

Is your dream date available? Remember great venues can book up to 18 months in advance. You may need to be flexible on your date to the get the venue you want. In addition, take into consideration how many other weddings will be at the same venue the day of your wedding, and whether or not the public will have access to any areas being used by your wedding party.

Venue capacity

What is the venue capacity? Can you fit your guests comfortably?

Does the venue have a minimum spend?

Venues that have a minimum spend tend to not negotiate on price point. To avoid heartache, try and find out requirements early on.

What is the service charge or gratuity?

Most venues will have a service or gratuity charge. This will usually be anywhere from 15%-25% and is typically not included in a minimum spend amount.

Décor

Does your venue offer a set up and tear down service? You’ll want to clarify what’s included either way so you’re not left to tear down your own décor within tight time restraints. You’ll also want to ensure that you know what décor is permitted/prohibited by your specific venue. Most spaces will not allow you to attach anything to walls or ceilings, and prefer that you use provided tables and chairs, for example.

Finally, if you plan on including them, make sure candles are allowed. If they are, find out what restrictions are in place.

Food Services

Food is an integral part of the wedding experience, so you’ll want to make sure you know whether or not you’re allowed to use outside caterers, or provide your own food. If not, you’ll need to know if your venue’s caterer/chef allows for you to sample food (and if there’s an associated charge), as well as if they are able to meet any dietary requirements that your wedding party may have.

What is the payment schedule?

How much is the initial deposit, and what are the available payment plans? Enquire as to what payment methods are available, and of course, always leave yourself the safety of finding out what the cancellation/refund policy is as soon as possible. Finances can be one of the most stressful aspects of wedding planning, and while no one wants to think of a cancellation, it’s better to know in advance what your options are should you ever need them.

Staff

It’s not just your friends and family that bring everything together on your wedding day. You’ll want to make sure you’re well acquainted with the staff at your venue of choice, and know when/how they are available to you throughout the lead up to your big day. It’s also worth finding out if you’ll be able to meet all key staff members prior to your wedding day.

Hidden charges

As we stated above, finances can be one of the most challenging parts of planning a wedding. No one wants to see unexpected charges on their final bill. Ask your venue up front what ‘hidden’ (or lesser known, if you prefer) fees may incur such as:

Bartender fees

Cake cutting fee

Cleaning fee

Statutory holiday fee

Event insurance

BONUS QUESTIONS

Do you have a coat check?

Is the facility wheelchair accessible?

Is there ample parking?

Does the venue have adequate air conditioning/heating facilities?

Can you take a look at the washroom facilities?

We hope the above questions, help you book the right venue for your special day. Stay tuned for more in depth blogs on wedding topics that every couple should know. For more information on how Cornerstone Theatre can be a part of your big day, please check here.