Wedding Planning Advice: Questions to Ask Before Signing a Contract | Atlanta, GA
So you've found the perfect venue, or maybe you're still in the process of touring venues. Before signing a contact here are some tips from a pro that will help you know what questions to ask. After all, you don't want any surprises when it comes to your wedding venue!
1. What is included? This may seem like a given, but you want to know what is included in the venue rental. Exactly what is included! One example is a venue that includes tables, chairs and basic linens in the rental fee, whereas another venue may charge for them. You also want to consider the quantities available for your use. If you are having a wedding with 300 guests and the venue only has 200 chairs available for use, you may have to look into renting an additional 400 chairs unless you are planning to move the chairs from the ceremony site to the reception site or orchestrate a room flip during cocktail hour.
2. Are there any specific limitations the venue has in place? Believe me, you don't want to find out you have to rethink your reception design at your final walkthrough because you didn't realize the venue doesn't allow real candles. You'll also want to ask if they place restrictions on decor. For example, some venues don't allow you to hang anything from the ceiling or wall which will rule out that hanging installation over the head table that you've been eyeing on Pinterest! You'll want to be sure to ask about noise ordinances that may require you to end any amplified music at a specific time as well as alcohol restrictions. If you plan to have a full bar flowing throughout the night, you'll want to be sure the venue allows you to serve liquor. (Some don't have liquor licenses, some may only allow beer and wine). It's so varied from venue to venue that you can't afford not to ask this question.
3. Speaking of limitations, you will want to know if a venue allows you to bring in your own vendors or requires you to pick from a list they provide. This can make a big impact on your budget, especially if they charge a fee if you use an outside vendor. I've seen fees as high as $1,000 to use an outside caterer at a venue. Some venues offer in-house catering and require that you use their in-house caterer. You'll want to ask what the food and beverage minimums are when working with in-house caterers. If you have a unique culinary experience in mind that the in house caterer may not be able to provide, you will want to consider other venues that allow you to bring in a caterer of your choice.
Pro Tip: If the venue agrees to budge on any limitation they have in place, be sure to get it in writing to clarify any confusion surrounding the matter down the road!
4. How many other events will take place on your weekend wedding, or even on your wedding day? If more than one event will take place, you'll want to ensure that they will be able to accommodate a time for you to run through your rehearsal. If they have a wedding taking place on Friday night and your wedding is that Saturday, you may have to plan to have your rehearsal on a night earlier in the week. You'll also want to ask who your contact will be throughout the entire process and if they will be present on the day of your event.
5. What is the rain plan? Again, this may seem like a given, but when you are planning to have an outdoor ceremony, you'll want to know exactly what will need to happen if the weather is less than ideal the day of your wedding. Is their space for a tent, do they allow it to be staked? If not, may require a room flip. Will venue staff be available to assist with that? You'll also need to know at what point you will need to make a call on the weather. The night before? The morning of? Three hours before the ceremony?
5. Last but not least, you'll want to ask if they have any recommendations for guest accommodations and transportation. Most likely, there are at least a few guests that will be traveling to celebrate your special day with you. You will want to be sure there are hotels and transportation available nearby for those guests. Some venues even have relationships with hotels that will provide a shuttle to your venue. If you don't ask you won't know!
Need help finding the perfect venue for your upcoming wedding or event? We're happy to do the leg work for you! We often work with couples to scout the perfect venue for them. Whether they are planning their Atlanta wedding from out of state or just don't have the time to do it themselves! Simply fill out our Contact Us form here and we'll reach out to see how we can best assist you!