The key to booking the right venue for you, is all in the preparation. Remember that this is the biggest chunk of your budget.
Firstly, arm yourself with a list of questions, then tick them off one by one.
- What is the deal? Is there any accommodation included? When can you have access to set up? Is there a time the following day that you have to remove your decorations? Do the venue strip out the decorations for you, or do you need to organise that with your vendors?
- Is your capacity different for ceremony and reception? You need to know how many guests the venue will hold. You don’t want to have a room that is too small or too large for the number of guests that you would like to invite.
- If there is accommodation available, are your guest entitled to a discounted rate? Often this is the case. Check how many rooms the discount will apply for and how many they can hold for you. If you have a venue with exclusive use and accommodation included, then are there any other restrictions, can you add cots or z-beds for children?
- Are you able to supply any of the alcohol for the day? Be aware of any bar rules and corkage. Some venues will be flexible, but some will have strict policies when it comes to this.
- If you have chosen a catered venue, is a food tasting included? Increasingly, venues are charging for food tasting before the day. Ask before you book. This could be something that you can negotiate into your booking.
- Do they allow the little extras that you are planning? Can you let off fireworks? use sparklers? give alcoholic favours?
If there is anything that is important to you, check it out first!
- Are the tables, chairs and linen included? This might seem like an odd question, but there are a number of venues now, that make an extra charge for these along with cutlery, crockery and glassware. Make sure you know all of the additional costs up front.
- What time would the evening celebration need to finish, and can we pay for an extension? Little known fact: at some venues, it’s possible to pay for an extension of the bar.
- Is VAT included? Don’t get hit with a stonking whack of VAT on your final invoice. It could push you well over budget.
- Do you have to use their recommended suppliers, or can you hire your own? Some venues will only allow their own trusted caterers to use their kitchens. If your heart is set on one company, double-check that your venue will allow them in.
- Do you have public liability insurance? Hopefully nothing will happen, but you don’t want to find out too late that you’re not insured. This is a question not to be missed!
- The venue photographed above is the stunning St Tewdrics House