What do you want from a wedding venue? Probably the first thing that pops into your head is a setting that fits your wedding style. While this aspect is very important, there are many other details that are important to consider when choosing a venue. Because each venue has its own approach, making assumptions can lead to last-minute hassle or surprise fees. Below are some of the key questions to research or ask before and during your venue tour:
The Enchanted Forest Space at Arbor Crest Winery
- Capacity: What is the venue’s maximum guest capacity? Is there a minimum requirement?
- Areas: Are there different areas for the ceremony and reception, and is there an extra cost for having the ceremony on-site? Do you have a weather contingency plan or optional space in case of bad weather?
- Getting Ready: Are there spaces for the wedding party to get ready, or do they need to prepare off-location?
- Accessibility: Is the venue accessible for elderly family members or guests with accessibility needs?
- Restrooms: Are there adequate restroom facilities for the number of guests, or do we need to rent extra portable toilets?
- Parking: Is there adequate parking space, or is the venue accessible by outside transport such as Uber?
Ceremony set-up at Belles on the Bluff
- Time: Is there a specific range of time in the day that you host weddings? Are morning weddings an option?
- Date: Is the date or approximate range of time you are hoping for available?
- Season: Are they open during the season you want?
For the wedding:
- Rehearsal: How long do they allow for the rehearsal?
- Set-up: What is the earliest that vendors can start setting up and the wedding party can get ready? Can any of the decorations or drop-offs happen the day before?
- Event Duration: What is the total number of hours included in the rental? Is there a separate noise/drink service end time?
- Clean-up: What is the timeline for clean-up? Is there an overtime fee?
Food & Drink
- Catering Options: Does the venue have an in-house catering or cake service, or can we bring in an external caterer/cake? Is there a minimum food or drink requirement?
- Kitchen Facilities: If we bring in our own caterer, are there kitchen facilities they can use?
- Menu Customization: Can we customize the menu based on dietary restrictions and preferences?
- Bar Services: What are the options for the bar service (open bar, cash bar, limited selection)? Do you allow hard alcohol, or only beer and wine? Are you licensed to serve alcohol, or do we need to hire a licensed bartender?
- Extra Fees: Are there extra fees for bringing in outside food or drink? If we do, are there additional fees to serve it (cake-cutting fee, corkage fee)?
Lakeside ceremony location at the Coeur D’Alene Golf & Spa Resort
- Coordinator: Do you provide an on-site coordinator to assist on the wedding day?
- Planning: How often and when will we meet to go over wedding plans before the day?
- Staffing: Are staff members included in the venue package? In what roles? Is this an additional cost?
- Assistance: Do you help with set-up and clean-up, and is this included in the package?
Decor & Equipment
Staged wedding shoot with Artifact Rentals at the Steam Plant
- Decor: Do you have decor items available for use? Are they an additional rental cost? Can we bring in our own decor, and is there a fee?
- Restrictions: Are there any restrictions on decor or activities, such as sparklers or live music?
- Lighting: What lighting options do you have? Is it possible to bring in a lighting professional?
- Sound System: Is there a sound system available, or do we need to bring in our own?
- Dining: Do you provide chairs, tables, linens, diningware, drinkware, and silverware, or do we need to rent these?
Payment & Costs
The hall in The Glover Mansion
- Deposit: What is the deposit requirement, and when and how is payment made?
- Refund: What is the cancellation policy, and is there a refund policy? What is the latest date we can get a deposit refund?
- Cost and Discounts: What is the cost for different seasons, weekdays, and weekends? Is there a discount for off-peak seasons or weekdays?
- Payment: What is the payment timeline, and what methods of payment do you accept?
- Insurance: Is there liability insurance in case of injuries or property damage? Or are we required to get this?
- Fees: Are there any other fees or costs that we did not discuss that might come up?
Now You Can Choose Your Venue!
Lakeside Ceremony at the Elkins Resort
In conclusion, asking these questions will help you make an informed decision when selecting a wedding venue. These questions will give you an idea of whether the venue takes a more all-inclusive approach, which can reduce stress on the couple, or is customizable, which may allow for choosing budget-friendly service options. Feel free to copy this list to send to the venue’s coordinator or bring a copy on your venue tour!
Our final tip is to ensure all details are included in the final contract to avoid misunderstandings. By discussing these specifics, you can create a wedding day that reflects your vision while enjoying the support and services of a venue that aligns with your needs. Check out our directory of venues in the Inland Northwest to start your search!