12 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR DESTINATION WEDDING VENUE
A destination wedding is an endeavor. On the one hand, the number of options available on the venue market can drive you insane; on the other hand, your vision, plan and budget must remain your priority. Surprisingly, once the right wedding venue has been found, many things will fall into places.
The following list gives you the idea of the questions you might want to ask each place that could potentially become “The Venue” for your destination wedding.
1. IS THE NEEDED DATE AVAILABLE FOR ME?
Bear in mind that the prices may vary depending on the season, the day of the week, or sometimes the time of the day. Even if the contact person assures you that the date you wish to reserve for your wedding is available, it’s a good thing to check if you’ll be the only one holding a celebration on that day. Some venues allow for multiple parties at once. It’s never a good thing to discover some strangers from another party in your destination wedding video.
2. HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE?
If you already know how many people you’re inviting, see if the venue can accommodate all of your guests. If lodgings are too few or unavailable, ask if there are any nearby facilities you could use. More often than not, the venues experienced in hosting weddings have strong business ties with local hotels and other premises. If the venue’s contact person is very unhelpful in that matter, it’s a red flag for you.
3. HOW MUCH WILL IT COST ME?
Budget is a painful topic for many; which means, there’s no such thing as “too many questions” when it comes to finance. Since your wedding involves the use of venue’s facilities to a considerable scale for mutual benefit, you’ve got negotiating power. Have you seen the overnight stay prices for lodgings? Ask if there’s a discount for your guests if you’re renting a block of rooms. Another sure way to save a bit of cash and trouble is to ask if there’re wedding packages, what’s their price and what’s included. There might be some extra deals: like if you order a destination wedding video from the venue, it provides you the destination wedding videographer and gives you a discount for a wedding photography session. Don’t sign any contracts before you’ve clarified what “extra fees not included” and “additional services not covered” are and how much they cost. For instance, there might be a cutting cake fee, or you’ll have to rent the silverware and glassware from the venue, or the cleaning service costs aren’t a part of the package you’re signing up for. There are so many pitfalls that it would be wise to record your conversation with a venue contact person, along with requesting a copy of all financial documents.
4. CAN YOU PROVIDE A TRANSFER FROM AND TO THE AIRPORT?
Since yours is a destination wedding, it’s super-probable that most of your guests will be arriving from afar. Ask the venue if they provide a transfer from and to the airport and what major transportation nodes are to be found nearby. Don’t let super-expensive taxi rides from and to the airport take up all of your guests’ free cash! Also, if you’re bringing big items with you to your destination wedding, logistics becomes a very important issue. Nota bene: if your wedding coincides with important local events, there’s a chance you’ll experience logistical issues, so make sure you’ve got your venue’s support.
5. IS YOUR VENUE ANIMAL- AND CHILDREN-FRIENDLY?
Weddings are traditional family affairs. Why not bring your labrador and three-year old cousin, if they’re part of your family. But first, ask your venue if it’s animal and children friendly. Some venues, such as wineries, only allow for adult participants; and not all chateaus are fond of visitors’ pets. Another major point is to clarify if the venue can arrange for reduced mobility visitors, in case one of your guests is disabled.
6. TO WHAT PREMISES WILL I HAVE THE ACCESS?
Some places set your ceremony and reception in different places. At times, there are separate rooms for an official dinner and for casual socialization. Can you move things around, or should everything stay exactly the same in the rooms? Always good to know in advance. Large venues can provide separate premises for each stage of celebration; smaller venues need extra help for re-adjusting the space during the celebration.
7. DOES THE VENUE HAVE A KITCHEN AND KITCHEN STAFF?
Not all venues are equipped with a kitchen, in which case they often have a few caterers with whom they usually collaborate. Food isn’t the central element of a wedding, but it’s definitely in “Top 5”. It happens sometimes that venue’s kitchen can provide everything, except the wedding cake, which is another important issue. Don’t forget to ask for a session of food tasting! You’ve got to know exactly what will be served and how much you’re gonna like it.
8. WILL WE HAVE OUR FIRST DANCE ON A PROPER DANCE FLOOR?
Will there be a dance floor with the proper acoustic system? Can we play music as loud as we want and as long as we want? Some peculiar local noise regulation could cross out a good deal of your wedding’s entertainment – dances. Your venue’s contact person’s got to know for sure if any such restriction exists, or if you can dance your big night away. It would probably be a good idea to ask whether the venue provides speakers, microphone or a mini-Jack cable for iPod.
9. HOW MANY WAITERS WILL THERE BE?
Will we have a bartender? Can you provide the security guards? Will there be a wedding planner present the entire time to solve last-minute issues? Can I have a priest for a ceremony, or a vicar, a rabbi, or an Imam? Do I have to hire a destination wedding videographer, or does the venue have one? A smooth celebration requires manpower; and your venue should be able to provide you with all the staff you need. Most of the time, a wedding planner takes care of this, but if not – ask about how many people you can count on to work for you on your wedding day.
10. WHAT KIND OF EXTRA ENTERTAINMENT CAN WE COUNT ON?
Most of the modern weddings happen over a weekend. Not all newlyweds are excited to spend all that time within their venue; so they look for any extra fun stuff within the area. Is there hiking? Maybe, there’re some major historical sites situated nearby, or famous wonders of nature. What about tennis courts, horseback riding and wine tasting? Obviously, extra entertainment isn’t a necessary part of a wedding, but it’s nice to have options. For example, some wedding venues in France offer a really good entertainment program for their guests.
11. DOES MY PACKAGE INCLUDE THE INSURANCE?
Do I have to pay extra for it? Is there an insurance for damaging tableware or any of venue’s property? Hopefully, no one from the party will get hurt, but if anyone does – it’s a major pain to settle the legal and medical issues when one is abroad. An insurance is your major shield against such situations. Let’s not forget about the possibility of glasses, plates, tablecloth and furniture damage – if an insurance can cover these, it’s probably worth its price.
12. The last one…
Last, yet, probably, the most important one. CAN THE VENUE PROVIDE A MAKEUP ARTIST, HAIRDRESSER AND SOMEONE TO IRON THE WEDDING DRESS AND GROOM’S COSTUME? Bridesmaids can take control of some of this, but when it comes to looks, better leave that stuff to the professionals!
Did the answers to these questions satisfy you? Or was the contact person rather incompetent? One way or another, once you’ve asked this basic set of questions, you get the general idea of how your big day will go at that particular venue. What if the place is majestic, and the contact person is helpful, and all the things can be arranged? Then grab your date and reach out to all the people you’re inviting. You’ve found The Venue!