There are a lot of factors to consider when coordinating an event - the guest list, food, music - but the most important factor is the venue. It sets the tone for the event, it’s the first thing your guests see when they arrive, and it's what they're going to be immersed in for the four or five hours they're celebrating with you.
Sure, it's easy to pick the venue that's prettiest when you first walk in, but that might end up costing you more money in the long run. Here are 30 questions to ask to when considering a venue:
Is your date of choice available?
What are the rates for different days of the week?
How many hours are included in the rental of the space? How early can we arrive, and how late can we stay?
What does the rental fee include?
Is there a possibility of any additional charges before or after event?
Is there a setup, break down or cleaning fee?
What do we need to clean/pack ourselves?
What is the deposit? Is it refundable? When is full payment due?
Is there a cancellation fee?
Are any other events booked on the same day as our event?
Need to get wedding permits for anything?
Does the venue have liability insurance?
Can you hire my own vendors (caterer, coordinator, DJ, etc.), or do you select from a preferred vendor list? Is there a list of recommended vendors?
Policy on alcohol?
Size of reception room?
What is the venue's capacity?
Parking for guests - On site? Free?
How many restrooms are there? Where are they?
Sound equipment and lighting equipment?
Media accommodations built in?
Anything we’re seeing today cost extra?
Noise ordinance we should be aware of?
Do you allow open flame candles?
Can draping be hung from the ceiling or does it need to be stand alone?
Are there any decorating limitations?
Can we use real or fake flowers anywhere we want? Can we use loose flower petals?
Number of tables and their sizes?
Prep areas for caterer, florist and other vendors to utilize?