As the owner and operator of one of Atlanta’s top wedding venues, I’ve had the pleasure of being able to work with some wonderful couples and their families over the years. Most come prepared with the same questions. However, it is important to gather all the nitty-gritty information while visiting and deciding on your dream wedding location.
(1) How do I determine my Wedding Venue budget and guest amount.
The first thing you should do before touring venues is establish your wedding budget and come up with an approximate guest amount. The amount of guests attending your wedding will have a huge influence over your budge and how far your money will go. Next determine the location you will be looking for a Wedding Venue. Do you want something outside of Atlanta? Near Kennesaw? More toward Smyrna? Does it matter? Sometimes, wedding venues offer discounted rates depending on the day of the week that you book and the time of year. Also, consider the type of wedding you’d like to have. Some brides to be want a traditional wedding while others want a garden wedding, a country wedding or some other unique wedding idea. That’s a topic an experienced wedding venue host can help you with. Once that’s taken care of, begin your venue search!
(2) How do I know what I’m getting and paying for?
Before you visit any of the wedding venues, make sure you study their website and photo galleries. Are all the photos taken at the venue? This might sound like silly question but pictures can be very deceiving and may feature items not located on the property. Ask for exact measurements, table sizes and what chairs they use. Can all your guests be seated in the ballroom at one time?
(3) What is usually included in “all inclusive” packages?
Search and print off a list of wedding vendors you might need. These can include caterer, wedding cake, florist, DJ and photographer. Include your personal and custom décor. Most wedding venues include the cake, but do they cut the cake at no extra charge? Do they provide utensils? Hidden costs are everywhere. Last thing you want is for a venue to surprise you at payment time with hundreds of dollars worth of extra fees. All Inclusive is an elusive statement, be careful.
(4) What can I expect in extra fees or cost? “Is it free or is there a fee”?
Some packages will include a lot of services you need at no extra cost. However, some will not, so it is important to find out what is included. Does your wedding venue include tables and linens? Ask what size they are. How many chairs will be at a table? What chairs are used in the ballroom? Are the linens floor length? The point is if you don’t understand, keep asking questions. Never assume everything will be taken care of. If it is, who pays? Can your budget handle any more surprises?
(5) Do most Wedding Venues host multiple weddings a day?
The last thing you want on your wedding day is to feel rushed. Some wedding venues will try to host more than one wedding in a day. Find out if this is common practice at the venue you chose. If so, how would that affect your special day? We have had brides tell us they arrived to their venue only to be locked out because the previous wedding ran late. Circumstances can get out of control sometimes. Don’t let them get the best of you. Be well informed about your venue.
(6) What should I be aware of at my contract signing?
Now that you have established the basics about your venue choices, you may be close to making a decision. Besides the tentative contract offered to you on your tour, what other printed information did you receive? When are you required to do a contract signing? Regardless if you are going in person for a contract signing or doing it electronically, you need to be sent the contract prior to signing for extensive review. Be sure to review what services and products that you want on your wedding day are in the contract. Ask about “what ifs”, such as the venues protocol for bad weather especially for an outdoor wedding.
Most venues will have liability insurance for their protection. That doesn’t necessarily mean your wedding day is protected. Your home owners insurance might offer Wedding Day protection. If not, check online for “Wedding Day Insurance”. A lot of companies offer such services.
After the contract signing make sure you walk away with detailed information about all the wedding service vendors, must haves, decorations, wedding day itinerary and what’s not allowed on the premises, etc. I know this a lot to take in at once but contracts, insurance and money are important and it should be treated as such.
(7) Should I bring my decorations to the Wedding Venue the day before?
Bringing items early to your venue can sometimes be an issue. Make sure you nail down a time decorating committees can arrive. Some wedding venues allow items to be brought in prior to wedding day. Is this an option for your venue? If your wedding venue hosts 3-5 weddings in a weekend, do you really want to bring all your items ahead of time when they can easily get lost? All the venue can say is “sorry”. They are not responsible. That can be extremely costly as well as frustrating.