Your budget is definitely a major thing to keep in mind as you start looking at venues. Many locations have all inclusive packages as well as offer a list of their services if you’re looking for something you can customize to suit your needs. You will want to ask if there is a deposit needed, which the majority of places do require a booking fee just to save your date. Also, ask if there is a cancellation fee and how far in advance you would need to let the venue know of a cancellation.
2) What’s included?
For venues that offer all inclusive, be sure to ask what they actually include. How many chairs and tables does the price include? Is there an extra charge if more of either is needed? Do they provide linens or will you need to rent your own? Does it have a dance floor or is that something you will also have to rent if it is needed? Clean-up is usually included to an extent. Several venues I’ve come across just want you to throw away all excess trash from tables and take down any decorations such as balloons, banners, pictures, etc., and they will do the rest. Some places require you to clean up and take your own trash out and some charge an additional fee to do that work for you.
3) Catering service
Catering is also a key item to take into account. Vendors may have their own preferred caters they would like you to make your choice from. Others may not mind you using outside catering companies or might even have their own in house caterers. Plates, glasses, napkins, and cutlery may be included in a venue’s catering package. Be sure to price out rental options for these items if you decide to use an outside caterer as this may lower or raise your expenses. Food and entertainment are the highlights of any event. Choose food options that compliment your event and the season of the year that the party is being held in.
Many venues have their own website with a gallery that will show you what the inside of the space will look like. These pictures are helpful in planning how you are able to arrange the party and what might look best here and there. Whether you decide to use a local band, a DJ, or a 16 piece orchestra, the venue needs to be large enough to accommodate your choices and your guests. Tables, seating, food, a dance floor-these things all require room for your attendees to move around. If you’re hosting 200 people with a sit down dinner, then the location you select will need to provide space for them.
If your event is being held during a rainy time of the year, or if you live here in Louisiana where the weather is different every day, having a backup plan for outdoor events is always a great idea. If the venue has a covered outdoor area then you are all set. With the possibility that they do not, tent rentals can really save the day. Tents can also be used for shade on summer days and enclosed for warmth if the event is during the winter months. You will need to get permission from the location first before booking a tent. Some may not allow staking tent poles into the ground due to gardens, water lines, or tree clearance.
Pets have become a huge part of our lifestyles. Some businesses are now allowing pets at work and with certification they can even accompany us into restaurants and grocery stores. Why wouldn’t we want them beside us on our special day? Certain outdoor venues, and some indoor ones, allow you to bring your furry friend to their site as long as you follow a few rules. Most require a pet deposit on the chance there is damage to the grounds or equipment. Smoking may have some rules as well. Many gardens, zoos, and even some wedding venues do not allow smoking on property. If your guests are predominantly smokers this is something you should absolutely ask about. They may have a designated area or may not allow it at all.
Just like smoking, some locations, such as churches, may not permit alcohol on site. If the venue you are considering does allow alcohol, here are some questions you need to ask. Do they have their own bar service or will you need to hire someone? If you have to hire someone, does the venue have their own approved vendors or can you bring in anyone?
Parking is something many people don’t think about, but when you are hosting an event with over 100 people attending it will need to be taken into consideration. Make sure there is enough parking spaces for all guests, a “Get Away” car if needed for a wedding pictures, and musicians and caterers to unload their equipment.