Planning a wedding can be daunting for any couple, especially when it comes to wedding venues. If you do not have a wedding planner and want to do everything yourself, there are some great ways to ensure you are getting not only the best deal but what you paid for as well. We have some special tips and tricks to keep in mind when you are looking into booking wedding venues.
Know How Many Guests You Will Have
There is nothing worse than finding the perfect wedding venue only to find out it will not accommodate all of your guests or it’s too large to accommodate your wedding. Always have a number in the back of your head of how many guests may be in attendance so you can find the venue that works best for you. It is also always better to overestimate than have to cut certain people from your wedding day. Don’t forget to include the bridal party in that headcount. Depending on the size it could get as large as 20 people easily when you consider maid of honor, best man, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl, ring bearer and ushers.
Knowing the headcount before looking at venues will also help when pricing the venue. Keep in mind the per person fee they charge (for full-service venues) doesn’t include additional costs such as tax, service fee/gratuity, table decor, favors, DJ, etc.
Consider Guest Parking
Can your guests park onsite at your potential wedding venue or will they have to park elsewhere and walk? If there is onsite parking available, make sure that you ask how many cars the lot will hold to ensure there will be enough spaces (especially if the venue holds more than one event at a time). If they provide valet, ask how many runners they provide. This is especially important because most guests tend to arrive and depart at the same time for a wedding so you don’t want to delay your wedding because the venue didn’t provide enough runners for your wedding. According to James from Classic Valet Parking, Inc, when valet parking you should plan for 1 runner per 10-15 guests to avoid bottlenecks.
If there is no onsite parking (typical in major cities such as NYC), ask what the closest parking lot is, whether or not it is safe, and most importantly, how much it costs. Including these details with your invitation will assist guests in planning their arrival time to your wedding and ensuring everything starts on time.
When booking a venue, it’s important to find out the fees associated with the wedding. Couples are used to the standard “per person” charges or flat rate for renting a space; however, find out the tax percentage for the area you’re looking into (especially if you’re getting married in a different city/county). There may be additional fees such as service fees, administrative fees or mandatory gratuities. Find out from your venue what they charge and ask what each fee entails so you don’t over or under tipstaff. Each venue is unique and may charge a service fee to cover their wait staff while other venues keep the fee to cover administrative fees for booking with them. These fees go as high as 25% (even higher in some cities) and depending on the name of the fee it may also be taxed. So your $100 per person wedding just jumped to $130+ per person in the blink of an eye. Look out for the “+ +” near the price per person as that will indicate tax and service/gratuity fees.
Read the Contract Thoroughly
Once you have settled on a venue, make sure you read the contract carefully before signing it. Even have a trusted friend or family member it over as well to make sure you are getting everything you are expecting on your wedding day. If there are any questions, write them down and call the venue organizer with them before signing anything. The contract should include detailed information about your event, from the number of guests, the cost, time food is served, liquor laws, noise restrictions, payment schedule, cancellation policy and much more. If you are not sure about something, always ask. You are about to make a very large investment when you sign the venue contract so take your time and don’t rush it.