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Questions to ask BEFORE You Book Your Wedding Venue

Probably the biggest decision you’ll make for your wedding is where to have it. If you’re viewing or contacting wedding venues around around Ireland at the minute, this handy cheat sheet of questions to ask before you book will ensure you feel as prepared as possible.

What’s included in the package?

Once you know what the venue charge, find out exactly what they’re charging for. Some venues have packages that include decor, food and entertainment. Others cover only the hire of the venue itself.

Is your venue accessible?

People who use wheelchairs or who have limited mobility in some regard should be able to get into and around your venue comfortably. That means accessible doorways, bathrooms and hallways, for a start. Poke around yourself to get the lay of the land. Some venues are accessible in the strictest sense, but maybe the accessible bathroom is ages away from the reception space.

Is your venue child friendly?

If you’re not having an adult-only wedding, ask your venue how they usually accommodate children. Will you have to pay full whack for kids meals, is there a space for them to be entertained?

Can legal wedding ceremonies be conducted here?

A big one! If you want to have your ceremony at the venue, make sure it has a license to hold ceremonies.

How many weddings can be held on the same day?

A lot of venues have a one-a-day policy with weddings, but it’s not guaranteed. Ask how many weddings can be held on the same day and if there are any other couples booked in for the date you’d like.

What’s the minimum and maximum capacity?

Obviously you’ll need to be sure that the venue can fit all of your guests. It’s also important to make sure you have more than the minimum numbers, as you might have to pay the difference.

Is there a dedicated wedding coordinator and will they be there on the day?

Wedding coordinators can be such a help, and many venues include them in their packages. Check that the person you deal with throughout the planning will be there on your wedding day and be sure of exactly what they’ll help with.

Can we have live music?

Venues in residential venues sometimes don’t allow live music in the evening, and smaller venues often can’t accommodate entire bands or musicians with larger instruments.

How late can we play music?

Rural couples – don’t take it for granted that you can party all night because your wedding isn’t in a residential area. Country house weddings often have curfews in place because of their proximity to farms. No matter where you’re getting wed, ask how late the party can go on.

How much guest accommodation is there, and what are the prices?

Another one that’s especially important if your wedding isn’t in a city. Find out how much the rooms will costs guests, if there’s a discount, and if there are local options for over-spill.

Can we decorate ourselves, and to what extent and from what time?

I’m placing emphasis on “to what extent” here, because I’ve heard of more than one case of a couple being very disappointed that they couldn’t spruce up their venue as they hoped. Restrictions on balloons, adhesives and confetti are common. Historic, grand venues or churches can often be quite fussy about this kind of thing. Tell the venue what your vision is before you sign a contract.

Can we bring our own alcohol? Is there a fee for this? Can you serve alcohol?

A corkage fee is a charge on couples who bring their own alcohol to the venue, and it’s quite common. It’s also important to be sure that your venue is licensed to serve booze in the first place

What are the insurance requirements?

It’s not wildly common, but some venues request that you take out wedding insurance.

Are there any additional fees, like for cake cutting?

Check that everything is covered in your quote. I’m talking tax, cake-cutting, room hire.

Are there any photo, video or drone restrictions?

Again, not wildly common, but I asked this question at a venue viewing and yep, they did actually have photo restrictions! I felt like such a swot, it was brilliant.

Is there a list of vendors we must use?

Lots of venues have a list of recommended vendors, which can be really helpful. However, some places have exclusivity with the venues on their list. Check that you’re allowed to pick your own vendors if you end up wanting to.

How much is the deposit and when do we have to pay?

Deposits can vary so much between vendors, so check how much you have to pay to secure the date and when you’ll have to pay it. It’s also worth knowing the payment schedule too, so you’ll know when you’ve got to pony up.

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