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Posted by Cayla Capri
Picking The Right Wedding Venue
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You’ve found a darling spot to host your commingling, be it a snug maritime inn, dreamy uptown terrace or big-ticket hotel, but before signing your savings away, set up a little Q and A session with your site of choice. Know your needs going into the meeting, shedding all remnants of a flighty bride, sure of your desire for a band, open bar or set of twinklers. Flexibility and realism is still essential, but the fewer unforeseen bottlenecks, the fewer bottles of aspirin needed. Here are some questions worth dragging along to that quintessential appointment.
are you equipped?
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Will your hall comfortably accommodate?
Many wedding bell locales boast a seating capacity slightly beyond what your guests may define as comfortable, particularly those stationed by the bathroom, exit or just outside the actual hall. Be sure to inform the manager that cramped is not what you meant by ‘intimate celebration.’
Are you equipped with parking, coat check, and bathroom facilities?
Valet service is a perk you might consider adding to your must-have list, as a considerate gesture for your beloved guests. Want to really spread the love? Skip the port-a-potty rental if you’re having an outdoor bash. After that first crate of champagne disappears, make sure indoor facilities are available when nature inevitably calls tipsy aunts and uncles.
Are there boudoirs?
Bride and groom boudoirs give lovebirds a chance to unwind, make touch-ups and hyperventilate a bit before making their grand entrance as man and wife.
What are my bar service options?
Whether your go with a cash, open or combination bar is up to you and your man, but thrash it out with your vendor too. They’ll be able to make a recommendation based on your estimation of friends and relatives’ sloshing abilities. (Combination probably being the best choice for light drinkers.)
Do you have a projection screen and audio visual hook-up?
If your maid of honor plans to display a slideshow of alternately aw-shucks and downright incriminating photos, be sure the venue’s got proper outlets and a projection screen at hand.
Are you equipped to handle unforeseen weather conditions?
Outdoor locations should come with tents, but in case weather conditions threaten to be truly treacherous, a warm and cozy indoor backup plan could ease your open-air apprehensions.
are you in good company?
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Do you have an in-house caterer?
Most venues will trot out their own five star chefs, offering toothsome food stuffs that might delight taste buds; may clash with personal preferences or culture-based menus. If the latter’s the case, discuss the possibility of outside caterers. Most halls will be gung-ho, just as long are you’re feeling charitable.
Is there a wedding facilitator or reception troubleshooter?
For your peace of mind, get the lowdown on what handy man will be on site and in charge of fused circuits, power shortages or any other technical bloopers.
Who is responsible for assembling and disassembling decor?
Usually, either the hall or décor company will have this covered, but it’s always clever to double-check. If you’re hosting an in-home or outdoor celebration, you’ll probably want to arrange for your decorators to do the dismantling, even if it costs you a pretty penny. Nobody wants to be on all fours in their wedding gown reaching under bushes for the patio lantern that got away.
are you licensed?
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Do you have a liquor license?
What one-of-a-kind hot spots like museums, libraries and open spaces make up for in personality, they may lack in boozing privileges. If this is the reality, obtain a permit from a local liquor bureau on your own, at least two to three months before W-day.
Is your venue licensed to carry out civil ceremonies?
After all the hoopla, as hunky-dory as the night will be, the last thing you want to discover is that you’re not actually married.
are you lenient?
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Are there any décor or photography limitations?
Museums and historical buildings may not be willing to tarnish their well-preserved facilities with hand-picked decorations, and art galleries and theatres will understandably prohibit flash photography, open flames and red wine. Of course, these locales are beautiful in their own right, and aren’t really in need of a face-lift. For a more plain Jane hall, be sure to coordinate between florists, decorators and venue managers.
When can decorators, bands, DJ’s and florists set up?
Reception halls will offer plenty of breathing room for all your right-hand men and women, but museums, galleries, theatres and stadiums might not allow setup to begin until public hours of operation are over.
Can I bring my own alcohol?
Some halls will be down, but corkage fees could still run high at eight to twenty bucks a bottle. Even still, you’ll probably be saving a bundle going the BYOB route.
When’s curfew?
If your venue’s adamant about their closing time, be aware. Overtime partying, just one more last dance, could be well worth it, but may cost you an arm and a leg (up to five hundred dollars) and a spot on the wait staff’s hit list.
When is payment due and are there any hidden costs?
Inquire about deadlines and deposits, as well as cleaning, valet parking and air conditioning. This way, you’ll get a fine idea of the final tally before inadvertently committing to unconscionably steep outdoor heaters. As always, read over your contract diligently. If you’re hooking up at a golf course, look into membership fees, as becoming caddy-shacked might be your only ticket onto those exclusive greens.