It’s the biggest (and possibly most confusing) vendor decision you’ll make. Allow us to shed some clarity.
VENUE GLOSSARY BAR PACKAGE
A per-person rate for an open bar based on a specific amount of time. This makes sense for weddings with guests who like to drink.
You will be charged based on the actual number of beverages ordered through the night – good if your guests aren’t big drinkers.
The only people on the grounds will be those you invited – the venue is yours for the day.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE MINIMUM
This term refers to a dollar amount you must spend on food and beverage to use the space.
Full service venues provide all or most of the details needed for a wedding. This can include a ceremony and reception site, catering, and your flowers or décor.
Some venues have a clause not allowing you to bring your own vendors, such as caterers, into the venue, instead preferring you use the ones they frequently work with. This is often the case with venues who have expensive property or fit-outs (art galleries or museums, for instance).
They’ll act as a liaison between you and the venue’s operations team (think kitchen staff and onsite sound technicians). They’ll also show you the venue, help coordinate any services offered onsite (for example, valet parking), and process the final invoice.
POTENTIAL HIDDEN COSTS THAT EVEN FULL- SERVICE VENUES MIGHT CHARGE
CAKE CUTTING/ CORKAGE
You may hope to save money by bringing your own booze, or having an external vendor or family bake your cake – but if it’s a service your venue provides, they may try to make some coin back by charging you a fee.
Does your venue have enough power to support your DJ booth, sound system and external lighting? If not, you may have to cough up for some extra electrical support.
EARLY ACCESS FEE
Your vendors may need access to your space earlier than the contract states you can come in. This means venue staff have to be there, and prevents another event from taking place.
CLEAN- UP COSTS
Most full-service venues should include this in their pricing, but it might only be all-inclusive if the clean-up occurs on the same day. Be sure to check what the arrangement is should your party continue until the wee hours.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU START LOOKING AT LOCATIONS
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨What’s our total wedding budget, and how much are we prepared to spend on a venue?
What’s our rough guest count?
What will the weather be like?
Do we want to have our ceremony and reception in the same place?
What date or dates do we want?
Are we open to catering restrictions? For instance, if a venue tells us we need to use their caterer and cake maker?
How easy does our venue need to be for guests to get to?
Are lots of guests coming from out of town? If so, are there hotels reasonably close?
What’s our vibe? (Optional – but if you’re set on a Tuscan-inspired theme, you’ll make your life a lot easier by looking at vineyards instead of function centres). ►
If a venue doesn’t have essentials such as tables or AV equipment, be sure to factor this in to your venue budget.