What To Ask At Your Site Meeting

Helpful questions to ask before you sign the dotted line with your wedding venue

Lots of young couples attend a site meeting before signing the dotted line of a contract to sign up to have their special day at an event venue. This is a super idea!  But how do you know what to ask during the meeting to ensure that you've crossed all your t's and dotted your i's before committing?   I trust that this blog post will help!

1. What's Included?

Different venues offer different things as part of their package.  Some offer a more comprehensive "all inclusive" package and include most things like even decor; however others are more specific i.e. they JUST provide the space and/or tables, chairs, etc.  It's important to ask what is included exactly and have those items DOCUMENTED in your final contract.   In addition, make sure they are documented SPECIFICALLY i.e. if they include "chairs", what type of chairs? are they a standard banquet chair? or chivari chair?  Ask to see things like the included linens, decor items, etc. as these types of things can really add up in cost and create discrepancies so it's important to ASK and get the details in advance.  

2. Vendor Specifics

A lot of venues today have in house preferred vendors.  It is important that you not only fall in love with the VENUE but also the people who work with them - especially if they are MANDATORY to be used.  For example, some venues have mandated DJs, Caterers, Rental companies etc.  You want to make sure you can afford those people and their options as well as want to work when them also.  If you opt not to use those people and you even have that as an option, its also important to ask about landmarking fees that may be charged for pulling in your own vendors.  Sometimes simple things like hooking up to the in house sound system can even cost an additional $500 if you brought in someone from outside. 

3. Who's my point of contact?

The sales person you deal with is not always your main point of contact after a sale.  It is important to ask about your venues communication and document procedures as well as who your contact will be moving forward.  Communication is KEY during the planning process so it's best if as much as possible is IN WRITING i.e. email and contracts so that there is no miscommunication.  

4. Access Times

It is critical that you review your contract and see what time you can have access to your venue from and until.  Sometimes you need access earlier in the day so as to set up, deliver materials, receive deliveries, etc.  Ensure that you have consulted with your vendors and find out how much time they need to set up at your venue before you expect guests to arrive.  Ensure that you booked your hall for enough time to allow for any necessary set up and tear down.   In addition, I would ask about any fees that are associated with earlier set up times or tear down at the end of the night.

5. Are Other Events Happening The Same Day 

Sometimes venues are not exclusive to your booking.  It important to ask your hall if it is possible that other events may be happening the same day as yours.  Check for other banquet halls/spaces within the venue and inquire.  Its not uncommon for venues to have a morning / early afternoon event like a bridal shower etc. and then a later afternoon / evening wedding event.   Venues may also charge an exclusive booking fee.

6. Open Flame, Pets & Other Rules

Different spaces have different rules when it comes to various items including if you can have open flame (i.e. use candles), having pets at the venue (i.e. to walk down the aisle), etc.  I've seen random rules about all sorts of things, including rules around bringing in outside wine as party favors, bringing home your own garbage at the end of the night, early music ending times and more.   Because the rules can really vary or be random, ask to see a copy of all the rules and policies and ensure that they are included in the contract to ensure that you are comfortable with them. 

I will continue to add to this blog post as I think of more important things to ask during your site meeting with your prospective wedding venue, however in the meantime this should help clarify some of the main contingency points. 

Happy Planning!

Connie Butera

Event Planner & Owner

Perfectly Planned Parties