As you proceed through the steps to planning a wedding or other special event, the more questions you ask, the better. Reception costs consume almost half the budget for a wedding, and with the average wedding costing more than $27,000 you could be spending a hefty penny. Additionally, the popular venues book far in advance, forcing couples to make their final decision on a location immediately after the date has been set. For these reason, we want to arm you with a few important questions to ask before signing a contract. Save yourself some grief and check them out below:
Do you have a specific list of caterers I must use, or may I choose my own?
Some venues require customers to use the in-house caterers or choose from a small list of approved vendors. If you find that your selected venue has such a list, ask for testimonials from previous clients. When it comes to package deals, you’ll want to ensure that you’re happy with all of the included parties.
Are there any restrictions on decorations?
Many venues have them, but rules vary widely from place to place. Common restrictions include: no open flame (or no flame whatsoever), no tape or tacks on the walls, or no confetti. When linens are provided, some venues will prohibit the use of pins or dark colored drinks. Ask if the venue can provide any decorations themselves, especially around holidays.
Can we bring our own liquor, is there a “corkage” fee, and do we need a license?
If you’re planning for the alcohol to flow freely at your event, you can save a lot of money by bringing your own, if the venue permits it. For the venues that allow bringing in alcohol, some charge a mandatory “corkage fee” to serve it. Make sure that you are crystal-clear on the fine print regarding alcohol before you commit to a venue.
As for licensing, many states consider wedding receptions/special events to be “unlicensed social functions,” meaning you don’t need one as long as guests are not paying for alcohol during the event. But be sure to check your local regulations before moving ahead.
Is there a cake-cutting fee?
If the venue allows customers to bring in their own cake, ask if there is a cake-cutting fee.
As long as you know the “right” questions to ask when shopping for venues, you will avoid contract surprises with the venue. Fortunately for you, we’re got your back 😉
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