Finding your perfect wedding venue can be something of an arduous task. Whilst in a simple world we always imagine walking through the door, falling instantly in love with a venue and creating your wedding exactly the way you always dreamed it’s not always as simple as that. There are all kinds of logistical issues to consider and questions to be asked, so to help you along the way we invited venue expert Zeenat Sabur from The City Rooms to share a little advice on the kinds of questions you need to be asking your potential new wedding venue…
The venue is the most important planning aspect of your big day (well, along with the dress), as well as the perfect location and being within budget there is so much more you will want to consider but may not think of at the time of booking. Here is a round-up of ten questions to ask the venue in question before signing on the dotted line:
Is it an exclusive use venue?
If another couple getting married at the same venue as you on the same day as you is a deal breaker then you will want to know about this before booking. Exclusive use will mean the whole venue is yours for the entire day of your wedding.
How many bedrooms are available?
This will be vitally important for any guests travelling a significant distance to be a part of your big day. Often when a venue doesn’t have sufficient bedrooms available it may have be able to offer reduced rates at a nearby hotel.
Will my wedding co-ordinator be present on the day?
Consider whether the wedding coordinator will be present on the day of your wedding. It is important to have consistency in terms of who you deal with. Dealing with one person for the menu, another for layouts and décor and then someone else on the day of your wedding sometimes isn’t ideal and it can make such a difference to have just one person who will look after all your needs. The level of familiarity you build up with just one coordinator who is also on hand on your big day can be so reassuring and make all the difference on the day. The flexibility of the coordinator in terms of the days and times he or she can meet with you is also important as you will be very busy in the run up to your big day and may need to fit in evening or weekend meetings, ask about this at your initial meeting.
Is there an in-house chef and can food be tailored to our specifications?
It can be so much easier to have control over your menu with an in-house chef and they will usually be more likely to tweak the menu and make the food exactly as you like. Quite often couples may want to serve a family recipe or a very specific cultural dish and it’s important to know before booking that this is possible.
Is the venue accessible for disabled guests?
You may assume that all venues in the 21st century would be completely accessible for all, but unfortunately many listed buildings are not completely accessible. Before booking make sure you find out whether there will be access for all to the function rooms you intend on using.
When can my vendors arrive for set-up?
Many exclusive use venues will allow access as early as possible on the day of the wedding, or perhaps even the night before, for florists, decorators and any other suppliers to set up, but be sure to enquire about this before booking. Double check timings with suppliers too, especially if there is a particular supplier you have your heart set on.
Is there adequate parking?
This is something you definitely need to ask about, especially with city centre venues whch may have limited on-site parking. Many will have a partnership with a nearby car park, but this will be super important for your guests.
This seems a very obvious question to ask but often it is the obvious that is overlooked. If you’re planning a wedding day for 300 guests and you fall in love with a venue that only holds a maximum of 200 guests, you’re going to face a pretty tough choice. Also, ask about whether the venue has a minimum number of guests it will require you to book for.
Are there any planned renovation works between the time you view and your wedding date?
When you go for your show-around look around and note the up-keep of the venue. Is there anything you think needs maintenance work? Make sure you ask if there’s anything you pick up on – the venue may be planning to make these changes between your viewing and wedding day but it is useful to know as little things really do make a difference.
Check out the toilets
Finally, this isn’t a question but the state and presentation of the toilets will tell you a lot about the pride the venue takes in upkeep of its facilities. So ask to pop to the bathroom and check them out!
Ultimately finding the venue where you will begin married life with the man/woman of your dreams and will declare your love for one another in front of your friends and family should be an exciting and happy experience. So above all, enjoy and good luck!
Zeenat is part of the team at wedding venue The City Rooms (http://www.thecityrooms.co.uk/weddings.html) in the heart of Leicester City Centre. She has a multitude of experience in assisting couples plan their big day, is obsessed with peonies and Jenny Packham dresses and understands the importance of practicality when planning a wedding.