Selecting locations for the ceremony and reception is one of the most monumental decisions you will make in the wedding-planning process. Again, priorities come into play here. As a couple you will need to decide what is most important to you. The date? The guest list? The venue? The answer is different for everyone.
Questions to ask during the site inspection:
· What is your cancellation policy?
· What is your food and beverage minimum for my date? If your date is flexible, you might be surprised by the reduced minimums on alternative days.
· Do you have rental fees, or are they included in the food and beverage minimum?
· Can the gratuity count against the food and beverage minimum? There is not a rule of thumb for this. Every property does this differently. Perhaps you can negotiate this in your contract.
· Do you automatically charge gratuities to the contract? Most event facilities add their gratuities. They can range from 20-30 percent. Make sure you understand how it is calculated.
· Do you offer complimentary tastings? Typically, tastings are complimentary only for clients who are booked. If you want a tasting before booking, consider paying a fee for a tasting or, if the venue has a restaurant, go there for dinner. Note that although the restaurant and the catering department are within the same establishment, the food may be prepared differently and the menus may vary drastically.
· Am I allowed to bring in my own cakes? Many venues with in-house pastry chefs charge steep cutting fees for any cake brought in from an outside company.
· Can I utilize the facility to do a bridal portrait before the wedding? If so, what is the close? There shouldn’t be a fee. Good hotels may even offer a complimentary room for the bride to use as a dressing room. You can negotiate this in your contract. If the location is an office or rental facility, the space may not be available on certain days of the week.
“Donnie Brown Weddings, from the couture to the cake”(star wedding planner of the Style Network’s WHOSE WEDDING IS IT ANYWAY?)